Essay, Pages 9 (2182 words)
The functional perspective is a perspective theory based on the following hypotheses. First, a society is made up of several institution which works together to promote the integration, balance, stability and consensus building within the said society, thus, the society’s main aim is to maintain social order. The society, as a system is made up of different parts each of which has a dysfunction, latent and manifest functions. Health is a very important aspect of the human life.
From a functional perspective it is quite clear that the subject of health is integrated into every aspect of life from work to leisure.
The manifest function of the institution of health care is the provision of health services to the people. The institution has other latent functions, for instance, the creation of employment to lecturers, doctors, surgeons and nurses. A common dysfunction in the health care institution is the failure to provide its services even though it is in a position to bring about the misunderstandings between the practitioners and the patients.
There are thus several proposals that have been brought forward to deal with the situation which brings about the dysfunctional aspect of the health care sector. It is clear that, the health care sector has been a constituent part of the society from time immemorial. This sector has also been integrating with other aspects of life for instance, education from which the qualified physicians are made. The health care sector is also responsible for the stability of the society by ensuring that other aspects of the society are attended to by providing the health of the work force.
The heath care sector of the society brings about consensus in the society by integrating other constituent areas of the society in it’s decision making and ensuring the decisions made are for the goodness of the society at large. Traditionally, physicians were seen as properly having total control over their patients; now the pendulum is swinging the other way and patients are demanding substantially more power in the relationship. In the past, the relationship between the patient and the physician was strained as the physician was viewed as the superior of the two.
This made the physicians arrogant as the patients became more frustrated. The importance of health care and the dependence of other sectors on it has brought about the need for reforms in the sector thus, bringing about the dysfunction aspect of the health sector. According to the function perspective, any constituent part of a society should have a mechanism for trouble shooting as the occurrence of inconsistencies is inevitable. This is the dysfunction characteristic of the functional perspective. Great changes in politics, social lifestyles and technology have greatly affected the communication between the physician and the patients.
The complexity of the heath care system, and it’s need for a lot of decision making, cost of health care coupled with the hard economic terms have all driven people to seek information on alternative sources of health care. The current advocacy for informed consent, patient’s rights and access to medical records is viewed as a need by the customer to defend themselves from the predatory nature of heath care providers. Patients are keen on getting information regarding signs and symptoms of diseases, medical tests, drugs and alternative treatment options.
The information obtained has been the main source of the revolution as the patients are more informed about the available options and their patients rights. This further goes on to prove that the society is an integrated setting because changes in areas like social lifestyle and technology have brought about the need for change in health care. This further pushes forward the agenda of viewing the society from a functional perspective. There are several issues that affect a patient- physician relationship.
The issues that affect the relationship between a physician and a doctor includes: First, there is need for trust between the doctor and the patient, as this is very important to the diagnostic and therapeutic process. It is of critical importance for the communication between the patient and the physician if they can develop a feeling of mutual trust between them. This in turn perfects the diagnostic process and eventually eases the healing process. This clearly shows the need to integrate every aspect of the society’s daily life to smoothen the daily flow of the society.
In the past, patients relied on the physician to do all the work, thus, there was heavy reliance on the practitioner’s professional authority. This trend, which did not in any way consider the patient’s preferences, has been around for quite a long time. In the later stages of the twentieth century, this trend seemed to change as the patient was brought into play. This changes have continued and currently the patient almost have as much say on the mode of his treatment as the physician. Physician-patient communication is mainly in two aspects: the Technical and the Samaritan aspects.
The technical aspect is concerned with coming up with a proper diagnosis and prescribing a proper remedy, whereas, the humanitarian aspect is mainly concerned with supportive care. Patients are increasingly looking for information on supportive care. Traditionally, the patient was viewed as unable to cope with the medical information and his knowledge of medical issues was viewed as a threat to the profession. Presently, it is mandatory to consult the patient and seek her consent for any decision on a treatment plan, thus, the patient should be well informed in order to make rational choices and implement them correctly.
This is a clear demonstration of the consensus building aspect as demonstrated by the view of the society from a functional perspective. To ensure that the patient benefits from the health care sector, there is need to ensure the provision of adequate information on various health issues, and the physician should ensure a patient is well briefed on his condition, what caused it and the recuperation period. Libraries should provide information that support the improvement of physician-patient relationship.
The range of information available to consumers needs to be widened. A mechanism should be put in place to disseminate findings related to clinical practice. The creation of a decision making software for use by the consumers will also go a long way in enlightening and helping the patients to make informed decisions. Bodies that deals with the provision of information to the professional societies should have their mandate extended to enable them provide information that will help the consumers on their services in decision making.
The above demonstrates some ways in which the various aspects of the system works together in a harmonious manner in order to create a more stable society. This is an aspect of the functional perspective of the society. The other issue is based on the question is “can students be trusted? ”. Medical students find it hard when placed in a position of a patient as they generally have trust issues. There is a need to find ways to ease the treatment process of such students.
Moreover, some patients, especially the youth, are more comfortable in dealing with physicians of their age with whom they feel they can easily relate to. Furthermore, bringing a personal touch puts the patients at ease with physicians. The physician may relay relevant aspects of his experiences on the patient. This helps the patient to feel at ease, knowing that, the physician has been in his shoes and is therefore more qualified to deal with his situation. This also facilitates the ease of communication between the concerned parties.
The other issue affecting the provision of health care services is a decision on a physician’s beliefs and feelings which affects his or her decisions and judgment on clinical issues. It is quite important to find out the patient’s beliefs and thus be informed of what other suitable avenues there are to the solution of his health problems. Furthermore, some patients are quite demanding and may unnecessarily take up clinical time. In dealing with such patients, a physician is advised to kindly state to them the situation and give them a few alternatives or means to reach to a compromise.
These mechanisms, used to smoothen the provision of health services and promote the patient -doctor relationship, are characterized by a balancing process in which the physician is forced to abandon his beliefs for the good of the patients and thus of the society as a whole. Creation of balance is a key characteristic in parties involved in a society from a functional perspective. The other issues that needs to be addressed in the bid to improve the patient-physician relationship are factors that hinder the communication between a physician and his patient.
Communication between a doctor and a patient can be hindered by either parties for instance, patients may omit some details of their medical history which they consider embarrassing or private. On the other side, the physician may not be keen on the patient’s narration or accounts especially if he is judgmental. To facilitate the ease of communication between the two, there is a need for the physicist to make the patient aware that he has his full attention, ensure they are both comfortable, and ask explicitly on the key areas of concern.
Moreover, it is believed that a third of the patients disagree with the doctor’s analysis and recommendation, this pose a great risk to the patient’s health (Armstrong, 1991). To reduce such cases, there is need for the patient and the physician to both participate in the decision making process. A patient has the right to refuse some forms of medical interventions prescribed to him by the physician based on his beliefs and personal preferences. There is need to determine a set point after which the decision to override a patient’s preferences should be reached.
It is agreed that the influence of the patient’s preferences to the physician’s course of action should be limited. This creates an avenue to help patients who for one reason or the another, are unwilling to help themselves by consenting to the physician’s prescribed course of action. At times, the practitioners may even be forced to go to court in order to force the patients to accept treatment. The other key issue is confidentiality, information on a person’s health status is very secretive and personal and should be kept as secure and confidential as possible.
The knowledge that his medical information is confidential, helps the patient develop a feeling of trust in the physician which leads to improved provision of health services. Confidentiality may cause a problem in cases where the practitioner is legally obliged to give an account on a patient’s health record. These issues addressed above, clearly demonstrate how various building blocks of the society interact in order to come up with a stable, balanced and integrated society in which balance, stability and consensus building are the main mechanisms used in dealing with any anomalies that may befall the constituent parties.
This is the key principle in the functional perspective view of a society. The issues addressed above are currently being addressed by several countries. Some countries started addressing these issues in the seventies leading to the marking the start of a revolution, as other countries emulated their example. These reforms have led to patients wanting to know more about matters affecting their health. Currently, there is a need for doctors to be on the forefront in empowering their patients by advising them on suitable sources of information (Burnum, 1985).
The nineties witnessed the commercialization of medical services bringing the need to better customer relations. This in medical terms refers to better patient-physician relationship. The commercialization has empowered patients as they are now treated with much respect and their needs are adhered to promptly (Eysenbach & Diepgen, 1998). This trend is expected to continue for a few couple of years as the world becomes more and more commercialized. The downside of the above improved relations are considerable.
First, it is quite true that the improved patient-physician relationship is closely associated with commercialization of medical services. In a commercialized setting, the patients preferences will be put before his actual medical needs. This will eventually lead to the erosion of medical ethics, as the commercial code will come in play (Robinson & Gustafson,1988). Secondly, access to basic medical care will be above the reach of the average person as the health providing institution will only aim at larger profit margins rather than provision of affordable services.
Lastly, the increased power given to the patient will eventually lead to low morale in medical workers as the patients will be so bossy, this will lead to poor service delivery (Lazare, 1987). The improvement of patient-physician relationship has associated pros and cons. There is thus an urgent need for medical governing bodies and governments to come up with legislations that will ensure that the medical code of conduct and ethics are adhered to and medical services are within the reach of the poor and thus regulating medical services while at the same time, ensuring the said improvements thrive.