Objectives: To understand how patient preferences and perceptions of their relationship with their doctor (as patient, friend, partner, client, consumer, or insured) affects confidence in care provided and participation in health care.
Methods: Telephone questionnaire to 2,135 households, representative of the population in Israel.
Results: A total of 508 completed the questionnaire. Most described perceived and desired relationships with their doctor as patient or friend. Individuals were least satisfied with business-type relationships implied by client, consumer, or insured. Preference in relationship type was not associated with participation in health care. Those with a patient, friend, or partner relationship were twice as confident in their care as those with a business-type relationship.
Conclusions: Preferences for the terms patient and friend over business terms highlight the importance of the human connection in the patient-physician relationship. Although one might consider patient a paternalistic term, those with a patient, partner, or friend-type versus a business-type relationship had much greater confidence in their care and were no less likely to be active participants in their own health care.
Keywords: confidence; patient autonomy; patient participation; patient–physician relationship.
© 2014 Society for Public Health Education.