Improving medical practice: a utopia?

Article published by Professor Ximena Páez, professor at the Universidad de Los Andes de Venezuela. Co-author: Miguel Angel Díaz.

People in general  are not satisfied,unfortunately, with their health system. Why? The causes are multiple and complex. Could providers and patients individually and independently produce changes to achieve better medical practice? Could teaching and care institutions help in this target?

At the medical school, preschool students are not formally taught aspects of bioethics in relation to health (what was formerly known as medical ethics) and also legal aspects in relation to the clinical practice.These shortcomings can lead to serious flaws in medical practice. If doctors are not periodically updated or they don´t have a proper communication with their patients (including the communication of errors), they will not be able to provide an updated medical service to patients, with the possibility of the increase in the level of error. If we analyze some frequent complaints of the patients, we will find that they are not due to a lack of diagnostic tools or budget. In many cases failures occur due to not having heard the patient in a timely manner. Just as there are serious flaws in practitioners, there are also serious flaws in patients who have not been taught to take an active part in their own care, which would help prevent errors.