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What changes can be made in the health care system to promote the humanisation of medicine?

12 April 2024

Implementing changes that promote a humanistic approach not only improves the patient experience, but also contributes to the effectiveness of treatment and overall satisfaction with care. Looking at potential modifications to the healthcare system that can support this important direction is essential to further develop and improve healthcare.

Development and training for medical staff 

The development of empathy and interpersonal communication skills among medical and administrative staff is a key element in the humanisation of medicine. Training focused on these aspects allows healthcare professionals to better understand and respond to the emotional and psychological needs of patients, which is essential for the provision of quality and effective care.

Empathy in healthcare goes beyond simple sympathy; it is the ability to empathise with patients, understanding their experiences and feelings. An empathic approach can also lead to better patient compliance with medical recommendations, as they feel understood and supported by their caregivers.

Interpersonal communication training is equally important. The ability to clearly and effectively communicate, listen and respond to patients is crucial in any interaction. Health professionals need to be equipped to communicate effectively and empathetically, especially in difficult or stressful situations.

Understanding patient psychology is another important aspect of training. Learning basic psychological concepts helps staff to better understand patient reactions and behaviour, which can be particularly helpful when managing patients with difficult emotions or in crisis.

Integration of psychological care and medical care

The integration of psychological care with traditional treatments is a key step towards the humanisation of medicine. This approach emphasises that mental health is as important as physical health, and that the two affect each other. Integrating psychological care into standard medical care can significantly improve patients' quality of life, as well as the effectiveness of treatment.

In practice, this integration can take many forms. One of these is collaboration between doctors from different specialities and psychologists and psychiatrists. Such collaboration allows for a holistic view of the patient, where both physical and emotional conditions are simultaneously addressed and treated. For example, a patient with a chronic physical illness may simultaneously receive psychological support to help them cope with stress, anxiety or depression related to their condition.

In addition, educating patients about the impact of mental health on physical health and vice versa is an important part of this integration. Making patients aware of the importance of taking care of their mental health and how this can affect their overall health is key to promoting self-care and better management of their condition.

Incorporating mental health assessments into standard diagnostic procedures and follow-up appointments can also help to detect mental health problems early and ensure timely access to appropriate care. This enables patients to receive comprehensive support that covers both their physical and emotional needs.

Finally, training health professionals in the basics of psychology and communication with patients struggling with mental health problems is essential. This will enable healthcare professionals to better understand and support patients, providing care that encompasses the whole person, not just their illness

Technology in healthcare

Modern technology is playing a key role in the transformation of healthcare, promoting its humanisation. Two key elements of this evolution are increasing patients' access to information about their health and the use of modern tools such as telemedicine.

Increased access to information means that patients can easily access their electronic medical records to track their health status, test results and treatment plan. Patient portals and mobile apps allow patients to quickly obtain comprehensive information about their health. This not only increases patients' trust in the healthcare system, but also allows them to take an active role in managing their health.

The use of technology, especially telemedicine, makes healthcare more accessible and efficient. Patients can consult doctors online, which is particularly important for those living in remote regions or with difficult access to specialists. In addition, technology enables easier and more efficient communication between medical staff and patients, which contributes to better coordination of care.

Providing training in empathy and communication, integrating psychological care with medical care and using modern technology are essential steps in promoting the humanisation of medicine. These changes will improve the patient experience and the efficiency of healthcare, and highlight the importance of caring for mental health as an integral part of healthcare.