Despite all this, we are still churning out young physicians who are not well trained. Despite the long years in medical college and the hard work, they do not seem to be able to hold their own in the world of real diseases and patients. While they are exposed to a variety of clinical situations, time and lack of facilities affect their abilities to learn and treat.
In this scenario, what we need are:
- Uniformity of medical education with a common curriculum
- Maintaining logbooks in an honest manner
- Accessibility to modern technology
- Creating centres of excellence where every medical student is compulsorily offered a short observership. Research facilities to be encouraged from undergrad days
- Specialty interest in specific subjects needs to be encouraged as it might help during the research of newer medicines, therapies and implants/ prosthesis and create a Made in India / Made for India model
- Pre-medical courses with statistics, research modalities, patient-doctor relationships and human psychology to be addressed. For e.g. a robust pre-med course in physics will help students to understand locomotion better and they can perhaps contribute to better prosthetic design
- Doctors should be encouraged to work in smaller towns by providing improved infrastructure for their well-being. These will be key facilitators to make this choice more attractive and effortless
Medical care does not stop with hospitalisation. Our government needs to support India-centric issues. The ageing needs dignity, good quality of life and affordable end-of-life care. The burden can be considerable on families, especially since care can be expensive and caregivers can remain challenged especially with regards to time, space and money.
Insurance policies should include not only in-patient care but out-patient care as well, albeit with co-pay. Medical costs can also be made tax-deductible for both the self-paying and the caregivers in order to lessen the burden.
Medical care can be state-of-the-art and more affordable if import duties, especially on high-end equipment, are reduced. Also, a single window to encourage open transparent dialogues between doctors/hospitals and health officials can be opened.
In my personal case, the Made in India treatment of Avascular Necrosis (AVN) with medicines or Made for India initiative of having patients with joint replacements able to perform all day to day activities, including sitting in the floor, needs to be encouraged.
If we are all in the forefront of medical care, then medical tourism can boom and this alone can subsidise high-quality medical care for all citizens. The result will be a Healthy India, setting an example of healthy living and affordable healthcare to the world.
The author is the HOD, Orthopaedics, Hinduja Hospital and Director professional services (Medical Director)