The art of patient care: Guest blogger Dr. Shalini Ratan

“Handling a disease requires Knowledge… Handling a patient requires Wisdom.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and does not consist only of the absence of disease or infirmity.” According to this definition, for a doctor to be referred to as a “Healthcare Provider,” he should provide care for the overall health of the patient, rather than addressing only the disease. It is more about managing the patient as a “whole.”1

As stated in JAMA (2001)2, “Humanism in medicine [is] the physician’s attitudes and actions that demonstrate interest in and respect for the patient and that address the patient’s concerns and values. These generally are related to patients’ psychological, social, and spiritual domains”.

So, to manage a patient, the healthcare provider would need to go beyond the domain knowledge of medical science to the holistic approach of patient care. The goal of patient care has to be Wellness with Wholeness. This would be to understand the relation between the body, mind and soul of the human being.

Patient vs. Physician

The patient speaks about the illness, having ideas, expectations and feelings. But the physician[s2If !is_user_logged_in()]…

[/s2If][s2If is_user_logged_in()] understands the disease based on history, examination and investigations.

The Patient-Physician Relationship is a special bond, where a prospective patient seeks the advice, care and/or treatment of a physician, while the physician has focus on the disease process. The patient has an urge to be heard and understood, while the physician looks at the patient with rapidly advanced medical science.


Patient: Doctor, I am having dizziness with the medicine.

Doctor 1: Might be your HB has gone down. It’s Ok. (The doctor has seen many similar cases).

Doctor 2: Nothing to worry, get your CBC done and WE will see what to be done. (Every patient is unique for his concern).

The patient is satisfied with the second doctor. Reason being he has been heard as per his expectation. This is the difference between managing a disease and handling a patient.

The Human Dimension of Care is of utmost importance. The New Model doctor would need to be a Psychologist, Advisor and a Counselor.

Editor’s Note: How do you help your patients feel that they are involved in their own care? Share your tips in the comment section below.

This article originally appeared in and has been republished with their permission.

Dr. Shalini Ratan Dr. Shalini Ratan, MD, is Founder and Chief Knowledge Facilitator at Nirvan Life Sciences Pvt Ltd. Mumbai, India.


  1. Dr. Shalini Ratan. “Clinicians to Practice Managers: A Shift is Mindset”, Modern Medicare, October, 2012.
  2. William T. Branch et al.”Teaching the human dimensions of care in clinical settings”. JAMA. 2001; 286(9):1067-1074.


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    Posted Sep 2013 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    In a doctor’s chamber, the best and the highest SEAT should be offered to the patient, who helps us not only to serve,but also to learn.

  2. ajit yadav
    Posted Sep 2013 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    ebm has made us technicians not doctors and i fear guidelines the most -why can be sued for not following stupidity

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