Take two Matisses and call me in the morning
American medical schools, those bastions of left-brain muscle-flexing, continue their march toward whole-mindedness. Yesterday’s Boston Globe reports that Harvard Medical School has followed the lead of places like Mount Sinai Medical College and begun taking its students to art museums. The goal: To improve young physicians’ observation and diagnostic skills.
This isn’t about the artsy-fartsy or touchy-feely. It’s about dollars and cents — and sometimes life and death. As The Globe notes:
“A study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine show[ed] that after completing the class, [the Harvard] students’ ability to make accurate observations increased 38 percent. When shown artwork and photos of patients, students were more likely to notice features such as a patient’s eyes being asymmetrical or a tiny, healed sore on an index finger. Observations by a control group of students who did not take the class did not change.”