I was fortunate enough to be asked to be a speaker and panelist in the Barry Smith Symposium at Queen’s University a few weeks ago. It was an amazing experience.
This is the second annual symposium, named about one of the Deans of Medicine, Dr. Barry Smith. It’s organized by medical students and the audience was primarily medical students and health science students.
I joined a panel comprised of Leslee Thompson (the CEO of Kingston General Hospital), Dr. Brian Goldman (an ER doctor and the host of CBC’s White Coats, Black Arts) and Dr. Chris Simpson (a cardiologist).
This link will give you more detail on the event and the panelists. http://meds.queensu.ca/smith_symposium/home
I was pleased to see that the event organizers were interested in a challenging and critical look at the role patients play in their own health care.
We were asked to consider:
- How to educated patients about their health as to help them to be better participants – promoting health literacy.
- How to level the information playing field – in cases where patients don’t have access to technologies that can help them better manage their health.
- Who’s perspective is most important in considering a patient’s illness? The patient perspective or the physicians?
When it was my turn to share my perspective, my goal was to show that patients could be capable participants in their healthcare – but at our level and on our terms. I wanted the students to know that patients can be deeply motivated to be part of our healthcare teams. And that we are already managing our care in thoughtful and complex ways – with the best outcomes happening when patients and their healthcare teams work together.
Discussion and questions were very interesting.
From my perspective it was encouraging to hear the physicians talk about being compassionate amongst themselves. And an examination of how doctors and patients have traditionally functioned . . . and a call for the student doctors to consider how these roles can be improved.
I am thankful for the opportunity to participate in such an exciting and thoughtful forum.
Will the patient/doctor relationship will improve? We’ll see.
Introducing the patient perspective into the culture of medicine – as early as medical school – makes me hopeful that it will.
Feature on the Barry Smith Symposium in the Whig Standard newspaper.