Cadernos de Saúde Pública
On-line version ISSN 1678-4464
MERCADO-MARTINEZ, Francisco J. and HERNANDEZ-IBARRA, Eduardo. Chronic illness from the perspective of patients and health professionals: a qualitative study in Mexico. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2007, vol.23, n.9, pp. 2178-2186. ISSN 1678-4464. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X2007000900025.
Chronic diseases are leading causes of morbidity, mortality, and increasing expenditures in numerous countries. However, little is known about how chronic diseases are perceived and managed by social actors. This article aims to compare the perspectives of health professionals and patients towards chronic diseases, besides analyzing the relationship between these two groups. A qualitative, multi-center study was conducted in three Mexican cities: Guadalajara, San Luis Potosí, and Mexico City. Participants included chronically ill individuals, physicians, and other health professionals from primary and secondary health care centers. Data collection used focus groups and interviews. The data were analyzed using discourse analysis. Participants' perceptions varied, from the medicalized view of physicians to that of patients focused on illness and the lifeworld. The participants agreed that there are unequal relationships between health professionals, families, and the chronically ill, but that relationships are more equal among the chronically ill themselves. The article includes by discussing various implications of the findings.
Keywords : Chronic Disease; Health Services; Focus Groups.