The doctor/patient relationship and its effect upon outcome

J R Coll Gen Pract. 1979 Feb;29(199):77-81.


The study of 299 chronically ill patients examined the doctor/patient relationship by asking two questions: first, what factors affect the quality of the relationship and secondly, does the doctor/patient relationship affect outcome for the patient? The doctor/patient relationship was measured by indicators of the doctor's awareness of the patient's problems.The following factors were found to be positively associated with the doctor's awareness: a small number of patient problems, a large number of recent visits, and the patient, rather than the doctor, initiating the consultation. The patient's age and education, the completeness of family care, and duration of care were not found to influence awareness. After eliminating the effect of confounding variables, the relationship between the doctor's awareness and the patient's recovery was maintained for some groups of patients. Awareness did not significantly affect the patient's satisfaction. We list some practical recommendations to aid doctors in increasing their knowledge of their patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Consumer Behavior*
  • Family Practice
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physician-Patient Relations*