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Patient-centred medicine from various perspectives

Patient-centered medicine: transforming the clinical method

‘Patient-centered medicine: transforming the clinical method’ 3rd edition. By Moira Stewart, Judith Belle Brown, W. Wayne Weston, Ian R. McWhinney, Carol L. McWilliam and Thomas R. Freeman. Pp xv+426 Price £29.99. London: Radcliffe Publishing Ltd; 2014. ISBN 978 1 846 19566 2

This book is a weighty text which explores the clinical encounter from a variety of perspectives, in order to provide context for its main focus — the equal importance of the physician’s role as a healer and a competent diagnostician. The book relates this to practical applications in clinical medicine and to teaching practice.

Although the book is clearly intended for a medical audience, it contains important insights for all patient-facing clinicians and clinical teachers. The central tenet of the book is the practice of the components of the “patient-centred clinical method”. These components are: exploring health, disease and the illness experience; understanding the whole person; finding common ground in consultations; and enhancing the patient-clinician relationship.  There is a detailed description of the importance of sharing power in the therapeutic relationship and this is linked to shared decision making. The authors also describe how behavioural techniques can be used to support the patient encounter as part of the patient-centred clinical method.

The authors use a wide variety of examples to describe these components in terms of the patient-physician relationship, the student-teacher relationship and team dynamics working with the patient and, in doing so, bring the theory to life. Diagrams and tables are used as summaries and enhance the written explanations. There is also a review of recent literature which supports the authors’ assertion that there are significant benefits to using the patient-centred clinical method not only for practitioners but also for the healthcare economy.

This book is valuable as a reference text. For the pharmacy teacher-practitioner, the patient-centred clinical method has much to offer in enhancing understanding and potentially optimising the student-teacher relationship when compared with the conventional approach to patient cases. The book provides detail of how the patient-centred clinical method can be used in different areas of clinical practice and, in this respect, it offers pharmacists an insight into how we can improve our engagement with patients to support them in reaching their health-related goals.

For those interested in exploring this method further, there are a number of books in this series which may be of interest to pharmacists, including ones on patient-centred prescribing, serious mental illness, challenges and solutions (case studies) and palliative care.

 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.11138546

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