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In these circumstances and also in cases where there is genuine divergence of medical opinions, a second opinion from another physician may be sought or the patient may choose to go to another physician that they trust more.Additionally, the benefits of any placebo effect are also based upon the patient's subjective assessment (conscious or unconscious) of the physician's credibility and skills.
Some medical specialties, such as psychiatry and family medicine, emphasize the physician–patient relationship more than others, such as pathology or radiology, which have very little contact with patients.
The quality of the patient–physician relationship is important to both parties.
Shared decision making is the idea that as a patient gives informed consent to treatment, that patient also is given an opportunity to choose among the treatment options provided by the physician that is responsible for their healthcare.
This means the doctor does not recommend what the patient should do, rather the patient's autonomy is respected and they choose what medical treatment they want to have done.
For a patient to not be able to understand what is going on with their body, because they cannot understand lab results or their doctor is not sharing or explaining them, can be a frightening and frustrating situation to be in.
An in depth discussion of lab results and the certainty that the patient can understand them may lead to the patient feeling reassured, and with that may bring positive outcomes in the physician-patient relationship.
At one end of this spectrum is Beck's Negotiated Approach to risk communication, in which the communicator maintains an open dialogue with the patient and settles on a compromise on which both patient and physician agree.
A majority of physicians employ a variation of this communication model to some degree, as it is only with this technique that a doctor can maintain the open cooperation of his or her patient.
A physician should be aware of these disparities in order to establish a good rapport and optimize communication with the patient.
Additionally, having a clear perception of these disparities can go a long way to helping the patient in the future treatment.