Vulnerability of the Medical Profession as a Result of Growing Patient Autonomy

Glajchová Alena

Abstract

In the context of the current health care system, patient autonomy is
the main ethical principle in medicine, which emphasises respect for patients’
rights, their freedom of choice, and control of their own health. Presently,
patients take a more active approach to their own health issues and seek
medical information that is then used in their interaction with doctors. The
new role of the patient as a client has been linked to increasing consumerism,
and to the emergence of new possibilities, such as alternative medicine
or self-treatment. However, their active role affects the formation of the
doctor-patient relationship and the doctors’ expert position. Currently, the
doctor-patient relationship is considered rather as a partnership, based on
mutual cooperation, than a paternalistic relationship. Drawing on data from
in-depth interviews with doctors, this article tries to understand how doctors
perceive the new organisation of this relationship and the patients’ “new”
knowledge of medicine. In particular, the aim is to show how doctors view
patients who rely on information from the Internet and who take initiative
in their interactions with doctors.

Keywords

consumerism; doctor-patient relationship; medical profession; autonomy; expert patient

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Vydání: 18, 2016, 1