What an airline disaster can teach us?

StethoscopeAs of the time this article is written, MH370 is still lost presumably in the Indian Ocean. With international attention on Malaysia, glaring flaws have been highlighted in the way Malaysia operates. Mind you, it is nothing new but intentionally ignored prior. Now that a catastrophe has occurred, our inability to co-ordinate and operate at an international level is evident.

So what can the medical world learn from this airline disaster?

The Ministry of Health Malaysia has operated much like other government agencies. It is inefficient, non transparent with poor accountability of decisions made. Time based promotions only perpetuates malaise as rewards are often secure even for mediocrity.

The medical world should organise itself mirroring the stringent standards of the airline industry. After all, it deals with human life as well.

We are often reminded of how good our health system is, comparatively to some other nations. However, the choice of countries we benchmark ourselves to are suspect. Complacency has thus set in.

It is now becoming a case of building castles on shifting sand. The exterior infrastructure appears glorious, tainted only by poor maintenance and work attitudes.

Perhaps it is time that healthcare personnel be subjected to regular spot checks, periodic appraisal of their training and maintaining a good base of knowledge. It is perhaps not as easy as assessing how a pilot flies a plane but it is ensuring that it meets the standards expected of them by their peers.

The healthcare industry in Malaysia is fortunate that the country remains less litigious and more respectful of the medical profession. However, with the era of digital technology, some of this respect must now be earned.

Regaining international recognition of the healthcare standards in Malaysia remains an uphill task. It is hoped that it will not take a catastrophe the scale of MH370, for Malaysian healthcare to revamp itself.

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