As we look forward to 2023, let’s take a moment to look back at 2022 and highlight our superb British Medical Association Medical Book Awards 2022 winners.
The Contagion Next Time by Sandro Galea
Special category 2022: COVID-19 winner
“Dr. Galea’s book proves it is possible for us to build a healthier world after Covid-19—and the first step is to protect the most vulnerable, whether they’re in our own neighborhoods or across the globe. The Contagion Next Time is truly a must read.”Katie Couric, award-winning journalist
“The Contagion Next Time looked in depth at the policy context and how COVID-19 exploited the fractures in society. The interdisciplinary approach here, as well as the incremental and intersectoral determinants of the current pandemic (and beyond!), with actionable solutions presented in a lucid yet evidence informed manner are all the reasons this is very appealing as a 360-degree on cumulative learning for a better future.”Comment from BMA Awards 2022 Panel
In a few short months, COVID-19 devastated the world and, in particular, the United States. It infected millions, killed hundreds of thousands, and effectively made the earth stand still.
Yet America was already in poor health before COVID-19 appeared. Racism, marginalization, socioeconomic inequality—our failure to address these forces left us vulnerable to COVID-19 and the ensuing global health crisis it became. Had we tackled these challenges twenty years ago, after the outbreak of SARS, perhaps COVID-19 could have been quickly contained. Instead, we allowed our systems to deteriorate.
Following on the themes of his award-winning publication Well, Sandro Galea’s The Contagion Next Time articulates the foundational forces shaping health in our society and how we can strengthen them to prevent the next outbreak from becoming a pandemic. Because while no one could have predicted that a pandemic would strike when it did, we did know that a pandemic would strike, sooner or later. We’re still not ready for the next pandemic. But we can be—we must be.
In lyrical prose, The Contagion Next Time challenges all of us to tackle the deep-rooted obstacles preventing us from becoming a truly vibrant and equitable nation, reminding us of what we’ve seemed to have forgotten: that our health is a public good worth protecting.
Fix IT: See and solve the problems of digital healthcare by Harold Thimbleby
General Medicine category winner and BMA medical book of the year runner-up
“This is an extraordinary book: a potent and engaging compendium of revelatory stories, bold insights, wise advice, and fresh thinking.”Daniel Jackson (Professor of Computer Science, MIT)
“It is such an important book. Our ability to help patients is so reliant on IT and digital solutions. It has the broadest appeal and has achieved something quite impressive. It is not just medically-focused in presenting solutions. A real strength is that it takes examples from outside of healthcare and translates them into healthcare. It should be read by all healthcare staff.”Comment from BMA Awards 2022 Panel
New technologies like AI, medical apps and implants seem very exciting but they too often have bugs and are susceptible to cyberattacks. Even well-established technologies like infusion pumps, pacemakers and radiotherapy aren’t immune.
Until digital healthcare improves, digital risk means that patients may be harmed unnecessarily, and healthcare staff will continue to be blamed for problems when it’s not their fault.
This book tells stories of widespread problems with digital healthcare. The stories inspire and challenge anyone who wants to make hospitals and healthcare better. The stories and their resolutions will empower patients, clinical staff and digital developers to help transform digital healthcare to make it safer and more effective.
This book is not just about the bugs and cybersecurity threats that affect digital healthcare. More importantly, it’s about the solutions that can make digital healthcare much safer.
Watch Harold Thimbleby discuss his book:
Positive Medicine: Disrupting the Future of Medical Practice by David Beaumont
Primary Care category winner
“We found it thought provoking, challenging conventional thinking without seeking to debunk all conventional wisdom. Every chapter was interesting and different, and the anecdotal style meant the reader was engaged throughout. The book explains how we can help people manage illness and disease, and to enhance their own health. It is a refreshing insight into modern medical thinking.”Comment from BMA Awards 2022 Panel
When Ivan Illich published Medical Nemesis in 1975, he offered a withering critique of the medical profession and the medical model. “The medical establishment has become a major threat to health,” he said. Nearly half a century has elapsed since then, and things have got worse. In the UK, only 5% of the health budget is spent on prevention. The system is so strained that the rule is often ‘one problem per consultation’. Disease management takes precedence over disease prevention, and a wider perspective on health and wellbeing is largely absent. At least once a month, one third of GPs consider leaving the profession. Patients are referred to secondary care simply because primary care cannot cope.
But doctors want to practise differently.
People also want more. The global health and wellness industry has stepped into the gap. It offers more holistic and whole-person approach that people seek. And it’s big business. It is now estimated to be worth $4.2 trillion per annum.
In this book, David Beaumont proposes a better approach. The current healthcare system is a deficit model. It attempts to address and correct the absence of health, so it is therefore more correctly termed a disease-care system. Positive medicine is an abundance model. It aims not only to help people manage illness and disease, but to enhance their health. Although this book is very specifically about doctors and patients, it will resonate with all healthcare professionals.