So much of our health is in our own hands; so we need to learn how to take care of ourselves in the most optimal ways. This also may affect the health practitioners we choose. It’s why I emphasize the role of the physician as educator; after all, the origin of our word “doctor” is the Latin “docere” which means “to teach.”
The relationship we have with our doctor, or primary care provider, is key to taking responsibility for our health care. Does your doctor (or doctors) encourage that, or mainly just treat your symptoms and illnesses? I have devoted an entire chapter to this topic in my latest book - Staying Healthy with New Medicine.
Here are the 11 qualities that I think are essential to an ideal Doctor-Patient Relationship (DPR).
- Shared Beliefs
- Being Present
- Mutual Respect
- Knowledge & Experience
- Confidence with Humility
- Personal Chemistry
- Honesty & Integrity
- Trust & Confidentiality
- The Opportunity to Learn
You probably have your own ideas to add to this list and then you can use it to assess your current DPR. Review where you are in your relationship with your primary care physician. Rate each quality on a 1–10 scale, from poor to excellent. Where is there room for improvement?
You might also prioritize the list based on what is most important for you.