Currently submitted to: JMIR Medical Education
Date Submitted: Aug 25, 2019
Open Peer Review Period: Aug 25, 2019 - Oct 20, 2019
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Patient-centred medicine: The use of expert patients in medical education
Abstract Patient-centred medicine (PCM) involves looking at more than just a disease and how to treat it. It has evolved from the realisation that all patients are different physiologically, psychologically, emotionally, and socially, and it therefore encompasses all of these domains in its application. The mainstay of this approach is the promotion of a mutual relationship between patient and doctor that involves creating a secure environment to allow for open dialogue. By learning to listen to patients, and exploring other causes of disease other than physiological ones, doctors are able to provide a holistic approach to treatment. Patients are also actively encouraged to participate in the decision making process by adding their ideas, concerns and expectations. This negotiation allows for flexibility and individualisation of each treatment plan that is tailored to suit each individual patient. In essence, PCM encourages concordance: the agreement between doctor and patient on how to proceed towards a common goal. It is therefore important to teach medical students about PCM as early on in their medical education as possible. This will give them time to hone skills in communication so that they can better understand and explore their patient’s circumstances as well be aware of other domains that may require support. But how can medical schools effectively teach their students PCM? Here we suggest the use of expert patients as a beneficial method for promoting PCM in medical school curriculums as students have the opportunity to gain first hand knowledge of what a patient with a specific disease actually feels, what impact it has on their lives and those around them, and what support they find lacking or useful. Encourage medical curriculums to incorporate expert patients as a resource of information to teach future doctors abotu patient-centred medicine and its holistic objectives.
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