Rise of Health Consumerism in China and Its Effects on Physicians’ Professional Identity and the Physician–Patient Relationship and Communication
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The physician-patient relationship in China is highly strained. This study examined the professional identity of physicians and their perceptions of the physician-patient relationship against the backdrop of the rise of health consumerism in China. Structured interviews with 29 physicians found that the marketization of medical care and the rise of health consumerism caused physicians to have a conflicted professional identity. The traditional bureaucratic relationship between physicians and patients based on implicit trust was gradually replaced by an arm's length relationship characterized by self-interest, opportunism, and mistrust. In addition, the transition from physician-centered communication to patient-centered communication in China was tenacious. Theoretical and practical implications of the current study are discussed.
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