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Quality seems like a word that's easy to define and easier to understand. But that's not quite the reality. In health care, quality is a term invoked by many, but often lacking a shared meaning. And in the absence of a single vision, it can be hard to collaborate on efforts to improve the health system.
Complaints should not be hard for patients to make or for providers to receive. One of the best ways to ensure complaints serve their purpose -- that is to say, point out important issues so we can improve care -- is to create systems that can properly manage them. That way everyone feels heard; no one slips through the cracks. My patient's complaint inspired me to look at my own practice. I am starting to restructure my time in clinic over the course of a week, using email and phone calls more frequently, and better integrating the other highly skilled members of the team.
Why do so many doctors still think they are invincible to the influence of the pharmaceutical industry? Attractive, well-dressed, charismatic drug reps with pearly smiles and shiny flow charts still wait in waiting rooms. Lectures and conferences still occur where lunch is paid for by the pharmaceutical industry. Canada has banned the use of TV, print and radio advertising of drugs directly to consumers because we recognize that this information should come from unbiased sources. Why then do we allow so much drug promotion to physicians? As a medical community, we have to say no to pharmaceutical influences on our practice.