22 Mar Episode 04 – Get Another Opinion
What makes a healthcare system great? Are we great when we are delivering against expectations? Shuffling in step with the status quo?
Or are we great when we do the exceptional? The novel, innovative and extremely challenging work that saves, extends and meaningfully improves a human life?
I am alive today, five years beyond my ‘terminal diagnosis’ because of a second opinion. Because someone said ‘no’, someone else said ‘maybe’, and someone else said ‘let’s try’.
To me, a great health care system enables this boundary pushing work, for everyone. Human work, that is evolving, reflective, and collaborative. And critically, conducted by people with buckets of passion and an absence of defensiveness. Tested and validated using rigorous standards. Evaluated regularly against its global peers. Understood to be never quite good enough, because medicine is never quite done achieving what is possible.
A great health system would consider a second opinion essential to decision making and would design these junctions intentionally, to calibrate and cross-check and sap every last opportunity for a patient.
A health system operating below its potential would view a second opinion as a patient’s problem. A low priority. It would lump this nice-to-have in with other patient empowerment issues, like system performance metrics, access, affordability, continuity of care, health literacy, communication and mental health support.
That’s not a great system. That‘s not a patient-centred system. That’s a system that needs to do better.
Thank you for lending your ears to this episode, all about my diagnosis and the ‘… etc’ that has been my 5 year cancer fight. Here’s to the remarkable gift that is living, and the power of recognising the system improvements we can all individually make.
www.theimpatientpodcast.com.au | i: @theimpatinentpodcast
Hosts: Nicole Cooper (@nicolecoopy) & Sean Crank (@seancrank) | Joined by: Dr Prasad Cooray of https://yarraoncology.com.au
Music: Dean Pratt (i: @dean.pratt)
Please note that the impatient podcast contains interviews with patients who share their experiences of the Australian health system, which include personal accounts of acute and chronic health conditions