Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 431–437 | Cite as

Heidegger, communication, and healthcare

  • Casey RentmeesterEmail author
Scientific Contribution


Communication between medical professionals and patients is an important aspect of therapy and patient satisfaction. Common barriers that get in the way of effective communication in this sphere include: (1) gender, age, and cultural differences; (2) physical or psychological discomfort or pain; (3) medical literacy; and (4) distraction due to technological factors or simply being overworked. The author examines these communicative barriers from a philosophical lens and then utilizes Martin Heidegger’s phenomenology and hermeneutics to provide guidance for medical professional–patient interactions. The phenomenological approach espoused emphasizes the particular, contextual nature of such interactions, and thus is opposed to abstract, theoretical principles. Heidegger’s hermeneutics provides a philosophical approach to communication that may guide the back-and-forth interpretation that should happen between medical professionals and patients to achieve effective communication.


Medical professionals Patients Hermeneutics Phenomenology Autonomy 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bellin CollegeGreen BayUSA

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