“Indian medical profession is at a crossroads”July 4, 2019
The Indian healthcare industry is soon going to witness its biggest transformation in terms of practice, technology and investment. The market is projected to touch $95 billion (Rs 6.59 trillion) by 2020. While the economic progress and rapidly growing purchasing power of the people, along with their increasing health awareness, will attract more investments into this market, fast-evolving technology will change the way diseases are approached and treated. Yet, unfortunately, the medical education and training in the country remained the same, and have not been updated for years, despite rapid changes in medical science and patient requirements. As such, the medical profession in India is likely to face a tough challenge in coping with this transformation.
Discussing the challenges of this imminent situation at the prestigious ‘Tea Meeting’ of the Cochin Rotary Club, Future Medicine founder & editor C H Unnikrishnan said that unless the profession is ready to get updated and adapted to the changing paradigms of healthcare delivery, it may prove unfit to function under the new settings.
Addressing the eminent members of CRC, including many senior physicians and surgeons from Kerala, the chief guest for the evening pointed out that this transformation is part of the global medical technology revolution driven by innovations in diagnostics and treatments.
“Developments in genetic science have paved the way for more specific diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Similarly, novel techniques and new generation equipment have changed the manner in which diseases are diagnosed and cured,” he said.
Unnikrishnan added that one-size-fits-for-all medication is going to be a thing of the past as we step into the era of precision or personalised drugs based on a genetic analysis of the patient. Moreover, patients have already become more informed and started demanding his or her choice of efficiency in care, he said.
On the contrary, medical education in India continues to lag far behind current science and is mostly obsolete compared to information that is already available for the patients through the internet and other media.
“Sadly, the adequacy of our continued medical education, especially for general physicians, is questionable. Since attendance at CMEs and
skilling hours are not mandatory in India for renewing the practice registration, the profession hardly sees any opportunity or incentive to update themselves to the current practice,” he added.
So, the reality is that there is no official channel or a competent platform for clinicians to update their skill sets. They have to personally find an avenue to gather the correct and updated information, and train themselves for the current practice,” the FM editor said.
The situation has worsened due to less regulation and monitoring by the government after the privatisation of medical education. Educational and training standards have been diluted by unscrupulous providers. The other challenge that the clinical community currently faces is a lack of time to update themselves due to overstretched work hours as India has the lowest doctor:patient ratio in the world. In this context, innovations like Future Medicine, which seeks to bridge the gap between the community and the ever-evolving medical technology and scientific progress, are a better alternative. Presenting such new-age contents in a simple and interesting format, Future Medicine also aims to help the profession get adapted to the new era effortlessly, he said.
CRC president Rtn. R Manomohanan presided over the meeting and secretary Rtn. Dr Puneet Dhar presented the vote of thanks. Cochin Rotary Club, which was chartered in 1937, is one of the oldest Rotary Clubs in South India and gives much thrust to effective education for the benefit of the society. The club has in the past invited several eminent personalities and celebrities, including national leaders, as its chief guest at the Tea Meeting, which is being conducted since the beginning.