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Keywords:

  • patient-provider relations;
  • patient-provider communication;
  • relationship-centered care

All illness, care, and healing processes occur in relationship—relationships of an individual with self and with others. Relationship-centered care (RCC) is an important framework for conceptualizing health care, recognizing that the nature and the quality of relationships are central to health care and the broader health care delivery system. RCC can be defined as care in which all participants appreciate the importance of their relationships with one another. RCC is founded upon 4 principles: (1) that relationships in health care ought to include the personhood of the participants, (2) that affect and emotion are important components of these relationships, (3) that all health care relationships occur in the context of reciprocal influence, and (4) that the formation and maintenance of genuine relationships in health care is morally valuable. In RCC, relationships between patients and clinicians remain central, although the relationships of clinicians with themselves, with each other and with community are also emphasized.