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Healthcare personalism: a prolegomenon

James Marcum


Healthcare personalism is an approach to providing quality healthcare that focuses on personhood with respect to each member of the healthcare team and not to anyone team member, whether patient or healthcare provider. To that end, the philosophy of personalism provides a conceptual framework for developing a dynamic notion of healthcare. Specifically, the person is uniquely original, relationally intersubjective, and communicatively solidaritous. Moreover, healthcare personalism is non-foundational in the sense that no one approach to providing healthcare suffices for the clinical encounter. Rather, the encounter must be open to a range of possibilities for providing healthcare. In contrast to evidence-based medicine, healthcare personalism does not hold to single foundation, i.e. evidence, for practicing healthcare. Evidence is important but not foundational. And, in contrast to patient-entered medicine, it does not privy the patient to the personhood of other healthcare team members. The personhood of everyone involved in healthcare is required for meeting the goal of quality healthcare—the relief of human suffering.


Clinical encounter, epistemology, evidence-based medicine, foundationalism, healthcare quality, holism, impersonalism, non-foundationalism, ontology, patient-centered medicine, personalism, person-centered healthcare, reductionism

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