American doctors are working in one of the most complex health care systems in the world. Many anesthesia specialists, and physicians in general, are disheartened by our current health care system’s complexity and its all-too-frequent absence of caring and compassion.
Theresa Edelstein, vice-president of post-acute care policy and special initiatives at the New Jersey Hospital Association, acknowledged that, “we need to focus on, and be better at attending to the humaneness and patient-centeredness of care.”
“If a patient is expressing a concern, the whole [hospital] team should be involved in understanding what the concerns of the patient and the family are,” Edelstein said.
Give the patient and family a sense of being cared for, which they so desperately need. Tell them, “we will fix this, we will figure this out with you, we’re working on the same side.”
“It takes just one person to really listen to make a profound difference in a patient’s care,” said Grace Cordovano, a professional patient advocate at Enlightening Results LLC in West Caldwell, N.J. Hospital staff needs to provide guidance, assurance and knowledge, showing people you are sincerely willing to help.
Anesthesiologists have to embrace this vital responsibility of playing a major role in a patient’s journey through the health care system.
Physicians Can Advocate for Improvement
A vital step to improving the health care system within which doctors must work to help patients, advocacy is the method by which doctors can effectively achieve change. It is a powerful and underutilized process and involves promoting your goals through a systematic plan of action.
Virtually every doctor wants to have more freedom over day-to-day work. Yet, making change happen begins with defining a specific goal. Achieving that goal requires determining who has the power to implement those changes and willing work with them.
America’s political and medical leaders have promised fixes for decades. Incremental improvements, local pilot programs and shiny new machines are great, but simply won’t cut it. It will take physician leaders who all share this trio of goals: better care, better health and lower costs (aka, the “Triple Aim”). This will allow physicians to lead American health care and transform care delivery.
It will take many people and a combination of breakthrough ideas to radically improve our system of care.
What areas in health care can you help fix?
- Improved life expectancy
- Improved patient outcomes
- Lower health costs
- Improved patient convenience
- Improved clinical satisfaction
The Humane Side to AI
Dr. Eric Topol, founder and director of Scripps Research Translational Institute, is a longtime health care visionary. In his book, Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Health Care Human Again, he talks about how “AI could fix health care in a meaningful and positive way.”
“Health care has made some big strides with information and technology,” says Topol. “But, too much of that has been to its detriment. Technology has helped make the practice of medicine ‘robotic,’” he writes, “but artificial intelligence holds the potential to help fix all of that.”
“If we exploit machines’ unique strengths to foster an improved bond between humans,” says Topol, “we’ll have found a vital remedy for what profoundly ails our medicine today.
There are big challenges ahead and anesthesia specialists and anesthesia medical groups will need to be prepared to fight. But properly and humanely deployed, AI and machine learning have the potential to increase efficiency in a wide array of burdensome health care processes, freeing up physicians to treat their patients in the personal, humane way they deserve.
Even Doctors Can’t Navigate Our “Broken Health Care System.” khn.org
Here’s How Physicians Can Impact Healthcare Policies. medicaleconomics.com
6 Bold Leaders Present 18 Powerful Ideas To Fix Healthcare. forbes.com
Eric Topo: EHRs Have “Taken Us Astray,” But AI Could Fix Healthcare in a “Meaningful and Positive Way.” Healthcarenews.com