Asymmetrical dependence and problems with legal responsibility regarding patient-centred care, patient-participation and shared-decision-making


Author: Anna-Li Schönenberg-Tu
Page Range: 265-268
Published in: Journal of Alternative Medicine Research, 15#2 (2023)
ISSN: 1939-5868

Table of Contents


One of the central themes regarding the reasons why successful doctor-patient-communication and patient-centred care is so difficult to realize in practice is the fundamental asymmetry of needs that shapes the doctor-patient-relationship. The patient as a rule is much more dependent on comprehensible explanations, practical support and general benevolence of the medical team than any healthcare practitioner could ever be on a single patient. Amongst other issues like economical pressure and demographic change, the disparity in dependence is a central theme in the fight for mutual understanding and finding common ground and a constant source of discomfort when it comes to patients’ dignity. In this paper some of the major problems that doctors are faced with, as part of their work with patients, will be examined and circumstantial difficulties as part of doctors’ role and placement in the context of public health care identified. This can hopefully serve as a conceptual base to give some context to problems that need to be reflected and made progress on in order to improve doctor-patient-communication.

Keywords: Patient-centred communication, relationship-centred care, doctor-patient-relationship, public health, medical anthropology, attitude to health, theory of medicine, medical professionalism, teaching, legal responsibility and liability

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