Don’t observe the patient only from the biological point of view but consider also the subjective component of the disease, the level of health literacy and the familial and social context in which the patient is inserted.

It’s fundamental that medical students are aware of the importance of a doctor-patient relationship within which the patient is considered in its entirety and not as a passive receiver of assistance. Such relationship is essential to the realization of an effective treatment process and the spread of health within the population. It is now demonstrated what the impact of socio- economic and cultural determinants on the health of individuals is. In the light of this, on one hand it is vital to understand the patient’s right to attribute a personal meaning to his own disease experience. Otherwise, the risk is to promote actions that could be unnecessary and even eventually perceived as violent by the patient himself. On the other hand, it is necessary to focus also on the possibility for the subject to understand health-related information and to make decisions about his own state of health. Lastly, a dialogue that favours the autonomy and emancipation of the patient should be promoted. These aspects not only help to ensure the adequate adherence to therapies and to the directives of the professional, but also allow to limit the eventual development of chronicity or disability and an increased awareness on the importance of some means of prevention.


1. Quaranta I. La trasformazione dell’esperienza. Antropologia e processi di cura.
2. Bonaccorsi G, Lorini C, Baldasseroni A, Porchia BR, Capecchi L. Health services and health literacy: from the rationale to the many facets of a fundamental concept. A literature review. Ann Ist Super Sanita. 2016;52(1):114-8.



Attention. Please note that these items are provided only for information and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a clinician. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their clinician.