The Progression of the Doctor-Patient Relationship within Four Generations

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It mainly focuses on the possible factors that have caused the shifting of this relationship. Many patients are not satisfied with the relationship that they have with their doctors; possible factors could be the gap between generations, medical technological advancement, and low appointment ability. This research paper is very important to acknowledge who is being affected or what is causing the relationship between the doctor and the patient to shift. I will be using Journal Articles, patients, and doctors' testimony, and I will be creating a Likert scale based on Lamar students and staff to see their satisfaction with their doctor relationship. This research is divided into sections, starting off with a Journal Article that studies how the generations gap between the younger and older generations are being affected as time progresses. The second part will address how the advancement of technology affected the doctor-patient relationship; lack of communication. The third part will focus on how doctors are overloaded with patients that cause low appointment ability and rushed doctor visits. Overall, I will reveal the real factors that caused the shift between the doctor and the patient relationship.


Throughout the past several decades, the relationship between the patient and the doctor has evolved. Doctors used to visit their patients in the comfort of their homes, practicing the laying on of hands, and listening to the patient to make a prognosis. Doctors were considered the vessel of medical knowledge, making it crucial for the patient to have a relationship with their doctor. The problem is that many patients feel neglected with the care they are provided nowadays; possible influences include medical technological advancement, difficulty in acquiring healthcare, and short time spent during a doctor visit. However, not all patients have the same discontent with their doctor-patient relationship. Some patients, such as the greatest generation and Baby boomers, were born before the radical change in their doctor relationship and were used to different care. This means they have a harder time adapting to change rather than those who were born later, such as generation x and millennials. This study's purpose was to identify the Doctor-patient relationship divide and satisfaction within four generations; the Greatest Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation x, and Millennials. This topic is important because the patient should feel satisfied with healthcare provided regardless of their generational differences.

150 participants from Lamar University faculty and student, and 50 patients from a Beaumont nursing home. The survey was mainly focused on Lamar individuals. However, it was very difficult finding people from the greatest generation, therefore, I surveyed patients from the Clairmont Beaumont nursing home. There were 50 participants for each generation so that the result would not be biased. Multiple Scholarly articles have also been used to support

Greatest Generation

From the survey, the greatest generation respondents which included 39 whites, nine black or African Americans and two Asian Americans depicted as significantly inclined towards the direct interactions with the doctors as opposed to the use of the internet. Here, 43 out of the 50 respondents from the Greatest Generation visit a doctor four times or more a year and 44 of them asserting that they never use the internet for health care questions and on the contrary prefer contacting the doctor. All of the greatest generation respondents have a primary doctor with 33 having had more than four primary doctors they can remember, 16 have had three and only one respondent has had two primary doctors. The survey also indicates that 36 of the Greatest Generation respondent's doctors practice lay 'laying of hands' with 13 stating that the current doctor does not practice but the previous did and only one member stated that the doctor never practiced the placing of hands. As far as setting up an appointment with the doctor is concerned, 47 greatest generation respondents identified that they always have difficulties with two indicating that the struggle is often and only one stating that the problem is rare. The 13 of the Greatest Generation respondents indicated that they are not satisfied at all with the relationship with their doctors, 17 are slightly satisfied, 12 are moderately satisfied, three are very satisfied and five are extremely satisfied.

Baby Boomers

The research survey included 50 baby boomers respondents which encompassed 43 whites and seven Black or African Americans. Four of the Baby Boomers surveyed stated that they visited a doctor once a year, seven made it twice, 28 had three visits, and 11 saw a doctor four or more times a year. In the usage of the internet, 37 of the Baby Boomers respondents claimed never to use the platform for healthcare questions and on the contrary preferred contacting the doctor, four rarely utilized the system, fived used it sometimes, seven seek often, and two used it always. Out of the 50 Baby Boomers respondents, 48 had a primary doctor with only one having none and another one just seeing a nurse practitioner. Two Baby Boomer respondents have had two primary doctors, 13 have had two, eight with 3 and 27 respondents stated to have had more than four that they can remember. 26 Baby Boomers respondents in the survey indicated that their doctors practice 'laying on hands' with two never extending the physical touching and 22 indicating that the current doctor does not exercise the practice, but a previous one did. 32 of the Baby Boomers struggle to set up appointment always, 12 face difficulties often, four experience sometimes, one respondent has the problem sometimes, and another one never has a problem setting up a doctor's appointment. Nine out of the 50 Baby Boomers respondents are extremely satisfied with the relationship they have with their doctors, ten are very satisfied, eight are moderately satisfied, five are slightly impressed, and another eight are not at all satisfied.

Generation X

The generation X in the survey comprised of one Asian American, eight Black or African Americans and 41 whites. 36 of the Generation X respondents indicate that they visit a doctor once a year, 13 saw a doctor twice, and only one visited a doctor three times a year. On the usage of the internet for healthcare questions, 13 of the generation X respondents never use the system, two use the internet sometimes, 17 use it often, and eight use the internet always. 31 out of the 50 respondents of Generation X have a primary doctor while seven have none and 12 see a nurse practitioner. During a doctor's visit, 27 Generation X respondents spend approximately 15 minutes, seven spend around 20 minutes, and six respondents spend more than 30 minutes during a doctor's visit. 32 of the Generation X respondents have had one primary doctor, eight have had two, and three have had three and seven indicate to have had more than four primary doctors they can remember. 14 of the Generation X's doctors practice 'laying on hands,' seven never lay on hands, and 28 respondents stated that their current doctors do not lay on hands, but a previous one did. Two of Generation X respondents never struggle setting up appointments; six rarely have a problem, 25 sometimes face difficulties, four often struggle and 13 always struggle setting up a doctor's appointment. Five generation X respondents are not satisfied at all with the relationship with their doctors, six are slightly satisfied, 24 are moderately satisfied, nine are very satisfied, and four are extremely satisfied.


The Millennial generation respondents in the survey were more comprehensive as compared to other generations with one American Indian or Alaska Native, seven Asian Americans, 18 black or African Americans, and 24 White Americans. Out of the 50 Millennial generation respondents, 42 only visit a doctor once a year with three doing so twice, four visiting a doctor three times and only one seeing a doctor four times or more within a year. In the usage of the internet for health questions rather than contacting a doctor, only one millennial generation respondent never use the platform, three rarely utilize the internet, one use sometimes, six refer the internet often, and 39 use the internet always. 11 out of the 50 millennial generation respondents have a primary doctor with five having none and 34 just seeing a nurse practitioner. During a doctor's visit, seven millennial generation respondents spend approximately less than 10 minutes, 35 spend around 15 minutes, five spend roughly 20 minutes, and three spend more than 30 minutes with a doctor. 28 of the millennial generation respondents have had only one primary doctor, 14 have had two, three of the respondents have had three primary doctors, and five have had more than four primary doctors they can remember. Seven of the millennial generation respondents' doctors practice 'laying on hands,' 33 never lay on hands and ten millennial generation respondents' current doctors do not lay on hands but a previous one laid on hands. Three millennial generation respondents never struggle setting up an appointment, 44 rarely have a problem placing an appointment, only one often has problems with doctor's appointments, and two of the respondents always have difficulties setting up an appointment. Out of the 50 millennial generation respondents, four are not satisfied at all with the relationship with their doctor, three are slightly satisfied, two are moderately satisfied, eight are very satisfied, and 33 are extremely satisfied.

Discussion: Contrasting Generations

Individuals from the greatest generation are inclined to the conventional health attention which included the absolute reliance on the doctors for medical information. As asserted by Wike (1) in the article 'Health Engagement Lost in Generation,' the greatest (silent) generation is concluded to prefer direct interactions with the health provider as far as the steps regarding health are concerned. Wike also states that 15 percent of the Silent Generation may embrace technological provisions such as wearables and register for health portals, but the use of technical data beyond lab review is limited. On the Baby Boomers, Wike (1) notes that the given generation prefers engagement with the healthcare practitioners with the Generation X being depicted as curious in seeking education on their health care. The millennials according to Wike (1) are inclined towards connecting and building personal relationships with the health providers. According to De Rosis, S. and Barsanti, S., the usage of the internet for information on health is guided by experience and the satisfaction with the prevailing healthcare system.

It is evident that the various generations have varying experiences about technology thus affecting the usage of the internet and the satisfaction with the health practitioner relationships and communication. Research by Ardey, Rashmi, and Ardey, Rajeev (62) on 'Patient perceptions and Expectations from Primary Health Care providers,' indicates that patients are critical of the behavior of the doctor and the effectiveness of the process leading to high index of satisfaction. From the journal review, the Greatest Generation is affected by the expectations on the health care providers as time change in that; the given generation lags behind in embracing technology, and direct interactions with the health providers affect their satisfaction index, unlike the younger generations. For the greatest generation and the baby boomers, their need for direct interactions and engagements with health care providers compel them to adopt hierarchical learning techniques in acquiring healthcare knowledge. According to Lloyd et al. (39), the generation X and the Millennial are seeking education, connection, and personal relations with health providers leading to non-traditional learning models. Also, deducting from Thomas L. (1), the change in times is affecting the greatest generations and baby boomers as far as health satisfaction is concerned in that, health providers are employing technology and distancing from the patients who are advantageous to the generation X and the Millennials. Also, drawing from Dugdale et al. (34), there is an increasing workload vested on the health providers thus curtailing the doctor-patient interaction needed for patient satisfaction. It is evident that the generation X and the Millennials are inclined towards minimum physical interactions with the doctors as opposed to the Baby Boomers and the greatest generation. The technological use explains the poor satisfaction experienced by the greatest generation and the baby boomers (Sayer, and TH Lee. 6).

Survey results

The survey results indicate declining satisfaction for the older generations as the use of technology in healthcare intensifies. The millennials are highly satisfied with the survey, with the greatest generation being the least satisfied. It is evident also that as the technology increases, the need for physical interactions with doctors decreases, and individuals incline towards the internet for health questions. Also, the time required to spend with a doctor during a visit is reducing significantly across the various generations with the reducing age of the respondents. The effects of technology on the doctor-patient relationship are evident. The advancement and usage of technology are shifting individuals away from the close interactions with the doctors. The number of visits per year by the millennials and the generation X, who are using technology significantly, is low compared to the greatest generation and baby boomers. Also, the need for a primary doctor has shifted drastically towards the decline as technology is advancing. It is therefore profound that the internet is replacing the need for close doctor-patient relationships by providing an alternative source of health information. Also, the increased doctor workload is reducing the time available for interactions between a patient and a doctor, thus affecting the relationships and the level of satisfaction of the patient. It is also evident that the use of technology is affecting the older generations in getting doctor appointments (Levinston, 1). Doctor appointments are currently being made through the internet, and also, the need for physical doctor interactions by the greatest generations and the baby boomers is affecting them drastically in that doctors are overwhelmed by the workload, and securing appointments is difficult.


While the increase in the usage of the internet for healthcare information and the reduced physical doctor-patient interactions seems to increase the level of satisfaction for the younger generations, the effect on the older generations is negative. The generation X and the millennials are comfortable with the use of the internet and the reduced doctor-patient interactions due to the increased workload. The greatest generations and the baby boomers are experiencing poor satisfaction due to the reduced availability of healthcare providers and the increasing use of technology, which they are not conversant. The use of technology and the increasing workload on doctors have affected doctor-patient relations by reducing the time available for physical interactions and requiring the patients to seek internet information for healthcare.

Work Cited

Ardey, R, and R Ardey. "Patient Perceptions and Expectations from Primary Health-Care Providers in India." Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care. 4.1 (2015).

De, Rosis S, and Sara Barsanti. "Patient Satisfaction, E-Health and the Evolution of the Patient-General Practitioner Relationship: Evidence from an Italian Survey." Health Policy. 120.11 (2016): 1279-1292. Print.

Dugdale, David C, Ronald Epstein, and Steven Z Pantilat. “Time and the Patient-Physician Relationship.” Journal of General Internal Medicine 14.Suppl 1 (1999): S34–S40. PMC. Web. 1 Mar. 2018.

Levinston, Suzanne Allard. “How is the doctor-patient relationship changing? It’s going electronic.” Washington Post, 27 April 2015,

Lloyd, Tom, et al. "Health Knowledge Among the Millennial Generation." Journal of Public Health Research. 2.1 (2013).

Sayer, C, and TH Lee. "Time After Time-Health Policy Implications of a Three-Generation Case Study." The New England Journal of Medicine. 371.14 (2014): 1273-6. Print.

Wike, Katie, “Health Engagement Lost in Generation Gap.” Health IT Outcomes March 6, 2016,

Weiner, Michael, and Paul Biondich. “The Influence of Information Technology on Patient-

Physician Relationships.” Journal of General Internal Medicine21.Suppl 1 (2006): S35–S39. PMC. Web. 1 Mar. 2018.

August 21, 2023

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