John A. Balint, MD
Requests for Reprints: John A. Balint, MD, Center For Medical Ethics, Education and Research, Albany Medical Center, Mail Code 153, 47 New Scotland Avenue, Albany, NY 12208.
Balint JA. Brief Encounters: Speaking with Patients. Ann Intern Med. 1999;131:231-234. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-131-3-199908030-00023
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1999;131(3):231-234.
… the secret of the care of the patient is caring for the patient.
-Francis Peabody, 1927
The foundation of good medical care, whether it be health maintenance or treatment of an ill person, is a comfortable, evolving relationship between patient and physician. Since the dawn of medicine with Hippocrates and, later, Plato, this was regarded as the foundation of the art of medicine and was felt to be safely left in the hands of the benign paternalistic physician. New physicians learned this art during a prolonged apprenticeship with a mentor and role model and adapted it to their personalities and practices. With the shift from physician paternalism to patient autonomy as the governing principle in the relationship, renewed attention has turned to the study of the patient–physician encounter.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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