//
you're reading...

Uncategorized

We need a “Copernican Revolution” in healthcare!

Motion of Sun, Earth, and Mars according to heliocentrism (left) and to geocentrism (right), before the Copernican-Galilean-Newtonian revolution. Note the retrograde motion of Mars on the right. Yellow dot, Sun; blue, Earth; red, Mars. (In order to get a smooth animation, it is assumed that the period of revolution of Mars is exactly 2 years, instead of the actual value, 1.88 years). The orbits are assumed to be circular, in the heliocentric case. (From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copernican_Revolution)

Motion of Sun, Earth, and Mars according to heliocentrism (left) and to geocentrism (right), before the Copernican-Galilean-Newtonian revolution. Note the retrograde motion of Mars on the right. Yellow dot, Sun; blue, Earth; red, Mars.
(In order to get a smooth animation, it is assumed that the period of revolution of Mars is exactly 2 years, instead of the actual value, 1.88 years). The orbits are assumed to be circular, in the heliocentric case. (From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copernican_Revolution)

I share my birthday with someone very famous, I would say that almost everybody in the world know his name. At least we all know his work or rather, the result of his work. Nicolaus Copernicus was born 498 years ahead of me, to the day, and of course his work fundamentally changed the way we view the world, literally. I think our similarities start and end with both being born on the 19th of February.

Copernicus was born as the fourth child to a Preussian merchant and his wife and he truly was a child of the Renaissance. He had a doctorate in Canon law and was also a physician, astronomer, classics scholar, translator, governor, diplomat and economist (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolaus_Copernicus).

Around the time of 1532, Copernicus’ work had resulted in a manuscript titled De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres), where he challenged the ancient geocentric view of the universe.

The work of Copernicus was further developed by Danish nobleman and astronomer Tycho Brahe (known to have died as a result of refusing to violate etiquette by leaving a banquet to go pee), German scientist Johannes Kepler and Italian scientist Galilei Galileo. The book Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, Latin for “Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy“, often referred to as simply the Principia by English mathematician and sir Isaac Newton confirmed the hypothesis of Copernicus a “mere” 155 years after it was postulated.

You are probably wondering what this unwarranted history lesson has to do with healthcare? Well, in my view, healthcare is in dire need of a Copernican Revolution. We need to go from the current healthcare-centric paradigm of healthcare to the natural and, to me, obvious patient-centric paradigm. “But”, I hear you say, “surely healthcare is already and has always been putting the patient in the centre of attention”. Sure, but “the centre of attention” is not the same as being patient-centric. Let me give you an example:

A friend of mine spent some time in the hospital recently. He also has Parkinson’s and since he took ill rather suddenly, he didn’t have his medications with him to the hospital. If you know something about Parkinson’s, you know that our medications are what keeps us going, keeps us moving, and without it, we would not be able to function very well. My friend had notified the nurses at the ward about his problem and told them that he needed to have his medications as soon as possible. They told him that they would get him what he needed when the hospital pharmacy opened at 10 o’clock the next morning. The next morning came and my friend reminded the nurses of his need. He was told that they would get his medications in due time. My friend was becoming increasingly rigid and he tried to tell the nurses that he really needed his medications. At this point, he was probably recognised as “another one of those difficult patients who think they know our job better than we do” and all the while he was getting less and less able to move by the minute. When a nurse finally arrived with the medication he needed, she had to put them in his mouth as he was no longer able to do it himself. He told her to come back in half an hour and she wondered if he would really need more medication that soon. No, he said, I want you to see the effect these drugs have on me. She came back with a colleague 45 minutes later and the patient she had left not even able to raise his hand to his mouth, was now sitting up straight in a chair, cheerfully reading a newspaper. He saw her surprise and said “Can you see what the medications do for me? Do you understand now why I need my pills when I say I need them and not when it suits your schedule?”.

The transition from a healthcare-centric system to a patient-centric one will not be easy, no more than the transition to a heliocentric view of the world was.

But I sincerely hope that we won’t have to wait 155 years for it to be completed!

Facebook Twitter Email

Discussion

4 Responses to “We need a “Copernican Revolution” in healthcare!”

  1. AMEN. You had me at “Copernicus,” and then sealed the deal with Kepler and Galileo.

    Apparently it takes an average of 17 years for science to penetrate common practice in medicine (for more on that, see this post by ePatient Dave: http://bit.ly/17-years), so I have hope that it won’t take 155 years for us to get to patient-driven medicine.

    BTW, patient-centered medicine is, I think, a false flag. Any healthcare provider can say they’re practicing “patient-centered” medicine, since they’re serving patients, whether they’re recognizing those patients’ humanity or not. Patient-DRIVEN is a much more powerful word-set, I think. Which is why I use it =)

    Posted by Mighty Casey | May 30, 2014, 8:43 pm
  2. Yes yes yes!

    “Doc Tom” Ferguson, founder of the e-patient movement, introduced his “Seven Prelminary Conclusions” by saying:
    _______

    We modestly suggest that the tentative conclusions below are no more “anti-doctor” or “anti-medicine” than the conclusions of Copernicus and Galileo were “anti-astronomer.”
    ______

    The fact that we’re here at least eight years later is a great illustration of what I increasingly think is one of the most potent points in Let Patients Help: “Information alone doesn’t change behavior.” Oh, and it takes time for new thinking to spread! As you know.

    Posted by e-Patient Dave | June 21, 2014, 11:54 pm

Post a Comment

Twitter

SaraRiggare

Sara Riggare (SaraRiggare)

Proud mother, engineer, PhD student on patient empowerment by IT, optimistic realist with Parkinson's. Not patient but im-patient. #QuantifiedSelf #Health20
Stockholm, Sweden

2023 friends

1839 followers

2499 tweets

Tweeting since August 7, 2010

Tweets from @SaraRiggare