Training the Next Generation of Doctors in Palliative Care Is the Key to the New Era of Value-Based Care (Academic Medicine)


I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone.


We would like to think Hippocrates made this statement about the field of palliative care. Considering the state of medical practice during Hippocrates’s time, and the definition of palliative care, he probably did.

The World Health Organization defines palliative care as care that

improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial, and spiritual.

This should be how all medical care is defined. But unfortunately, it is not. To better understand why palliative care is an important issue in the current debate about health care reform, we first briefly review landmark legal cases in the area of end-of-life care. We then discuss the role of palliative care in conversations in the current health care climate and conclude by emphasizing the importance of integrating palliative care into the standard medical curriculum.

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