An Analytical Framework for Contrasting Patient and Provider Views of the Process of Chronic Disease Management



Medical anthropologists involved in clinical research are often asked to help explain patients’ “noncompliance” with treatment recommendations. The clinical literature on “noncompliance” tends to problematize only the patient’s perspective, treating the provider’s perspective as an uncontroversial point of departure. Explicating the articulation between provider and patient assumptions, expectations, and perceptions in managing chronic illness is an area well suited to the unique perspective of medical anthropologists. In this article we present an analytical framework for contrasting patient and provider goals, strategies, and evaluation criteria in chronic illness management, using examples from research on type 2 diabetes care in South Texas. This approach goes beyond contrasting patient and provider concepts and explanations of the illness itself and examines their contrasting views within the dynamic process of long-term care. This approach may prove especially useful for research aimed at a clinical audience, since it maintains a clinically relevant focus while giving serious consideration to the patient’s perspective.

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