Addressing Whole-Patient Care

Regardless of patients’ roles in their own healthcare, there will always be questions about how doctors should approach medical problems — by focusing more on the symptoms and disease, or on the patient who has them?

Most doctors specialize due to a variety of pressures and incentives from economic and technological to social, professional and educational. The number of medical specialists (and specialties) continues to grow while the number of primary care physicians continues to shrink.

In the process, the goal of fitting all these specialties together for effective whole-patient care becomes ever more elusive. How can we treat the whole patient rather than the disease?

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Thought Leaders For This Challenge

Jack Der-Sarkissian, MD

Family Medicine Specialist, Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center


Susan E. Hernandez, MPA

Student/Research Assistant, PhD Program in Health Services, University of Washington


Marci Nielsen, PhD, MPH

Executive Director, Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative


Diane Meier, MD

Director, Center to Advance Palliative Care


Blair Sadler, JD

Senior Fellow, Institute for Health Care Improvement; Faculty, UCSD School Of Medicine and Rady School of Management; Board Member and Fellow, the Hastings Center.


Douglas Thompson, MPP

Chief Administrative Officer, Accountable Care Organization, Cambridge Health Alliance