Juan E. Mezzich,W. James Appleyard

Seeking the Person at the Center of Medicine

It has become clear that reductionist models of health care are unsustainable in both economic and humanistic terms. There is a pressing need, therefore, articulated increasingly by patients themselves, to move away from impersonal, fragmented and decontextualized systems of healthcare towards personalized, integrated and contextualised models of clinical practice within a humanistic framework of care that recognizes the importance of applying science in a manner which respects the patient as a whole person and takes full account of his values, preferences, aspirations stories, cultural context, fears, worries and hopes and which thus recognizes and responds to his emotional, social and spiritual necessities in addition to his physical needs.The Educational Program for Person-centered Care aims to achieve this. It is divided into three discrete but interrelated sections. The first section of four papers includes the conceptualization and measurement in person centered medicine and embraces the relevance of the social determinants of health and people centered public health. The second group of articles moves on to the practical aspects of patient-physician communication and the importance of a comprehensive diagnosis. The third section emphasizes the importance of shared decision making with key examples and inter-professional collaboration. The program is a living document and will be revised with the help of those who study and apply a person-centered approach to their own practice.
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