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Is “scientifically informed, yet humanistic medicine” the solution to the crisis of modern medicine? A friendly corrective to the emergent model of Person-Centered Medicine

Maya Goldenberg


In Miles and Mezzich’s programmatic paper “The care of the patient and the soul of the clinic: person-centered medicine as an emergent model of modern clinical practice”, the authors draw from a wide variety of sources to frame a theoretical underpinning for the emerging concept of “person-centered medicine” as a model of clinical practice. The sources include humanistic and phenomenological medicine, the biopsychosocial model, evidence-based medicine, critics of evidence-based medicine and patient-centered care. Each offer commendable desiderata, which Miles and Mezzich selectively integrate into their burgeoning theoretical framework. My concern is that the selective uptake of desirably qualities from such diverse resources in order to progress person-centered medicine’s developing vision of “medicine for the person, by the person and with the person” obscures important theoretical differences among these sources that will likely result in difficulty for the concept of person-centered medicine. These diverse theoretical resources offer competing correctives to the problems with medicine. Some of these differences are irreconcilable and need to be highlighted in order to avoid creating conceptual confusion and allegiance to unproductive theoretical commitments at this critical point of framing and developing this emergent model of modern clinical practice. 


Clinical decision-making, clinical judgement, clinical reasoning, conceptual clarification, evidence-based medicine, interpretive medicine, person-centered medicine, phenomenology

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