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What Person-Centred Medicine is and isn’t: temptations for the ‘soul’ of PCM

Loughlin, M (2014) What Person-Centred Medicine is and isn’t: temptations for the ‘soul’ of PCM. European Journal of Person-Centred Health Care, 2. ISSN 2052-5656

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Abstract

In their important discussion paper presenting person-centred medicine (PCM) as ‘an emergent model of modern clinical practice’ [1], Miles and Mezzich note a rather obvious comparison between the rhetoric of their own favoured ‘model’ and the rhetoric of the evidence-based medicine (EBM) movement. For all their differences, PCM and EBM have something in common. While we may disagree about what evidence is or indeed just not be sure what it is, we are generally agreed that we are in favour of it. A movement that is all about promoting the use of evidence in medicine sounds about as uncontroversial as it gets. I might be oblivious to scientific debates about the nature of evidence and have no idea how to define the term, but I know that I want anyone treating me to use evidence, all the same. I may wonder what else medical decisions should be based on, if not evidence? [2]. Similarly, it would make very little sense to be ‘against’ persons. I may have never given a moment’s thought to philosophical disputes about the nature of persons, but I know that however one defines persons, I am one of them and in reply to the question: ‘Should medicine care for persons or not?’ few would answer in the negative. Again, I might wonder: if medicine is not about caring for ‘the person’, then what is it about?

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