Background and objectives: Health care reform has been the subject of considerable debate, particularly among those in politics, insurance, and business. Patients, however, have largely been ignored in this discussion. As the role of the health care consumer receives increased attention, it is important to consider patient values and preferences for a future system of care. This study describes what patients want and value in a future doctor
Methods: This study was conducted in 1999-2000, using focus group methodology involving 78 members of communities in seven regions of Colorado. Participants were selected to ensure a distribution of rural/urban, racial/ethnic groups and different regions of the state. All participants had visited a health care provider in the previous 10 years. Data were analyzed with a team-based editing approach.
Results: Participants identified several primary domains and subthemes that describe what they want in a doctor of the future. The primary themes related to future doctors' medical and contextual knowledge of the patient, their personal characteristics and philosophical approach to health and health care, and desired qualities of the doctor-patient relationship.
Conclusions: Patients wanted their future doctors to improve their experience of care and to be patient-centered, family-oriented, and community-oriented doctors. Patient perspectives of the doctor of the future should be considered in decisions about health care policy.