The Third Component: Finding Common Ground
The process of finding common ground between the patient and the clinician is an integral and interactive component of the patient-centered clinical method. This chapter examines the third interactive component of the patient-centered method, Finding Common Ground. It provides a brief review of the research demonstrating the importance of patients and clinicians finding common ground; a description of finding common ground; and strategies to assist the clinician in finding common ground. Finding common ground is the process through which the patient and clinician reach a mutual understanding and mutual agreement in three key areas: defining the problem, establishing the goals and priorities of treatment, and identifying the roles to be assumed by both the patient and the clinician. To find common ground, the clinician must take into consideration all aspects of the patient-centered clinical method: knowing the patient’s health, disease, and illness experience; appreciating the person and his or her life context; and constantly building on the patient-clinician relationship.