FOLLOW KIM BELLARD
I saw an expression the other day that I quite liked. I’m not sure who first said it, and there are several versions of it, but roughly this: Don’t be afraid to commit to learning tomorrow.
Hi, if that’s not the perfect motto for wellness, I don’t know what is.
Health is hard work. It’s a delicate balancing act between – to name a few – genes, environment, habits, nutrition, stress, the health and composition of your microbiome, the impact of any What new bacteria are floating around, and, yes, the health care you happen to receive.
Healthcare is also a tough job. We have made many advances in medicine, developed deeper understandings of how our bodies work (or fail), and have countless treatment options for a multitude of health problems. But there are many things we still don’t know, there are many things we know but don’t really useAnd there’s a lot we still don’t know.
That’s a lot of human activity. Different people experience and/or report the same condition differently and respond differently to the same treatments. Everyone has their own comorbidities, the impact of which on treatment is still poorly understood. And, of course, until/unless AI takes over, the people responsible for diagnosing, treating and caring for patients are very much like humans, each with their own backgrounds, training, interests. , intelligence and memory – any of which could affect them. act.
All of that means: mistakes are made. Daily. By everyone.
The patient did not disclose appropriate information or did not follow the recommendations. Clinicians get tired, don’t make important connections, don’t watch/remember applied research. People enter incorrect information or the information is processed incorrectly. The algorithms do not take into account different populations. Some people are not good at their job; maybe they never were, maybe they didn’t keep up, maybe physical or mental problems have impaired their abilities.
No one really knows how many mistakes go wrong in healthcare, or what exactly the consequences of those mistakes are for patients (although many estimates was created for both), but on this we can all agree: there are too many. Maybe one day we will have perfect health and perfect healthcare – like when our uploaded digital twins are treated by AI clinicians – but until then, we must accept that there will be errors.
We should try not to make mistakes, or at least minimize them, but, for God’s sake, the least we should deal with is trying to make better mistakes.
There are many things we could possibly agree on to help make this happen. Clinicians and other health care workers should receive appropriate training on a regular basis. We should not work them to the point of exhaustion. We should improve patients’ health knowledge and health habits. That’s not controversial, but unfortunately we probably won’t get a pass on any of them.
Mistakes will still happen. But if we’re still going to do them, here are some suggestions for healthcare professionals to keep in mind to make better mistakes at least:
- What are you doing making things simpler or more complicated?? Some complexity is inevitable, but in general, making things simpler will lead to fewer (and better) errors. And, of course, one of my favorite pieces of advice: Simple is better.
- What you are doing gives the patient more or less autonomy? Historically, patients were expected to follow their doctor’s advice without question, but those days are over, or they should be. Helping the sick is helping yourself, so it’s better to lead to mistakes.
- Whether what you are doing treats the condition, or person? More than a hundred years ago, Dr. William Osler said: “Doctors are good at healing; Great doctor treating sick patients. That kind of “great” will lead to better mistakes. The primary care physician’s role in overseeing and coordinating all conditions and patient care has largely been lost, as has anyone’s overall view of the patient. Attempting to be broad-minded about the patient will lead to better mistakes.
- Do people complain a lot about what you do?? If enough people tell you they don’t like something, you probably shouldn’t do it, that way. The classic example is mammography; No woman I know likes them, even though they are constantly urged to have them, so why don’t we find less unpleasant options? Pre-authorization falls into the same category, as does shrinking the network, overcharging, or requesting redundant/excessive forms. Reducing complaints should lead to better mistakes. Again, a great piece of advice: stop doing stupid things.
- Is what you are doing making the patient’s life worse?? If you’re taking patients to collections, you’re not making their lives better. If they have to choose between eating out or buying a prescription, you won’t make their life better. If patients have to spend hours on the phone to make appointments or get answers to questions, you’re not going to make their lives better. Thinking about making patients’ lives, not just their immediate health, better leads to better mistakes.
- Does what you are doing protect the people/organizations that provide the care or the people who receive it?? There are many examples of this, but for me the most universal is that instead of a culture of identifying and correcting mistakes, we have a culture of negligence that seeks to cover them up and impose an adversarial system on the patient. Likewise, forms that the patient blindly signs before care is rendered are not there to protect the patient. The healthcare system that is supposed to serve the patient, does not exist to support the healthcare staff and organization. Keeping that in mind will lead to better mistakes.
Reform comes slowly, if any, to our health care system. Many of us want to completely refurbish and rebuild, but at this point it’s like trying to rebuild an airplane on the fly. We couldn’t get off the plane and we weren’t ready to let it crash. So if we can’t have an entirely new health care system, one without all the wrong motives and structural flaws, then perhaps the least we can strive for. The fight is to better fix the mistakes in the system that we make.
Kim is a former director of e-marketing at a Blues grand scheme, editor of The Late & Lamentations Tincture.ioand is now a regular THCB contributor.