Medicine is certainly in transition these days.
I'm reminded of the old saying that you need a canoe to get across the river. But once you're on land on other side, you shouldn't drag the canoe behind you; you need to put it down and find another way to move forward.
Similarly, so many of the approaches in medicine that have brought us to where we are today aren't approaches that will bring us where we are trying to go.
In fact, medicine is changing so rapidly, and to such an extreme degree, that even medicine's hallowed institutions are beginning to advocate for change.
JAMA is doing a series of articles called "Sharing Medicine". The framing of the series and the takeaways from the first components of it are stark in their unapologetic advocacy for new ways of doing things. "Sharing medicine" is what the series advocates for, and even in the definition of it, JAMA is showing a new way forward: "Sharing medicine describes a broader ecology of the sharing of knowledge, data, skills, and experiences within the medical profession, with patients, and with the public and society."
We're inspired and energized to read about these authors' research viewpoints. So we wanted to share a few of them with you.
Initial takeaways from JAMA's series on Shared Medicine and medical collaboration:
Doctors' way of seeing themselves gets in the way of sharing.
This article says that physicians see themselves as repositories of knowledge and specialized skills. They are the ones that are supposed to know the answer and execute the treatment. That means that medical collaboration tends to butt up against that self-perception. The article says unequivocally that physicians need to find a new way to share and collaborate, or medicine will not reach its potential.
- Medical collaboration is about true shared understanding -- not simply sending data.
The reason that iClickCare exists is that medical collaboration needs rich information (text, back-and-forth discussion, context, archiving, photos, and video.) Similarly, one of the JAMA pieces says that medical providers need to "enter into dialogue with patients and try to align our understanding with theirs." In other words -- what's needed is not a transaction. It's not a text message. It's not a hurried note in an EMR. It's a process of aligning understanding that will truly change results in medicine.
- The way we are sharing in medicine is not sustainable.
As the JAMA pieces say, "Compared with other sciences, the whole structure for knowledge generation and dissemination seems archaic, redundant, and inefficient." As medical providers, we demand the most cutting edge medicine and technology for our patients. It's no longer sustainable or acceptable to continue using archaic tools to collaborate.
- Poor communication damages our patients.
As JAMA reports, "Poor communication by health care professionals contributes to physical and psychological suffering in patients living with serious illness. Patients may not fully understand their illness, prognosis, and treatment options or may not receive medical care consistent with their goals. Despite considerable research exploring the role of communication in this setting, many questions remain, and a clear agenda for communication research is lacking."