As we are putting the final touches on an issue, I find myself looking back over article topics that less than two months ago were mysteries to me and now are open books. That’s not to say that writing a story about a subject makes us experts, heaven forbid. We are thankful every day for the expert insights we get from seasoned professionals in the fields of healthcare, fitness, nutrition and safety. What we do get from the process is a different perspective on how things like policy, technology, research, training, attitude and economics all come together to shape how we receive our healthcare now and how we will in the future.
For all of our advances in technology and methods, medications and devices, humans can breathe a sigh of relief, because, at least for the near future, artificial intelligence has not replaced the invaluable role that human interaction has in healthcare. The human touch and the support and empathy that a physician or other caregiver, counselor or therapist can give, often is the overriding factor in the success of treatment. These relationships, these connections have impacts far beyond what we can quantitatively measure, but that makes them no less real. Ask a cancer patient who is now in remission or a teen who was rescued before a suicide attempt by a trusted adult who took the time to listen.
We don’t yet understand and may never know how one spirit touching another aids in healing, but when it’s there we feel it and when it’s not there we feel that too. The truly great healers and comforters are the ones who have it. We owe them a great debt of gratitude for not just being proficient in the science of medicine but also in the art of caring and compassion. Now, if we could just make some progress with the policy makers.