Renewed focus on art of medicine

Patients at the pharmacy of the Ang Mo Kio Polyclinic.
Patients at the pharmacy of the Ang Mo Kio Polyclinic. PHOTO: ST FILE

I refer to the Opinion piece (Paradoxes in medical technology, June 4) which is adapted from Mr Ho Kwon Ping's commencement speech to the graduating class of the Duke-NUS Medical School.

The College of Family Physicians strongly believes that at the heart of good medical practice lies a deep understanding of the human psyche, coupled with humility, and focused on the primacy of patient interest. And we could not agree more with Mr Ho.

It is from this well that intuitive practice, empathy and care of the person and his soul may spring.

A focus on the humanistic, intuitive, generalist and integrative is especially current in the light of recent events in the medico-legal landscape.

There is a potential move towards more defensive medical practice.

The college hopes that a renewed focus on the art of medicine may help to remind doctors and patients alike that there is value, and beauty, in getting to know one another better through the vicissitudes that life leads us into.

Serendipitously, the college has just launched its book, Being Human, which explores the humanistic aspects of family medicine through the eyes of medical students and family physicians.

It is a reminder that our scientific training and experience must eventually be linked to our core mission of providing comprehensive and holistic care for our patients in their communities.

Mr Ho's message is a timely perspective from the eyes of the patient and the public.

Adjunct Assistant Professor

Tan Tze Lee


College of Family Physicians Singapore

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 07, 2019, with the headline 'Renewed focus on art of medicine'. Print Edition | Subscribe