Lee Beecher, MD
Psychiatrist, Advocate for Patient Care
Chapter 4: Human Relations Matter Most
When it comes to medical and mental health care, the quality of your life may depend on the physician or physicians you meet – or those that managed care denies to you.
Physicians deliver medical and mental health care in order to help a patient reduce her pain and suffering, enjoy her life, and when feasible, extend it. For many primary care physicians and specialists, an ongoing professional relationship between them and a patient is a key element of delivering necessary care. For individuals with mental disorders and/or addiction, a patient’s need for continuity of care from a mental health professional is often critical.
The personal nature of doctoring is important for patients and physicians. Most physicians chose a career in medicine to care for people, not to make entries in Electronic Health Records. Patients do not see a physician to make sure their EHR is done correctly. This is a professional and personal relationship between two people (and sometimes,
the patient’s family and social networks).
Physicians of my era tend to value their ability to work independently with patients, free from unnecessary oversight and second-guessing by third parties. Physicians want to advise our patients, relying on our training, experience, and the practiced but innate talents, intelligence, and gifts we bring to the profession. Being able to fully function as a trusted professional is important to the doctor, and when the physician-patient relationship functions well, it better serves the patient as well.
“The foundation of medical care is the time-honored connection between patient and doctor, and it relies on trust and advocacy,” so writes Scott Jensen, MD, in Relationship Matters. Dr. Jensen, a primary care physician whom voters elected in 2016 to the Minnesota State Senate, added, “It is fracturing.”