Towards a person-centered medical education: challenges and imperatives (I)
Abstract: It is increasingly claimed that modern medicine has entered into crisis —a crisis of knowledge (uncertainty over what counts as “evidence” for decision-making and what does not), care (a deficit in sympathy, empathy, compassion, dignity, autonomy), patient safety (neglect, iatrogenic injury, malpractice, excess deaths), economic costs (which threaten to bankrupt health systems worldwide) and clinical and institutional governance (a failure of basic and advanced management, inspirational and transformational leadership). We believe such a contention to be essentially correct. In the current article, we ask how the delineated components of the crisis can be individually understood in order to allow them to be collectively addressed. We ask how a transition can be effected away from impersonal, decontextualized and fragmented services in the direction of newer models of service provision that are personalized, contextualized and integrated. How, we ask, can we improve healthcare outcomes while simultaneously containing or lowering their costs? In initial answer to such questions —which are of considerable political as well as clinical significance— we assert that a new approach has become necessary, particularly in the context of the current epidemic of multi-morbid and socially complex long term illness. This new approach, we argue, is represented by the development and application of the concepts and methods of person-centered healthcare (PCH), a philosophy and technique in the care of the sick that enables clinicians and health systems to re-introduce humanistic ideals into clinical practice alongside continuing scientific advance, thereby restoring to medicine the humanism it has lost in over a century of empiricism. But the delivery of a person-centered healthcare within health systems requires a person-centered education and training. In this article we consider, then, why person-centered teaching innovations in the undergraduate medical curriculum are necessary, as a first step, to achieving real progress in the integrity of modern undergraduate medical education. Without such innovations, we do not believe that suitable foundations for subsequent innovations in postgraduate training can be laid and, with them, a continuing professional education in PCH that spans entire medical careers. We first review the historical perspectives of relevance to our arguments and then advocate a radical re-think of what we believe to be the urgent imperatives for a modern medical undergraduate and postgraduate training.
Universal identifier: http://hdl.handle.net/10641/2125
- MEDICINA