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Ethical and Legal Implications of Autonomy

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Within the healthcare system, it is important for healthcare professionals to maintain ethical standards, including those that govern respect for persons, a primary component of which is autonomy, and beneficence. Continue reading »

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Basic Service Components of the Healthcare Industry

To gain understanding of the patterns of basic service components, the systematic organization may be identified and the boundaries of the system better understood. By gaining this understanding, each system may be evaluated and improved to better meet the needs of the various demographics for which it serves.

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Is it ethical to use persuasion within medical practice?

Melanotan Injection

Physicians and caretakers are often faced with difficult dilemmas that require assisting patients and families to choose a specific course of action. Few environments are as demanding on the professional relationship as within medicine; treatment plans, end-of-life decisions and day-to-day recommendations balance risks with the patient’s best interests. Especially in the medical field, providers’ recommendations must maintain ethical standards. Ethical is defined at Dictionary.com (n.d.) as: “being in accordance with the rules or standards for right conduct or practice, esp. the standards of a profession”.

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Psychology and Fraud

Psychology has profound effects on decision making. Within the business world, psychology can explain the processes through which organizations and individuals develop fraudulent and unethical behavior. Through analysis of the psychology behind the decision making and considering examples of corruption within the corporate world, precautions may be made to prevent similar fraudulent practices from occurring within the medical field.

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Improving Medical Decision Making

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To better understand the impact of decision making on the medical field, I have chosen to evaluate an organization whose purpose it is to support and advise healthcare providers, both in policy making and treatment options.

Identification of Company

The Society for Medical Decision Making (SMDM) is an international organization that assists physicians and other medical professionals in improving healthcare outcomes by promoting efficacious decision making that is based on valuable resources exchanged through academic forums (paraphrased, Society for Medical Decision Making, 2007).  Because of the broad range of members’ expertise, hospitals and physicians are able to draw healthcare information from global resources.  By approaching medical decision making and policy formation from a multi-dimensional perspective, the informed communication will lead to better and more effective outcomes, which may lead to overall health benefits.
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A Looming Physician Role-Identity Crisis

A few years ago I found myself speaking to many Ph.D scientists who want to leave science research.  Since MME035my entire career path may be best labeled “alternative healthcare… plus!”, I am often contacted by life science professionals who are at the cross-roads of their lives and their careers, and wondering how to reconcile a career path for which they had invested decades of their lives with an increasing feeling of personal dissatisfaction.

Now, I find myself speaking to physicians who are stressed out both from their careers and from their imploding personal lives.  While I won’t stop hearing from my scientist colleagues anytime soon from exploring alternative career transitions, I anticipate connecting with more medical doctors in the next few years. Many of these doctors no longer recognize the profession they used to love amid the increasingly hostile healthcare environment.

What worries me more is that many of these doctors no longer know who they are.

When you have invested years of your life: about two decades worth of yourself and your life to schooling to become a physician, your career decision has been deeply ingrained (i.e. family heritage) or deeply personal (i.e. personal value around making a difference as a healer). After all, it takes courage and commitment to choose a career where, when you’re finally ready to “start”, most of your peers in other professions are in their mid-career journey.

No wonder, for doctors, it can be harsh and hard to walk away from an identity that has been decades in the making.

If you are a physician, try this: describe yourself without making reference to your profession; without saying “I’m a doctor” or what clinical tasks you perform on a daily basis.

What are you left with?

If you don’t like the answer, make a plan to create one that you can live with and be fulfilled by for the rest of your life. Too often physicians settle for a role (“doctor”) as their identity, and when that role becomes threatened, they find that their identity becomes threatened. They feel out of control with who they are, what they stand for, and how they live their lives.

Now is the time for physicians to start facing this consuming identity crisis before they no longer recognize their lives or worse – themselves.

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Electronic Patient Health Records

Electronic Patient Health RecordsElectronic Patient Health Records

Having just got back from a series of meetings in Cambridge this week at the “Healthcare Special Interest Group – ‘Meet the Clinic: Personal Health Records‘” seminar, I wanted to share some of my thoughts on electronic patient health records and the technology that is currently available and being developed. This is by no means meant to be an exhaustive introduction, but just a summary of my understanding and opinion.

You may or may not have heard of Electronic Patient Health Records, or you may have heard of Electronic Health Records, or Health 2.0, or Health 3.0, or Patient Empowerment or even “the ability to securely and confidentially access your GP-held health” and you weren’t quite sure what that meant! It’s understandable, to be honest.

It’s a bit like Web 2.0, the term was used by every digital company going, every piece of marketing, every sales pitch; yet, when you asked someone to define web 2.0, it would usually follow with a long awful silence and some mumbling about big shiny font. Of course, now it’s ‘social media’, but anyway… that’s another story.

Some of you will probably be frustrated, shouting at the screen “Of course I know what electronic patient health records are! It’s my health record, in an electronic format”. You’re not wrong, but you’re not right either. It is your health record, the one your GP stares at on his/her computer screen–that computer screen that you always wondered what was on it, but the angle just wasn’t quite right for you to be able to see what was written about you; well, electronic patient health records now enable both you, and your doctor to stare into the computer screen and view your health notes, and more…

I’m making this sound really great aren’t I? and you want to know where you sign-up and login, don’t you?

Everything is a bit up in the air at the moment, certain groups are playing the thin line of bureaucracy whilst other are fighting to establish their dominance; and this is just within the NHS! Then we actually come to the digitalising of patient health records, which too is still being established and roles defined. So, for the moment I’m going to talk about where we are right now, today.

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Online Learning in Clinical Skills

clin-skills

To me online learning of clinical skills almost sounds like an abomination or contradiction in terms. You learn them knee deep in blood, saliva, urine you name it but not behind a computer screen.

Recently an article was published about the experience of developing an online learning resource that supplements the learning of basic clinical skills for undergraduate medical students. Supplements, so it doesn’t replace the learning of clinical skills completely. This got me interested about their experience with this kind of online learning resource. Mind you, this is not a randomized controlled trial but just some wise advice and clear instructions on how to make a video to be put online for e-learning.

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Twitter Doctors, Medical Students and Medicine related

Twitter Doctors, Medical Students and Medicine relatedThe list of Doctors, Medical Students, and Medicine related tweets has been moved to Healthtechnica.com The new list is updated daily and now includes Twitter, Blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, and country of origin.

Click the link below to get to the new list. If you are in health care, but are not listed you can add yourself on the page!

HealthTechnica

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Am I too old to be a Medical Student?

Am I too old to be a Medical Student?It’s a question all mature pre-med students are likely to ask themselves and it’s understandable for many reasons. For me personally, I already had a very successful career in IT which provided me with a nice sports car, my own rented cottage and a host of other luxuries that I wasn’t sure I was willing to give-up. Besides which, many people thought I was mad to waste ten years of career experience in an industry, it didn’t help that I wouldn’t be able to earn in medicine my previous salary for another fifteen years (minimum), of course however, it was never about the money for me, so this wasn’t a really an issue. But I had other questions and concerns going through my mind…

  • If I get in to Medical School at twenty-seven, followed by five years training before foundation years, how many years am I actually going to get practising medicine?
  • How old will the other students be at Medical School and will I be singled out as the ‘oldy’ or simply just not fit-in?
  • Can I financially and socially adapt to the change of becoming a full-time student?
  • Academically, after so many years in the ‘real-world’, will I be able to cope with amount of work required and what about the assessments and exams?

The list goes on and on and we’ll all be able to add and remove different questions that concern us individually. I think the first thing to remember is that you’re not alone and the internet is a great place for finding like minded mature pre-med and medical students. The other thing to remember is that many medical schools are now keen to recruit maturer students.

“Mature students bring a breadth of life experience,” says Peter McCrorie, who runs the graduate entry course at St George’s, “Some school leaving students have that too, but people who are older have more life experiences and that’s a very useful thing to have in medicine.”

We also have many other things going for us, admitadely we might not be able to drink as much as our fellow younger students, but we make-up for that in that we tend to work harder and often achieve better grades, we have life experiences that we can apply to medicine and our studies also.

I recommend reading the following article on Student BMJ, Does age matter?

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