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On the Brain
September 7, 2021

I Only Want to See You—A Challenge of Long-term Clinician-Patient Relationships in Team-Based Clinical Care

Author Affiliations
  • 1Penn Medicine, Woodbury Heights, New Jersey
JAMA Neurol. 2021;78(11):1309-1310. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2021.3029

It was a busy Monday morning in our primary care practice when a patient of more than 15 years messaged me on the patient portal. She was having frequent high glucose readings and thought she needed to come in to the office to discuss her diabetes care.

“But I only want to see you,” she spelled out clearly.

I am honored by and grateful for her trust, which is one of the most fulfilling aspects of many years in a longitudinal practice. This singular attachment and inflexibility, though, does not always translate well to our current practice model. If I am unable to see her and she declines a visit with one of my colleagues, I worry that a delay could compromise her care. Over time, these situations may also contribute to emotional exhaustion.1

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    1 Comment for this article
    A danger of modernizing medicine
    Sandro Tsang, PhD | People's Open Access Education Initiative
    “I only want to see you” was also my inner voice when I met my doctor along with an intern. The author's patient and I cannot be the only patients who see the personal clinician-patient relationship crucially important. The expansion of advanced technologies and business models in medicine is another aspect that will potentially depersonalize medicine, as they are mostly designed to achieve efficiency through standardization and not immediately applicable to improving the delivery of medicine. We urgently need to redefine medicine to avoid depersonalizing care in the process of modernizing medicine.
    CONFLICT OF INTEREST: None Reported
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