• Greg Merritt, PhD & GP

Just 3 Questions from a Patient for Medical Education?

Feb 25, 2012 was a dreary “typical” wintry day in Michigan but one that changed meaning and purpose in my life (or at least my second life) forever. You see… I suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and a heart attack that day that left me without a heartbeat for some 30+ minutes. Following this traumatic event, I vowed to try and figure out who (and how) to share my gratitude. The first person to thank was my lovely bride (though I suspect there are some days she wonders about saving me 😊) but in the end, I hope her life is more fulfilled with me still in it.

After her, I reached out to the University of Michigan health system and have found many wonderful colleagues to share my gratitude. Ultimately, this led me to leave my 30-year career in University Housing to find ways to harness the innovative power that comes from grateful patients partnering with healthcare to solve some of the thorniest problems that exist in medicine today. My webpage, https://www.patientispartner.com hopes to harness the ideas patients can have to help create the kind of culture that eradicates the current “industrialization” of medicine. As a practicing “questiononlogist,” I offer the following 3 question “areas” to consider in re-thinking the “industrialization” of medicine and find ways to LOVEMEDED again. One of the ways a movement can start is to make the change with how we recruit, educate and train the future of medicine.


MY QUESTIONS from a Patient Lens


What if patients joined the physicians to drape the white coats on new medical students at the white coat ceremony?

Involving patients (invited from the faculty) might be the perfect symbol to show incoming students that this profession will always be about a special bond between patient/doctor where the patient invites the doctor into their life, often at the most vulnerable time.

What if patients/families were asked if they would like to include a photo of the patient at their best in their medical record? How might we look at “ournotes” as a way to show love and caring?

Electronic medical records can be a challenge in showing love, compassion and care for patients. Is it possible that by including a photo that doctors would never allow themselves to see their fellow humans as “parts to be fixed?” Might sharing notes with patients result in a truly authentic partnership where both patient and doctor work together to assure the best possible outcome?

How might patients be invited to be authentic co-producers of a medical education curriculum that lends itself to authenticity, love and purpose? Might it be transformational?

Patients (particularly patients without healthcare backgrounds) might be the secret to innovation on how to transform medical education. Together, we can, and will, bring the humanity back into human medicine!



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