Monday, April 9, 2012

How Doctors Reflect

First, I did some digging and found this article which states that "WebMD has become 'synonymous with Big Pharma Shilling' in certain circles:"

Apparently WebMD has admitted connections to pharmaceuticals and other health related companies. The website has biases towards certain medication and advertises various medications openly throughout their site. Kinda interesting no?

This is my second reading of Jerome Groopman's How Doctors Think and I believe the book serves its purpose well, demonstrating the difficult decisions and bioethical issues faced by physicians. On a slight negative note, I have always thought that while Dr. Groopman does a fair job identifying problems, he offers few concrete suggestions for reform. For example, while he does make a number of suggestions on how physicians can think more clearly (think outside the box, questions gut instinct, etc), he does not offer a concrete program for improving the diagnostic skills and thought processes of physicians in the US. His only idea for improving training seems to be to push clinicians to ask themselves the above questions more frequently. Given the success of the book, you would have thought the guy would come up with some original solutions to ethical and professional issues.

But while this shortcoming does provide a certain degree of post-reading dissatisfaction, Groopman manages to demonstrate how some physicians fail while others succeed, and raises some important questions around the profession. Americans have a various ideas on what they expect from their physicians, as demonstrated in class discussions. It is impossible to expect any sort of perfect competence from doctors, but I believe it is essential for all physicians to exhibit a strong inclination for self-development. The field of medicine will always be messy and complicated, both in terms of ethics and practicing effective medicine. It is pinnacle for physicians to be able to develop a personal philosophy around delivering effective and efficient care, alongside a permanent grasp of medical knowledge. Without constantly developing a strong, positive moral agreement and maintaining clear communication with patients, it becomes very easy for physicians to become unsatisfying with the challenges of their job. There is no silver bullet for the issues of medicine, and this is the reason for Groopman’s omission. Most of the changes that would positively contribute to patient care need to happen among the psyches of individual physicians, constantly reevaluating the care they provide and not being stuck with their egos.

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