Intended for healthcare professionals

Analysis

Patient centred diagnosis: sharing diagnostic decisions with patients in clinical practice

BMJ 2017; 359 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j4218 (Published 01 November 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;359:j4218

Re: Patient centred diagnosis: sharing diagnostic decisions with patients in clinical practice

I find it remarkable, six decades after the Balints published "The Doctor, His Patient and the Illness", that the second interview (Box 2) should have gone as far as it did before the real reason for the consultation came to light.
The Balints taught us to ask words to the effect "Why have you come to see me TODAY?" This question promptly elicits the patient's underlying fear and concerns. It is THE key question I taught all my students.
I would have thought that the Balints' insights would have been integral to GP training for at least half-a-century.
No reference to the Balints in the article. Is their work unknown in the United States?
Somewhat surprising to find this article in a British medical journal in 2017. For Balint followers, it's 'old hat'.

Competing interests: No competing interests

03 November 2017
Peter C Arnold
Retired GP
PO Box 280, Edgecliff, New South Wales 2027, Australia