Quality medicine

Access to your doctor
March 1, 2011
Aspirin for primary prevention
March 13, 2011

Just a quick note today on the topic of quality in medicine.  I hear a lot about “quality medical care” and the “best quality medicine” as I go about my work as both a doctor and a member of the tax-paying public.  Tonight I am rehearsing a CME talk I will give to a group of GPs Wednesday evening to improve the “quality” of their anticoagulation decisions in atrial fibrillation.  I think the definition varies a lot depending on who is speaking.

My own observations are – for doctors, quality means treating your patients with the most evidence-based, effective therapies possible; for administrators, providing care that is as cost-effective as possible; and for patients, care that is humane and considerate of them as a person.  I think many of the dissatisfactions in medicine today result from different perspectives.  Sometimes I think nurses and allied health staff see it the best – they are usually more empathic than doctors but figure out very quickly if the patient is getting better or not.  Perhaps the best answer would be a combination of all these different factors.

I’m curious to see what you think – what is your definition of quality medical care?  Do you have a particular perspective within the health care field?  Do you have any suggestions on how we could improve quality in medicine?  Is our system here in Canada good or is there a long way to go?

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