Three stages of medical dialogue

The negative consequences of physicians' failure to establish and maintain personal relationships with patients are at the heart of the humanistic crisis in medicine. To resolve this crisis, a new model of doctor-patient interaction is proposed, based on the ideas of Martin Buber's philosophy of dialogue. This model shows how the physican may successfully combine the personal (I-Thou) and impersonal (I-It) aspects of medicine in three stages. These Three Stages of Medical Dialogue include:1. An Initial Personal Meeting stage, which initiates the doctor-patient relationship and involves mutual confirmation; 2. An Examination stage, which requires a shift from a personal to an impersonal style of interaction; 3. An Integration Through Dialogue or Healing Through Meeting Stage, which involves the integration of the impersonal medical data into the ongoing dialogue between doctor and patient, as a basis for shared decision-making. The use of the model, as well as common failures of doctor-patient dialogue are discussed.
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