Medical Encounters About Medically Unexplained Symptoms: Pathways to Improve Satisfaction of Doctor and Patient
1University of Lausanne, Institute of psychology, Lausanne, Switzerland
2University of Lausanne, Institute of psychology, Lausanne, Switzerland
Encounters involving patients with Medically Unexplained Symptoms (MUS) are challenging for general practitioners (GPs) and patients who have different views on the origin of pain and divergent expectations, which can weaken the doctor-patient relationship. The study aims to highlight GPs’ abilities to preserve the doctor-patient relationship and their job satisfaction and investigate if they match patients’ expectations. 15 semi-structured interviews were conducted with GPs to explore their perceptions and reported practices about these encounters. Then online forums for MUS were analysed to highlight the patients’ experiences and expectations. Qualitative data were analysed with computer-assisted thematic analysis. Results show that the use by GPs’ of various sources of knowledge to give explanations to patients and the involvement in reflective practice groups improve their job satisfaction and understanding of patients’ condition. At once these GPs’ abilities tend to match the patients’ expectations about medical encounters. The findings could open ways to increase GPs’ and patients’ satisfaction about medical follow-up by improving GPs’ communication and reflective skills.