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Teamwork And Good Communication Make Everything Better

What? Just what am I talking about? Give me a minute.

More and more people are telling me too often they are encountering doctors who 1) don’t look them in the eye 2) don’t listen to them 3) don’t touch them or get anywhere near them and 4) stay focused on their a) computer b) smartphone or c) iPad.

More of us are saying we are “mad as hell and are not going to take it anymore” just like the character in the movie “Network” years ago. We find another doctor.
I am happy to report that an increasing number of the gray haired doctors who run medical schools are agreeing with us. Doctors need to be better communicators. They need to celebrate human contact rather than devote themselves to only technology and leading edge science. The professors also want tomorrow’s doctors to know how to work as part of a team. That’s the core of multi-disciplinary care that we talk about all the time these days. It’s smart minds working together for you and me – and to avoid medical errors – which, by the way are estimated to kill 98,000 U.S. patients a year. The idea is teamwork and good communication make everything better.

So the latest news says more and more medical schools are developing new interview processes to weed out the techno-doctors of tomorrow before they take a precious slot away from another smart young person who may be less techno but more human. An approach that is gaining popularity as our 130+ U.S. medical schools accept the chosen few is to conduct interviews that are like “speed dating.” Five minute interviews, one after another, where the candidate is briefly confronted with a problem and then a door opens and they have to work it out with an interviewer. Problem solving together. Looking the interviewer in the eye. Listening. Thinking on their feet.

The good guys win. Down the road patients will win.

I always say I don’t care if a brain surgeon even speaks English because what I want is a steady hand. I’ll be asleep on the OR table. But for everything else I want a doctor who can communicate. The latest revision to med school student selection seems positive to me. Giving birth to fewer techno-doctors is a good thing if more doctors actually use their stethoscope, put their hand on your shoulder and ask how your family is doing. Don’t you agree?

Wishing you and your family the best of health,

Andrew

*This blog post was originally published at Andrew's Blog*


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