The Hippocratic oath is the most famous oath in Western Medicine a doctor takes when he completes his/her graduation. This text consists of the ethical principles which are followed by a doctor in his medical professional career. Even though not every medical student is required to take the oath at the graduation ceremony, the majority of doctors believe that the oath is very important. But is the centuries-old oath still relevant today? The Hippocratic Oath that was introduced in the 1500s doesn’t reflect changes and issues of contemporary times. It doesn’t cover the principles that are required to be followed by a doctor in today’s technological world with so many changes in social structures and medical goals. So there is a need for A new Hippocratic Oath for modern age doctors.
Statistics suggest that the majority of medical schools integrate some form of oath, Hippocratic Oath in many cases, into a formal farewell. Therefore it is important that schools give medical students ethical guidance. But the students cannot follow the same old Hippocratic Oath as it doesn’t provide students with the advice they need in the modern world. Therefore some of the following changes can be made in the Hippocratic Oath for modern age doctors so it fits the requirements of the 21st century.
Inclusion of overall members of medical professions
The Oath includes the problems and advice for doctors. But it fails to acknowledge other members’ medical professions such as nurses, patients, and medical researchers. The scientific community is expanding and changing due to the pressure put on by the digital spectrum, social media involvement, empowered patients, or the DIY movement. A modern age Hippocratic oath should include these developments in its context.
Make way for a shift from treatment to prevention
Recent advances in medical fields such as precision medicine, preventive health including health sensors, wearables, and health apps have made prevention an ideal segment in medicine. Massive chunks of data that flows through this technology help to analyze and predict trends in the health of individuals and populations. So it is important to include in the Hippocratic oath that a doctor should work for both – treating the healthy and the sick.
Taking into account the available technologies
The innovations available today, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, AR / VR, health apps, wearables, sensors, portable medical devices that are changing healthcare, need their place in the Hippocratic oath document. So, what if the oath said, “I will help prevent disease whenever I can with my knowledge and available technologies, for prevention is preferable to cure”.
Openness towards new medical ideas and concept
It is not only important to mention innovations in the Hippocratic Oath, but it is also essential to adapt open mind to new concepts, ideas, or medical devices that appear to be obvious to many physicians, but which are not practiced as much as they should be in the medical community. Thus, the new oath could say the following passage: “I must support lifelong learning in order to continuously develop my knowledge and skills so that I can use any technology with scientific evidence for my patients’ benefit.”
I believe it is high time to adjust the values and text of the Hippocratic Oath to teach younger doctors to relate to principles that cover their overall issues and behavior in today’s medical community. The Hippocratic OAth should be an inspiration and should aspire the young doctors to work for the betterment of the health of the people.