Letters Flipping healthcare

Catchy phrases, irrelevance, and the rise of the medical tabloid

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g6847 (Published 18 November 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6847
  1. Nikolai Manassiev, general practitioner1
  1. 1Goodrest Croft Surgery, Birmingham B14 4JU, UK
  1. d_manassieva{at}hotmail.com

On careful reading, Bisognano and Schummers’s main conclusion from their article about flipping healthcare is that they have nothing to offer the average reader and policy maker in the UK.1 They probably have no idea about the irrelevance of their article to anyone outside the US; otherwise they would probably seek advice, not offer it.

They suggest two innovations in healthcare. The first is of a doctor-pastor providing counselling sessions, diet, and exercise advice to his parishioners. The second is of a “new” model of community nursing care. The first does not apply to secular countries with universal and comprehensive healthcare systems and the second exists in the UK already.

On the basis of an example of one high school they recommend “flipping the classroom.” The US is below the UK (and many other countries, including Vietnam) in literacy, numeracy, and science—why would any educational establishment in the UK need such advice from a country below its own ranking?

The authors also recommend flipping healthcare. They reason that doctors should know what matters to patients and not just try to work out what is wrong with them. Evidently the authors are not aware that this approach is part of the GP curriculum or that, although worded differently, it is in the Hippocratic Oath. What does a country that spends a staggering 18% of gross domestic product on healthcare (10% in the UK)—yet has the same life expectancy and worse infant mortality than Cuba—have to teach others on this subject?

The fact that this paper is not just published, but is given the same space as research plus a mention on the cover, tells us about the difficulties The BMJ has in attracting credible research and reviews and how shallow it has become.


Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6847



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