Encyclopedia of Global Bioethics

Living Edition
| Editors: Henk ten Have

Professional-Patient Relationship

  • Lin-Ying HuEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-05544-2_352-1


The definition of the nature of the professional-patient relationship in bioethics varies: some hold that it is a contractual or fiduciary relationship, others believe that it is a relationship based on faith in patient’s autonomy. This entry firstly analyzes the definitions and connotations of the term “profession” to help its readers to understand the nature and the core features of the professional-patient relationship; then, it reveals the changes taking place in contemporary professional-patient relationship as compared to traditional relationship and the new challenges ahead through a longitudinal analysis of its evolution; and in the end, it becomes evident that today’s professional-patient relationship, though much different from the traditional one, still shares the intrinsic feature – trust, the core and the foundation of professional-patient relationship – with traditional professional-patient relationship. Under the impact of market forces, the main challenge faced by modern professional-patient relationship is the ever-intensifying conflict of interests.


Profession Medical professionalism Paternalism Trust Conflict of interests 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Regent CollegeUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada