The doctor–patient relationship is one of the key determinants in the quality of healthcare, and constitutes the setting for service provision; data gathering; diagnosis and treatment planning; support and compliance as well as the optimization of treatment outcomes. Aiming to train physicians able to address both the disease and the illness experience, as well as to adequately communicate and understand the patient within his or her personal, social and cultural circumstances, the O&Med curriculum promotes students’ early involvement in different levels of health prevention and treatment settings, while providing them with opportunities for positive interaction with patients from different social and cultural backgrounds.
The Doctor-Patient Relationship longitudinal course, delivered over the first five years of the O&Med curriculum, is integrated with basic, clinical and public health themes, while designed to provide our students with the competencies required for positive interaction with patients and practice of clinical medicine. These will include communication skills, medical interviewing, bioethical aspects of doctor-patient relationship, physical examination, construction of a patient’s medical history, oral and written presentation proficiency, in addition to clinical reasoning and professionalism, amongst other topics. Simulation-based learning, including the opportunities for guided interaction with standardized patient actors, will constitute a central teaching resource before the involvement of O&Med students in the health services and their interaction with the users of these services.