Today’s practicing doctors were never taught how to collaborate with patients or colleagues, but the approach has emphasized classroom memorization and clinical shadowing. Today there is too much medical information for anyone to memorize and keep up with, and it is easily accessible by smartphone or tablet, thus schools must alter their priorities and prepare doctors for an ever-changing healthcare environment – make greater emphasis on skills such as teamwork and communication.*
The medical community needs to develop a more scientific approach to evaluate the quality of American Medical Schools. To assess the professional development of each institution’s graduates, the study assigns scores to medical school graduates by tracking their performance in the following categories: grants, clinical trials, publications and awards/honors. Thus researchers are able to track medical schools’ quality performance over time. This produces academic physicians who go on to successful biomedical research careers, although it is not well-suited to evaluate institutions that aren’t as research based such as those focusing on producing primary care physicians.**
Many clinicians need training on how to treat patients based on their overall needs and not solely on their disease or condition. Today’s doctors and nurses receive training on how to take care of patients’ medical problems, but little education on psycho-social factors that influence a person’s overall health. Hospitals and health systems must retrain staff so they have the skills to improve patients’ overall health. There are psycho-social dynamics and behaviors that have not been focused on – like the patient who is told to lose weight but doesn’t know how to cook in a less fattening way. The need for healthcare workers to understand the unique needs of diverse groups of patients, such as Asian and Latino and the aging, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender populations and the under-served. ***
Healthcare workers have increasingly pursued patient-centered care to help improve patient experience as well as engagement and outcomes. Students are taught specific skills that allow them to better partner with patients. For Patient-centered Care, in simulation-centered encounters, students are evaluated on their interaction with patients, family members and health providers. It measures their competence in the following areas:
- Effective communication
- Active listening
- Demonstrating empathy
- Avoiding medical jargon
- Leading critical conversations
Building better relationships between patients and doctors not only leads to more satisfied patients, but respect between clinicians and their charges. Needed are strong patient-doctor partnerships.****
So say the “intellectuals “and “educators” – Don’t teach medical students anything about medicine – how to recognize a medical condition and how to treat the problem, because that is all on the Smart Phone. Rather teach them to become a “glorified” social worker.
Personally, as a patient, I want my doctor to know MEDICINE – how to diagnose my condition and how to treat the problem. I don’t care if my doctor isn’t overly polite or comforting. I want the facts – just the facts- that’s why I pay the big bucks.
I don’t care if my doctor gets grants or does clinical trials or how many publications and honors. I just want my doctor to treat my colds, my heart attack, etc.
I don’t want my doctor to go to the Smart Phone and punch in what I tell him/her is wrong with me and then use what the Smart Phone says to do. The Smart Phone doesn’t know me and cannot evaluate what I don’t even know about me or didn’t think was important to mention. I don’t care if my doctor can get grants or do clinical trials, etc. I just want my doctor to know medicine.
My doctor does not need to know about my cooking ability – I’ll figure that out on my own. If my doctor is rude, he will soon learn with on-the-job training, that doesn’t work real well. But don’t take the precious medical school time to teach manners and social graces. PLEASE JUST TEACH MEDICINE.
I want my doctors to be measured by their success with their patients – patients who have been correctly treated and recovered. I don’t want my doctor to be my partner and hold my hand. I want my doctor to have medical answers and to treat and cure my conditions.
*Beaulieu-Volk, Debra, Fierce Practice Management.com, April 14, 2015
** Small, Leslie, www.fiercehealthcare.com, January 22, 2015
*** MacDonald, Ilene, www.fiercehealthcare.com, May 21, 2015
**** Beaulieu-Volk, Debra, www.fiercepracticemamagement.com December 31, 2014