Effect of COVID-19 on doctor-patient relationship

Hope O. Nwoga, Miriam O. Ajuba, Uche E. Ezeoke


Background: The doctor-patient relationship has been linked to patient satisfaction, treatment adherence and outcome. It remains the cornerstone of medical practice though may be affected in this era of COVID-19 pandemic. The objective of the study was to determine the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on the doctor-patient relationship.

Methods: The study was a cross-sectional study conducted in a tertiary health facility in Enugu State South-East Nigeria. It involved all the doctors working in the hospital as at the time of data collection. Patients that attended the general out-patient clinic of the hospital were selected using convenience sampling. One hundred and eighty six (186) doctors and 155 patients participated in the study. A similarly structured self-administered questionnaire was used to collect data from both the doctors and the patients.

Results: There was disparity in some of the studied aspect of the doctor-patient relationship as reported by the doctors and the patients. The prominent being the social distancing practice which almost all the patients (91.6%) said that it has affected their relationship with their doctors while only about half of the doctors (52.7%) agreed to this assertion. However both parties agreed that the level of physical examination have reduced to the barest minimum.

Conclusions: The present COVID-19 pandemic have affected the doctor-patient relationship adversely.


COVID-19, Doctor-patient relationship, Enugu State, Nigeria, Tertiary health facility

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