The doctor-patient relationship
is central to the practice of medicine
and is essential for the delivery of high-quality health care in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. A patient must have confidence in the competence of their doctor and must feel that they can confide in him or her. For most physicians, the establishment of good rapport with a patient is important. This being said, some medical specialties, such as psychiatry and family medicine, emphasize the doctor-patient relationship more than others, such as pathology or radiology. The doctor-patient relationship forms one of the foundations of contemporary medical ethics
. Most medical schools and universities teach medical students from the beginning, even before they set foot in hospitals, to maintain a professional rapport with patients, uphold patients’ dignity, and respect their privacy.
With increasing access to computers and published online medical articles, the internet has contributed to expanding patient knowledge of their own health, conditions, and treatment options. Some doctors are fearful of misleading information and being inundated by emails from patients which take time to read and respond to (time for which they are not paid).