Trend towards personalized care goes to medical school

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Harvard Medical School is dramatically shifting its curriculum towards helping its students understand healthcare from a patient’s perspective. To do this the school is altering how it structures the time its students spend in real-life hospital settings by having each student focus on one hospital and by requiring them to follow some patients over the course of a year’s worth of care, the Boston Globe reports.

This type of trend can be seen elsewhere in healthcare. After all, a considerable buzz phrase in healthcare today is ‘personalized care’ which when related to imaging modalities generally means using powerful tools in areas such as nuclear medicine or perhaps advanced technology like 7 Tesla MRI to gather a keen understanding of how treatments are working and how to shape a treatment plan as a result.

Yet the idea of making care a personal relationship between a caregiver and a patient extends well beyond technology. There are numerous benefits to patients (and physicians) in being able to know a patient personally, especially ones with chronic illness.

The changes in curriculum at Harvard Medical School will be phased in over the course of three years, beginning this summer. Students will not only focus on many of the same patients during this time, but they will also be reviewed by senior doctors on staff that will review their progress. Through this, students will get a broader understanding of the complexities and difficulties that many patients phase over the endlessly changing course of their treatments. The medical students will also be required to take courses that help them understand how disease and treatment progress can be influenced by non-medical related circumstances that are social, economic, ethics, or policy-related in nature, according to the Boston Globe report.