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Revista de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 0124-0064


HERRERA MEDINA, Nelson E et al. General practitioners and patients' social representations of the doctor-patient relationship in Bogotá, Colombia. Rev. salud pública [online]. 2010, vol.12, n.3, pp.343-355. ISSN 0124-0064.

Objective The present study intended to examine the social representation of the doctor-patient relationship in a sample of patients and doctors in Bogota. Methods The sample consisted of 34 subjects: 17 patients (9 male and 8 female) and 17 general practitioners (10 male and 7 female) who were attended or worked, respectively, under the state's obligatory health plan. The techniques used for collecting information were in-depth interview and association web; these were applied to all subjects in the study. Results The results showed that the doctors' social representation was centred on offering a professional and human service which is in constant danger due to patientimposed barriers and health system capacity. Patients' centred their social representation on the doctors' ability to offer a professional and human service allowing them to improve their quality of life. Patients perceived that doctors who were negligent or dehumanised presented the greatest barrier to them obtaining the necessary implements to manage and improve their quality of life. Conclusions Doctors and patients' social representation were similar regarding what they wanted to give and obtain; however, they conflicted regarding whom they perceived as being responsible for not being able to succeed in accomplishing their objectives.

Keywords : Medical care; patient care; qualitative research; health system; Bogotá.

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