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The Physician-Patient Relationship: A Review of Two Theoretical Approaches and Health Regulation Implications

Andre Yitambe, Peterson N. Warutere, Kenneth R. Kibaara

Recent development in the organization of healthcare has impacted on physician and patient relationship. The physician-patient relationship is becoming more and more a universalistic concern. Since Hippocrates, the physician-patient relationship remains the corner stone of medical practice. A number of disciplines have questioned the interaction between physician and patient (from pure sciences and clinical sciences to social sciences). This paper uses a de-centered comparative method to examine how different theoretical approaches shape the understanding of doctor-patient interaction and health regulation implications. In particular, the article looks at two theoretical models: health economics and medical socio-anthropology. The findings show that the difference between the two approaches is based upon the background of each discipline. Nevertheless, there are some similarities. The paper concludes that no theoretical approach is totally privileged to understand the interaction.

physician-patient relationship, health economics, medical socio-anthropology, health regulation
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