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Educational Changes Suggested for Patient-Centered Medicine

Specific steps include incorporation of patients into ward rounds; consideration of patient perspective

THURSDAY, April 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Changes in medical education and training are suggested to help new physicians address the needs of patients and their families, according to an ideas and opinions piece published in the April 22 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Steven E. Weinberger, M.D., from the American College of Physicians in Philadelphia, and colleagues suggest changes in medical education and the training environment that could possibly produce physicians who are better able to address the needs of patients and their families.

To transform the process and experiences of training, the authors note that training programs and faculty, together with patient and family advisors and leaders, should design and implement a concrete action plan with specific steps. These steps could include incorporation of patients and families into traditional education and care routines such as work or walk rounds, promoting active participation of patients and families. In addition, the patient's voice should be included in clinical and educational discussions and clinical documentation. Ward rounds, conferences, and teaching rounds could all incorporate patient and family perspectives with respect to specific conditions; such discussions should consider a patient's perspective and the impact of illness and treatment on patients and their families. Furthermore, real-time formative feedback from patients could be included as part of the training environment.

"We must change the culture of the training environment as well as the expectations of both trainees and faculty to understand and address patient and family perspectives," the authors write.

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