Patients, Doctors and Academic Medicine – By T. Abid

Patients, Doctors and Academic Medicine – By T. Abid

It is an established fact that the curriculum of medical institutes always plays a central role in healthcare. From the patient’s viewpoint academic medicine for research leading to better healthcare services, education of medical students, and leadership in patient care, research, and education are essential elements. But times have changed both for the medical profession and curriculum in Pakistan. The mounting hindrance to contribute in scholastic medicine and challenging financial, political, consumer and technology trends are grounds for disquiet. Academic medicine has to do better to survive as a leading player in the healthcare infrastructure.

The International Campaign to Revitalize Academic Medicine (ICRAM), a global initiative to develop a new vision for academic medicine, deserves gratitude for timely planned introspection and action. Patients have had a fundamental role in the crusade from the start and will carry on contributing. Is that satisfactory? Certainly we in Pakistan can’t afford to hang around for the results of this strategic process. We should insist on more from policy makers and academic medical centers now.

Stalwarts at medical institutions, ministry of health and those at the helm should examine old models, think outside traditional status quos, and ask themselves why and how academic medicine will recover in the face of barriers, departmental lack of correspondence, increased competition and emergence of potentially disagreeable driving forces. These are calculatedly challenging scenarios. Without lashing away at predetermined and rigid concepts and redirecting the spotlight on the revitalization of academic medicine there are very little chances of any change.

There are many parallels for change within academic medicine. A national level policy of “thinking globally and acting locally” should be formulated where patients have a fundamental role in initiatives to increase research funding and development, improve medical and patient education, and empower patients. The patients are the ultimate voice in healthcare infrastructure.

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) emphasises that all stakeholders must be integrated at every juncture of the course, beginning with the formulation of a proclamation on the need for change, an incorporated vision and mission, foundation concepts, and objectives. Multidisciplinary opinion leaders should be identified to facilitate the evolution of a national dialogue among factions representing the stakeholders. All stakeholders should endorse a policy of vision, core concepts and desire for change. At the same time, funding bodies must be encouraged to tender enticement for ground-breaking ideas and new ventures. A national steering body is necessary for implementation of evidence both within and across the country to motivate stakeholder groups, guide funds for national development, and highlight significant accomplishments.

Patients must be incorporated as stakeholders in all strategic and action groups because without this revitalization of academic medicine will remain as elusive as it is now.

The patient’s patience should not be tested as nobody can afford to be patient for an unlimited period of time. We will win when academic medicine survives. Change is a challenge, but it the only way patients can be made participants and beneficiaries.

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