Decentering the Doctor: The Critical Value of a Patient Care Collective

AMA J Ethics. 2016 Sep 1;18(9):960-4. doi: 10.1001/journalofethics.2016.18.9.mnar1-1609.


The rehabilitation environment is structured differently from the hospital-based environment in a way that lends itself to interdisciplinary care. Physicians work with other specialists on an interprofessional team while observing patients' participation in activities of daily living. This approach allows a patient to show rather than tell a physician what he or she can do, which helps the physician remove as many medical barriers to rehabilitation as possible. Another difference is the decentering of the physician on the health care team. Because a patient's functional status is beyond the scope of expertise of any individual health care team member, treatment plans are formed collaboratively, with input from every member of the team. The result is more comprehensive and holistic care for medically complex patients.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Health Personnel*
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Patient Care Team*
  • Patient Care*
  • Patient-Centered Care*
  • Physicians
  • Rehabilitation*
  • Specialization