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January 28, 2008

Brief Supported Lifestyle Counseling: Modest Interventions Yield Modest Effects

Arch Intern Med. 2008;168(2):129-130. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2007.7

The art has three factors, the disease, the patient, the physician. . . . The patient must cooperate with the physician in combating the disease.—Hippocrates

Despite Hippocrates' advice, few clinicians or researchers have appreciated the importance of physician counseling in achieving patient treatment goals. Although physicians have amassed a wide array of therapies, poor adherence undermines contemporary medical practice as much today as in Hippocrates' time. Moreover, it has become increasingly difficult for physicians to find the time necessary to counsel patients.1 Limited clinician training and poor systems-based support compound the problem.2 Yet physician counseling has been shown to benefit both individual and public health. The physician-patient relationship remains a potent instrument to improve adherence and promote healthy behaviors.