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Waiting patient in Nepal

As a patient or patient (from the Latin patiens , suffering ' , holding out', ertragend ', adjectival participle of the first pati , suffer' , 'suffer) a man is called, the medical services or services of other individuals who have a Carry out healing treatment, takes. This can be the prevention , detection or medical treatment of illnesses or the consequences of an accident .

In some psychotherapeutic treatment conditions, the term of is clients ( Latin cliens , the wards' ) are preferred (eg. As in client-centered psychotherapy , or talk therapy) when the term patient is also prescribed for the cash-funded psychotherapy in Germany.

Sick and healthy patients

Patients often suffer from an illness or the consequences of an accident . But there are also healthy patients. These include pregnant women , live organ donor , blood donor , stem cell donor , newborns , vaccinees , recipients of preventive services and screening tests , prenatal care , screening tests , occupational medical checkups , children's checkups or dental medical checkups and patients undergoing a medically non-indicated plastic surgery to undergo.

Patient-doctor relationship

The patient-doctor relationship is the relationship between a doctor or dentist and the patient who is advised or treated by the doctor. Because of the large differences in information and skills, the relationship is asymmetrical . This includes the anamnestic and therapeutic discussion as well as interactions during diagnosis or therapeutic measures. There is a similar, close relationship with non-medical therapists such as psychological psychotherapists , psychologists , healing therapists, alternative practitioners , health and nurses .

The very individual patient-doctor relationship with the dialogue between these two poles (and the trialogue, which includes the relatives as a third party) can be decisive for the type of treatment, for its course and success (cf. speaking medicine ). The patient satisfaction is an issue not only medicine, but also the social research and medical sociology .

Legal relationships

A treatment contract is concluded between the treating physician and the patient either expressly or when treatment begins. According to this, the treating person owes the proper implementation of the treatment according to the scientific standard valid at the time of the treatment, the rules of medical art (" Lege artis "), i.e. his professional efforts to maintain or restore health or to alleviate the suffering of the Patients, but not the success of the treatment. If the statutory health insurance pays for the costs of treatment under the Social Security Code ( SGB ​​V ) , the patient is referred to as a statutory health insurance patient (more correctly: member of a statutory health insurance ) or general patient . In contrast, a private patient is defined as someone who is not legally insured.

Patient rights

In recent years, patient rights have been greatly expanded and specified through case law, laws and other regulations. Arbitration and expert bodies were set up and in 2009 a patient commissioner from the federal government was appointed. Since then, Wolfgang Zöller MP (CSU) has held this office.

On February 5, 2013, the law to improve patient rights came into force in Germany. The new regulations created by this law cover the basics of the treatment contract and bundle the patient's rights in the event of a treatment error . Increased requirements for patient education and information were introduced. The law also regulates the patient's right to view his or her patient file . The question of the distribution of the burden of proof , which is important for the patient in the legal dispute , has been clarified, in particular when the burden of proof is reversed . In addition, the health insurance companies were obliged to speed up the approval of treatments, and the health insurance companies should also support the patient in asserting his rights in the event of a suspected malpractice.

Medical confidentiality and data protection also safeguard patient rights; violations of these rights can be punished.

In accordance with Section 192 (8 ) of the Insurance Contract Act (VVG), policyholders of private health insurers can demand that the insurer provide them in writing with information on whether the intended treatment is covered by the insurance before treatment begins, the costs of which are likely to exceed EUR 2,000. The information must be given and justified within four weeks, if treatment is urgent, immediately, at the latest after two weeks.

There are numerous associations that represent the rights and interests of patients in the health system . This includes the Independent Patient Advice Germany (UPD). Others are initiated, controlled and financed by the pharmaceutical industry (pseudo patient associations).

Doctor-patient relationship in the 21st century

After examining the doctor-patient relationship, serious differences in the change in these relationships were found. Until the 1970s and 1980s, sick people took their suffering as "fate" and hoped for a cure. The increasing commercialization of the health system resulted in a “de-individualization of the patient-doctor relationship ”. The attitudes of the insured shifted from hoping for a cure to the right to be cured in the context of an insured event. On the medical side, framework conditions have also changed. Future areas of responsibility and the alignment of the ethical responsibility of doctors require review. Three core groups of patients are foreseeable in the 21st century: 1. seriously ill, 2. chronically ill and 3. people who are concerned about preventive care or other services. In the latter group in particular, the doctor will be viewed as the contractor and the patient as the customer.


  • Eckart Roloff : The journalistic discovery of the patient. A press analysis on medical journalism and the first heart transplants. Nomos, Baden-Baden 2013, ISBN 978-3-8487-0731-7 .
  • Philipp Osten (Ed.): Patient documents. Illness in self-testimonies. Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart 2010, ISBN 978-3-515-09717-8 .
  • Ruth Schröck, Elisabeth Drerup (ed.): The informed patient. Advising, training and guiding as a nursing field of action. Lambertus, Freiburg im Breisgau 2002, ISBN 3-7841-1434-2 .
  • Michael Balint : The doctor, his patient and the disease. 10th edition. Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 2010, ISBN 978-3-608-94670-3 .
  • Otto Döhner (Ed.): Doctor and patient in industrial society. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1973, ISBN 3-518-00643-6 .

Web links

Commons : Patient  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Patient  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. patiens . Pons (German-Latin), 2016
  2. patient . Duden , Bibliographical Institute, 2016
  3. Agreement on the use of psychotherapy in statutory health care (psychotherapy agreement). (PDF; 130 KB) Annex 1 to the federal contract for doctors. National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians , National Association of Health Insurance Funds , February 2, 2017, accessed on October 20, 2018 .
  4. ^ Jörg-Dietrich Hoppe: The doctor-patient relationship in the 21st century. Springer, 2009, ISBN 978-3-540-70532-1 .
  5. Gisela Klinkhammer: The self-determination of the patient, medical ethics in the 21st century . (PDF; 175 kB) In: Deutsches Ärzteblatt , November 2011