Inertia and Its Impact on Patients

Is inertia in medical practices harming or helping patients 

According to the Journal of Hospital Medicine, physicians believe that medical practices are in a state of inertia. The inactivity of advancement in medicine can potentially put a patient at risk if the materials needed are not available. On the other hand, using well-tested techniques will ultimately be more beneficial, even if it takes years to implement. 

Finding a Balance

Finding a balance between these risks is crucial in order to continue progressing but in a logical and reasonable manner. Results from clinical research need years of data and follow-up to be legitimized in the medical community. Using new medicine or technology without solid research and conclusions could worsen a patient’s state because unknown or missing data could be the factor affecting his or her safety. 

Examples of Inertia

For example, if a new medicine were to be put into effect without the proper research, then the symptoms or ingredients could harm a patient who‘s allergic or whose system would reject the medicine. New medical research, techniques, technology and practices are being refined and studied every day to find improvement, but implementing these new medical forces can take years. Even after a new practice is official, the widespread use will be insignificant because of the insufficient time physicians have that they can dedicate to training.  

An example of inertia in the medical field is the discovery and causes of H pylori. The initial discovery was made in 1984, followed by more research in 1992. Treatment and case studies followed in 1994 and a summary in 2004. In other words, it took over 10 years for the medical community to translate the research into practice, which meant patients were at risk in the timeframe.