News 

New BMJ podcast explores new ways to make health systems healthier

The BMJ has joined forces with Cochrane Sustainable Healthcare to launch a new podcast series called The Recovery co-hosted by The BMJ’s Editor in Chief Dr Fiona Godlee and journalist and Bond University health researcher Dr Ray Moynihan.

New BMJ podcast explores new ways to make health systems healthier
Photograph: Will Francis on Unsplash.

The series will feature compelling and inspirational conversations with healthcare researchers, doctors, and activists from around the world who are actively working to wind back medical excess and forge more sustainable healthcare systems to improve our health, wellbeing, and climate, says the BMJ.

Over six episodes, listeners will hear about new and sometimes radical initiatives that are changing the way doctors practice medicine, to ensure better access to high quality, evidence-based, and safe healthcare.

According to the publishers, highlights include:

  • The Australian doctors fearlessly challenging professional norms to wind back ineffective and dangerous care
  • A high-profile cancer specialist in India helping to reduce wasteful care in low and middle income countries
  • A US-based doctor leading a non-violent revolution of care, built on compassion and solidarity
  • A UK general practitioner championing physical activity, creating garden spaces, and improving access to fresh food, to empower patients, improve equity, and enhance the community’s wellbeing and health

“All these voices are part of a growing global chorus campaigning for fundamental reform of how we practice medicine and showing that radical new alternatives are imminently feasible,” write Godlee, Moynihan and Dr Minna Johansson, Director of Cochrane Sustainable Healthcare, in an opinion article to launch the series.

“All those unnecessary tests, treatments, and diagnoses bring direct harm to people through adverse effects of drugs and surgeries, psychosocial harms of labelling, and increasing the burden of treatments.

And since resources for healthcare are finite, waste is also harming patients indirectly because the overuse of some medical interventions means there are less resources to tackle underuse and underdiagnosis in other areas.”

They acknowledge that the drivers of unsustainable healthcare are complex and diverse and say we must adapt to support more sustainable decision-making within healthcare.

“Most healthcare extends lives and reduces suffering, but too much medicine remains unnecessary and harmful,” they warn. “Reducing medical excess is not primarily about saving money, it is about avoiding harm to people and the planet.”

“We hope this podcast series will inspire listeners all over the world to imagine novel and radical approaches for a more sustainable healthcare, and to dare to move from imagination to action.”

Keep up-to-date with publishing news: sign up here for InPubWeekly, our free weekly e-newsletter.