“The relationship between doctor and patient has been broken”

The healthcare professionals They have been denouncing job insecurity in the sector for years, a situation that has been even more aggravated since the pandemic. The lack of doctors has led the group to be subjected to a high workload and overtime. As a consequence of this reality, the doctor-pacient relationship is greatly affected and medical care is depersonalized.

This is the thesis of Nikos Kastanosformer specialist in respiratory diseases of the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona and co-founder of hippocratic movementan association that aims to spread humanism in medicine and promote the Hippocratic balance between medical knowledge and human quality when treating patients.

Resource optimization

Kastanos, who has dedicated a large part of his life to the dissemination of medical information, maintains that the management of health systems is carried out mainly by “managers, not doctors, who, following business techniques prioritize the economic efficiency about the patient.”

“This model requires the optimization of resources, including cutting clinic visit times”, he assures. And he explains that doctors have to work long hours and see many patients a day “in order to make a living,” since their wage compensation is “rather low”. The obligation to enter the data electronically also limits the time available to the doctor to listen and attend to his patient.

No time for human relationship

This leads to the fact that on many occasions, doctors “don’t even have time to look the patient in the eye, they interrupt it, or they don’t have time to carry out a physical examination”, confesses Kastanos. “Physicians become data keyers, they don’t have time to attend to the human need of their patients,” he adds.

This cut in visiting times has also exponentially increased the request for analysis and clinical testswhich sometimes “are really unnecessary and they can even be dangerous,” he warns. This lack of time with the patient also leads to a overmedicationsomething “very expensive and absurd,” he says.

Doctors and patients, victims of the system

all this ends affecting negatively to both patients and doctors, and both become victims of the health systemKastanos explains. “The doctors are burned, frustrated. They are losing their vocation. This situation does not allow them to enjoy their work. In the United States there are studies that show that doctors suffer an incidence of depression superior to that of most other professions,” he adds.

As the doctor explains, many doctors and health professionals in general are victims of burnout –the syndrome of professional exhaustion–, which is characterized by “a high degree of emotional exhaustion, high depersonalization and a low sense of personal accomplishment at work”. This syndrome is associated with a twice the incidence of medical errorswhich ends up directly affecting the patient.

a new stage

Nikos Kastanos is convinced that medicine has become little human, and in an “alarming” way. “The doctor-patient relationship, the heart of medicineit’s broken,” he laments.

“It has been shown that if medicine is practiced with more empathy and more time dedicated to the patient, medical errors, pharmacological medication costs, the number of hospital readmissions and the number of unnecessary and dangerous diagnostic tests are significantly reduced”, he says.

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