Medical Ethics and the Biopsychosocial Model for Patient Care: A Case Analysis for Improved Communication, Clinical Time, and Error Avoidance.


East Florida


Kendall Regional Medical Center

Document Type

Case Report

Publication Date



bioethics, biopsychosocial model, clinical care, communication, cultural medicine


Bioethics and Medical Ethics | Clinical and Medical Social Work | Internal Medicine


The practice of interdisciplinary medicine is one of the most effective and cooperative forms of medical management, which optimizes clinical care and outcomes for a patient. This model of care affords the patient the benefit of receiving the best available therapeutic options from specialists who are experts in their respective disciplines, which would otherwise be limited when compared with the clinical expertise from a single provider managing multiple co-morbidities. However, poor communication between each specialized team managing a patient's care can result in redundancies and superfluous treatment that can have deleterious clinical outcomes that impede the physician-patient relationship and question the bioethical principles of clinical practice. Having a medical provider like an internist who is the primary medical provider for a patient anchors reinforces the physician-patient relationship through familiarity and continuous involvement in the gross clinical course of a patient. Specialty care provides a very focused and limiting scope of practice. However, whether practicing specialty care or being a generalist, utilizing clinical tools, such as the biopsychosocial model and routinely using bioethical principles during clinical encounters, not only help extract pertinent information from the patient's medical history but also furthers the continuity of clinical care by understanding the global context of the patient's medical history. This is a case analysis that exemplifies sub-optimal outcomes in patient care due to undermining the critical role of an internist in patient care and clinical management in addition to challenging several bioethical principles of clinical care. It also highlights the importance of how using the biopsychosocial model of care can avoid clinical errors, improve interdisciplinary and patient communication, and, ultimately, optimize the patient-physician relationship and clinical care.

Publisher or Conference