It takes skill and proficiency to make a good doctor, but it takes social finesse and compassion along with impeccable technical skill sets to make a great doctor. At schools of Medicine, doctors learn to use evidence-based medicine, which entails using the most up-to-date scientific research data and algorithms as guidelines in their treatments. But does all the data generated from clinical research fit all the patients? The answer is resounding“no!”
‘Art of Medicine’considers the importance of understanding that every patient has different circumstances and that not all patients experience the treatment journey with similar thoughts, feelings, or behaviors.This necessitates a need for individualized (personalized) treatment plans that should encompass the unique situation of each patient.
Healthcare now is directed towards patient-centered care, which encourages the active collaboration and shared decision-making between doctors, patients, and their families (when appropriate) to ensure that decisions respect patients’ needs and preferences not only from a clinical perspective, but also from emotional, mental, spiritual, social, and financial perspectives.
Unlike evidence-based medicine, doctors do not learn the ‘Art of Medicine’ in a classroom; they learn it by seeing patients, one by one, year after year.
The ‘Art of medicine’ inpatient care involves several components:
- Showing honest concern and compassion. Compassion should not be mistaken for pity or commiseration. It should be an essential quality in optimal medical care. In the absence of compassion, patients are dissatisfied while doctors lose meaning and gratification in their work.
- Giving patients time- not rushing in and out of the examination room, being patient with them and having great bedside manners.
- Listening actively-the best thing doctors can offer their patients is a listening ear. Despite their workloads, doctors should find the time and capacity to truly listen to patients and hear their stories. This builds a strong doctor-patient relationship, which increases the chances of favorable treatment outcomes. Medicine that does not make time for active listening poses real risks. Doctors may mistakenly provide ineffective or undesired treatment, or miss pertinent information.
- Understanding that every patient is an individual who has individual circumstances that affect their lives.
- Helping patients acquire the best outcome they can for themselves by working with them, educating them, coming up with a mutually agreed upon plan of action.