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The development of patient-centered and narrative medicine in the late modern era transformed interactions between western medical doctors and their patients. The healing process now involved treating not just the illness, but interacting in more complex ways with the whole individual. This limited study focused on the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) publications in the 20th century and examined various historical relationships between and among patient medical history-taking and the patient narrative. Relationships included medical education reforms, diagnostic technology, information technology, and medical science knowledge. These categories and variables, when compared to various historical contexts, provide greater insight on both past and contemporary patient-doctor interactions of the U.S. practice of medicine. For the physician, personal “illness narratives” initially were treated as the gathering of “raw data,” in the form of the patient’s medical history, but later came to be viewed as facilitated by the quintessential medicinal art—the “art” of medical history-taking.
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