Stress affects daily activities, influences the way symptoms are perceived, and detracts from quality of life; it plays a role in everyone’s life and is a component of every illness. The responsibility of the primary care physician is to help manage the stress and recognize when specific therapeutic measures are needed. The fourth edition of The Fifteen Minute Hour presents biopsychosocial approach concepts from the earlier editions of the book and provides new material to make the principles and techniques more useful to primary care health professionals.
The authors frequently refer to care and compasion, which are essential to providing good primary care. Caring is associated with empathy and the ability to participate in the feelings of others; compassion is the wish for the patient to be free of pain and suffering and is associated with commitment, responsibility, and respect. Good communication is the key to providing patient care, and listening is a major compenent of good communication.
In this book, the authors discuss a biopsychosocial approach to treating patients. Although this approach may seem complex to the primary care physician, it is the essence of looking at the whole patient and recognizing the many factors that affect a person’s mental and physical well-being. Using the BATHE technique, the authors provide a relatively easy way that a primary care physician can incorporate the principal features of psychosocial medicine into patient care to achieve a better outcome than someone who relies solely on treating physical symptoms.
Dr Rakel is professor in the department of family and community medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.