Updated curricula should drag doctors into the 21st Century

Professional tribalism--the tendency of various professions to act in isolation from, or even in, competition with each other--is preventing doctors and other healthcare professionals from delivering the care that patients need in the 21st Century, according to a newly released Lancet Commission report.

Case in point: Readers of FierceHealthcare probably have noticed comments made by both doctors and nurses hissing about one another's roles. At times, it seems they're separate species that barely communicate with one another, an oddity considering how closely they have to work together.

The 20 professional and academic leaders who wrote the report say that updated training would help overcome the current fragmentation and many of the other problems currently faced in the world of healthcare. These include systemic mismatch of competencies to patient and population needs; poor teamwork; gender stratification by professional status; episodic encounters rather than continuous care; a dominant hospital orientation at the expense of primary care; and quantitative and qualitative imbalances in the professional labor market, according to Medical News Today.

"Laudable efforts to address these deficiencies have mostly floundered, partly because of the so-called tribalism of the professions," the report's authors write.

The authors recommend 10 reforms that will help better equip healthcare professionals for this era. Among them, they suggest the following:

  • Promote a new professionalism that transforms current conventional silos. A set of common attitudes, values and behaviors should be developed to prepare a new generation of professionals to serve as accountable change agents and promoters of evidence-based policies.
  • Adopt competency-based curricula that respond to rapidly changing needs, rather than just offering static coursework. Adapt competencies to local contexts.
  • Promote interprofessional and transprofessional education that breaks down professional silos while enhancing collaborative and non-hierarchical relationships in effective teams.
  • Use the power of information technology for learning through development of evidence, capacity for data collection and analysis, simulation and testing, distance learning, collaborative connectivity, and managing the increase in knowledge.

To learn more:
- here's the Lancet Commission report (registration required)
- here's the article from Medical News Today

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