Pre-Telluride Post: Shifting Medical Education to Prevent Medical Error

Hello, my name is Aditya Bhagirath, and I just completed my first year of medical school. I chose to attend the Telluride Summer Experience because it provides a great learning opportunity to increase awareness on patient safety as well as an opportunity to potentially impact the lives of individuals in the future. I seek to understand more about the issues in patient safety and developing methods to implement and increase the quality of patient care.

Patient safety is particularly important to me because of my previous volunteer experiences in inpatient and outpatient clinical settings, as well as my future role as physician. As a medical student, I want to better understand what my role as a future physician will be, and what role I can play to increase quality care. I have interacted with many medical professionals whom all play a critical role in the clinical setting but seek to gain more perspective on the role each health care provider plays in patient care. Additionally, I was aware of the role that medical errors can have on an individual, but had never seen the direct effects of such malignant consequences. Errors in medical practice are important to address, and medical education should shift from covering errors to being able to fix them, and ways to prevent them in the first place.  Thus, I think that medicine must work to educate its new physicians to strive for increased quality of care, and understand that new attitudes and methods must be taken to better practice medicine.

Additonally, patient safety is integral to not just good patient care but competent and high quality patient care that is truly based on the value of DOING NO HARM as the Hippocratic Oath states. Patient safety places the human value of the patient first, emphasizing the importance of the person, and why medicine is practiced. Furthermore, I believe that patient safety creates high standards for medical professionals to have, and is similar to the standards that Airline Companies, amongst other highly mortal and dangerous industries, have adopted. Therefore, I think that patient safety is the original intent of medicine, ensuring that medicine is about the patient and not about other secondary goals.

Additionally, learning about the various negative impacts that medical errors have had on individual lives is shocking and reinvigorating. Those negative effects have created a strong passion within me to assist in the changes that are necessary to increase patient safety standards. Large changes will take small steps over time, but are more than do-able.

Finally, I hope to gain a new perspective to medicine and patient safety by interacting with other like minded individuals from different background. Great ideas are not necessarily made individually but rather pieced together like collages, taking pieces of each idea to eventually make a strong conglomerate image. Each contribution is critical, and no idea should go unheard. Ultimately, I hope to learn and contribute to the movement towards increasing advocacy for patient safety, and have great impact on my future patients through this conference.