Date of Award

Spring 5-7-2018

Degree Type

Honors Thesis

Department

Health Sciences

First Advisor

Donal Skinner

Abstract

Medicine is and always has been an essential part of human existence. Throughout history, our ancestors have been consistently striving to cure disease, ease pain and prolong life. Although medicine has drastically evolved through time, these goals still define the core of today’s medicine, and thus history intimately connects us with our ancestors. This link allows humanity to learn from countless years of human experience, and gain valuable information that enables incredible improvements. By implementing knowledge from past successes and failures in medicine, changes can be focused, efficient and evidence based. Therefore, the undeniable synergy between the history of medicine and healthcare improvement, warrants a thorough review of medicine’s past, present and future.

Healthcare has rapidly developed through history and its progression is still rapidly increasing. A once barbaric and chaotic trade has evolved into one of the most precise and calculated professions in the world. Although medicine has become highly advanced with cures for complex diseases and innovative treatments, that is not to say it is perfect by any measure. In fact, our US healthcare system is badly broken. There are numerous improvements to be made, primarily to improve the quality, access and cost of good healthcare. More specifically, the major problems in our healthcare system are: medical errors, physician time with patients, access to care and end of life care. Reassuringly, there are many feasible innovative solutions and great minds dedicated to fixing these issues.

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