The History of Person-Centred Medicine: A South Asian Perspective

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Sanjay Kalra


In this communication, we explore the person-centred features of traditional South Asian schools of medicine and lifestyle. The Quadruple of Atreya, as mentioned in the ancient Ayurvedic text, Charaka Samhita, may be the first mention of a team-based approach to health and medicine. This is reinforced in the Tamil classic Thirukkural as the Quadruple of Thiruvalluvar. Yoga is a structured means of ensuring mind–body harmony and of optimising both physical and spiritual health. South Asian philosophy and practice aim to provide person-centred delivery of health in a community-oriented andcommunity-based manner. The target is to ensure benefits for all (sarvodaya) and benefits for the last in the queue (antyodaya). Responsible person-centred care is a South Asian construct in which the health care team takes on theresponsibility of sharing relevant information with persons to facilitate a shared decision-making process, keeping the biopsychosocial context in mind. South Asia’s rich tradition of person-centred medicine can be used to improvesatisfaction with modern medical services.

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