Philosophical concerns cannot be excluded from even a cursory examination of the physician-patient relationship. Two possible alternatives for determining what this relationship entails are the teleological (outcome) approach vs the deontological (process) one. Traditionally, this relationship has been structured around the 'clinical model' which views the physician-patient relationship in teleological terms. Data on the actual content of general medical practice indicate the advisability of reassessing this relationship, and suggest that the 'clinical model' may be too limiting, and that a more appropriate basis for the physician-patient relationship is one described in this paper as the 'relational model'.
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