Healthcare is Suffering from Groupthink Syndrome

Personalized healthcare requires Personal Autonomy, something Population Health will at no time offer.

Originally published by Being Well on Medium

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

For the past couple of centuries, population health has been the core player in the public health realm. The way population health functions is by defining “the health outcomes of a group of people, and the distribution of such results within the group. Likewise, medical decisions based on population health are the upshot of collective determination of what treatment options are appropriate for a given population. In other words, collective consciousness plays a fundamental role in delivering healthcare based on population health models.

But healthcare of the 21st-century is failing, and I mean it is deteriorating not only within the United States nonetheless also across the globe. — “Because Millennials expect better and more options.”

The Collectively Driven Healthcare Solutions are Subject to Blunder

A collective conscience is a robust tool as it uses a set of shared assumptions, impressions, and rigid attitudes which operate as a unifying force within a group. For example, disease and health and treatment options are typically defined by incorporating more of the social determinants rather than individual factors.

The collective conscience is efficient and can be precise because it uses group thinking vs. individual thinking. But even the collective mind has its downfall.

The Concept of Groupthink and its Supporting Psychology!

Groupthink is a manifestation of a group that reaches unanimity without fundamental reasoning or evaluation of the impacts or resources. Groupthink is based on a collective longing not to upset the equilibrium of the group.

The term “Groupthink” was initially introduced in 1971 by psychologist Irving Janis. Since then, Janis and other researchers have established that under the circumstances such as Groupthink, individuals tend to abstain from communicating doubts and judgments or disagreeing with the consensus. In the interest of making a decision that furthers their group cause, members may also ignore ethical or moral aftermath.

While it is often conjured at the geopolitics level, Groupthink can also refer to subtle social or ideological harmony methods. For example, at times, doctors refrain from personal clinical judgment to avoid litigation or criticism from medical societies.

We call this phenomenon- defensive medicine. By doing so, physicians often overlook patient choice or take individual decisions supported by the medical community to prevent disciplinary action from the state medical board while maintaining their support.

Another extreme example is the notion of police brotherhood. The latter refers to When an officer is in trouble, just like what we recently witnessed in George Floyd's police brutality. At least 40 lawsuits claim police brutality at George Floyd protests across the U.S. — CBS News, of course, the officer who caused Floyd’s death was not lucky enough to get away with what he did. Nonetheless, his coworkers tried to stick with him. Under brotherhood collective consciousness, police count on his pals to cover for him. The rules are simple for them:

Say little, answer if the question asked, give short answers, deny all accusations, say, “I don’t remember, I didn’t see that, or I don’t know.

The Psychological Implication of Groupthink

Groups that follow the lead of their collective identity and act coldly toward “outsiders” may be more inclined to plummet victims to Groupthink. These are assemblies in which conflict is downcast or openly penalized are similarly likely to immerse in Groupthink while making judgments. High stress is another cause of Groupthink because it is time pressure that urges a fast decision.

Even in trivial circumstances, groupthink catalysts decisions that aren’t favorable or that ignore critical information. For instance, in highly consequential domains such as politics or the military, Groupthink can have much guiltier outcomes, leading groups to dismiss ethics or morals, prioritize one specific goal while ignoring countless collateral aftermaths, or, at worst, provoke death and devastation.

Individual Conscience Sacrificed for Collective Conscience

Groupthink is a slippery slope of the collective advocate. Despite its potential to deliver a precise decision under cooperative unity, it is potentially sensitive to flaws and dictatorship. The healthcare system is intolerant to follow if intended to address personal dilemmas such as health and disease.

Healthcare fundamentally is personal; however, population health has substituted it based on collective altruism. As idealistic as it may sound, population health away from individual conscience is destined to fall short and slip into Groupthink on a large scale. Some very Clear example to mention is government-run healthcare coverage, and medical licensing and certification system.

Healthcare Problem Riddled by Groupthink

Apart from what was mentioned before, Groupthink has many manifestations in the healthcare arena. The problem of Groupthink in hospitals and the application of individual and group practical originality skills are fundamental. It is thought to be addressed through the concept of” Practical originality,” a skill that the individual and the group can employ to examine the problems and goals associated with group interaction creatively.

According to a study published in an international journal for Quality Healthcare, patient safety may be weakened or endangered due to four systematic predispositions ensuing from group decision-making: ‘groupthink,’ ‘social loafing,’ ‘group polarization, and ‘escalation of commitment. Because Groups often make critical decisions in modern healthcare systems of people instead of individual physicians or experts.

The group decision-making can be impaired and result in administrative and clinical negligence’s which may harm patients.

In the realm of healthcare, we obey orders and policies, and procedures merely because that is part and parcel of our clinical world’s statutes.

However, doing what we are told comes at a price that violates our moral ordinance and personal values. That includes the orders that can potentially cause damage to the patients. It can furthermore withstand the antithesis of evidence-based practice when you’re told to do something a certain way because “that’s the way we always do!

In reality, teamwork is not inherently reasonable, disastrous, or neutral; instead, as with any intervention, their effect is altered by the persons involved, the circumstance, and the relations between persons and predicament.

Individual Autonomy requires proactivity but is much less restrictive.

It is clear to us all that two minds are better than one, however taking into account the collateral implications of collective conscience, the meaning behind such notion slips into something unfeasible in the long term, except for limited circumstances.

In contrast, an individual is the sole contributor to a solution but enjoys the liberty of independent judgment and personal connection. The latter is something that is wanted in personalized healthcare.

Personalized healthcare demands individual autonomy, something population health will never provide. Hence- turning the table around by removing Groupthink and establishing personalized healthcare via nurturing own consciousness may be the ultimate solution for our broken healthcare system.

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