WHY IS THE DOCTOR-HEALTH GUARDIAN RELATIONSHIP SO IMPORTANT?
According to the PMC-US National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health, the Doctor-Health Guardian relationship involves vulnerability and trust. It is one of the most moving and meaningful experiences shared by human beings. However, this relationship and the encounters that flow from it are not always perfect.
The Doctor-Health Guardian relationship has been defined as “a consensual relationship in which the Health Guardian knowingly seeks the physician’s assistance and in which the physician knowingly accepts the person as a Health Guardian.” At its core, the Doctor-Health Guardian relationship represents a fiduciary relationship in which, by entering into the relationship, the physician agrees to respect the Health Guardian’s autonomy, maintain confidentiality, explain treatment options, obtain informed consent, provide the highest standard of care, and commit not to abandon the Health Guardian without giving him or her adequate time to find a new Doctor. However, such a contractual definition fails to portray the immense and profound nature of the Doctor-Health Guardian relationship. Health Guardian sometimes reveal secrets, worries, and fears to physician that they have not yet disclosed to friends or family members. Placing trust in the Doctor helps them maintain or regain their health and well-being.
This unique relationship encompasses 4 key elements: mutual knowledge, trust, loyalty, and regard.
- Knowledge refers to the Doctor’s knowledge of the Health Guardian as well as the Health Guardian’s knowledge of the Doctor.
- Trust involves the Health Guardian’s faith in the Doctor’s competence and caring, as well as the Doctor’s trust in the Health Guardian and his or her beliefs and report of symptoms.
- Loyalty refers to the Health Guardian’s willingness to forgive the Doctor for any inconvenience or mistake and the Doctor’s commitment not to abandon a Health Guardian.
- Regard implies that the Health Guardian feel as though the Doctor likes them as individuals and is “on their side.”
These 4 elements constitute the foundation of the Doctor-Health Guardian relationship.
WHAT IS HEALTH GUARDIAN SATISFACTION AND HOW IS IT AFFECTED BY THE DOCTOR-HEALTH GUARDIAN RELATIONSHIP?
Health Guardian satisfaction is defined as “the degree to which the individual regards the health care service or product or the manner in which it is delivered by the provider as useful, effective, or beneficial.” Moreover, all 4 elements of the Doctor-Health Guardian relationship impact the Health Guardian satisfaction.
- Trust. Among Health Guardians with health issues, those who trust and “like” their physician had higher levels of satisfaction. In another study, Health Guardians’ perceptions of their physician’s trustworthiness were the drivers of Health Guardian satisfaction.
- Knowledge. When Doctors discovered Health Guardian concerns and addressed Health Guardian expectations, Health Guardian satisfaction increased as it did when the Doctor allowed a Health Guardian to give information.
- Regard. Ratings of a physician’s friendliness, warmth, emotional support, and caring have been associated with Health Guardian satisfaction.
- Loyalty. Health Guardians feel more satisfied when Doctors offer continued support; continuity of care improves Health Guardian satisfaction
Trust, knowledge, regard, and loyalty form the Doctor-Health Guardian relationship, and the nature of this relationship has an impact on the Health Guardian’s confidence to maintain or regain their health and well-being.