It was a child who nearly died that made me realize just how drastically my profession had to change. Because nearly 8 million children died in 2010 before reaching the age of five, in large part because of imminently treatable illnesses, and because 57 countries globally are facing a human resources health crisis and of those countries, each only has 1.13 doctors per 1,000 inhabitants, compared with 13.22 per 1,000 in the U.S.
In Jordan, through Cisco HealthPresence, doctors and patients can see and speak to one another from distant clinical settings as if they are face-to-face. Network-connected medical devices -- such as thermometers, stethoscopes, and handheld cameras -- route patient information from the clinic to the hospital for instant access to critical data by medical specialists.
Children's health care is a growing concern on a domestic and global scale among parents, specialists, and policymakers. Treating this special population, particularly among those living in rural communities, ignites continual challenges including insurance concerns, limited transportation, and the low number and availability of pediatric specialists. Working to overcome these challenges can help ensure that every child reaches his or her full potential.
We argue for the radical rethinking of medical education, and suggest that shortening medical school education is one approach to address the need for change in the post-Flexnerian era. Doing so would offer highly qualified students the opportunity to fulfill their medical school requirements in three years, without compromising the quality of their education.
I wouldn't be here today without Western medicine, but we have a long road to the place where patients have the information they need, where doctors won't hesitate to tell it how it is, and where corporate interests have been purged from public health conversations of massive economic and social importance.