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?