Family Medicine and Complexity

DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2011.0361

german translation / full article

Harald Kamps, Dirk Harms

Keywords: Complexity Family Medicine Certainty Agreement Shared-decision-making Technician Healer Witness Companion Teacher

Summary: Medical practice has always been a challenging task and is becoming more and more complex. Doctors have to make decisions with a greater or lesser extent of certainty based on different levels of evidence. Furthermore the degree of agreement between doctor and patient is often ambiguous, which renders shared decision making a further challenge. The Stacey matrix, which is derived from complexity theory, illustrates these correlations. By reducing the complexity to a fourfold table the doctor is attributed with four different roles: technician, healer, witness or companion and teacher. The art of improvising enables the doctor to change the roles according to the rhythm and expectations of the patients. The fourfold table can help to develop the theory of family practice and support critical reflections of everyday practice.

(State: 14.09.2011)

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