India speaks to Higher Education Plus about the transformation in the healthcare sector and the opportunities in clinical services.
- How is your journey with Columbia Asia start? How has it been all these years?
After completing my MD in Internal Medicine, I worked as a Hospitalist in The United stated of America before I returned to India in 2007. I was looking for a place to work, Dr. Nandakumar Jairam, Chairman and Medical Director called me to discuss the Hospital Medicine and Hospitalist concept and wanted to know if we can implement the similar concept in India. I joined the group on the 1st of November 2007, I have not looked back since then. The journey has been fulling professionally and I have grown as a person. I got to embrace many challenges, being a new Healthcare chain in India, we were implementing processes, putting together systems, creating a culture which focuses on teamwork, practice evidence-based medicine, and patient centricity etc. I got an opportunity to involve in all these activities contribute and also learn along the way.
- How do you think the healthcare system has transformed in India since you’ve started to practice?
In the last 10 years, there have been significant investments made in the Private Hospital sector. The look and feel of the hospitals have changed dramatically. Importance is given to aesthetics, customer/Patient comfort, and advanced technologies. All these have made the international level of care available for people of our country, without having to travel abroad, in fact, India has become a hub for other countries to come to, for treatment at the reasonably lower cost compared to their own countries.
- How is the pace of innovation in healthcare in India?
If we are looking at technology innovation it is quite fast, such as the Internet of things: Wi-Fi/Bluetooth enabled devices to measure Blood pressure, Glucose, Saturation, ECG, Pule etc. If we are talking about policy and regulation related innovation it is slow, though steps are being taken in the right direction.
Doctors are very less in India as compared to patients. Till equity is reached how do you think this problem should be addressed?
WHO recommends, doctor to patient ratio at 1:1000, but currently we are at 1:1700. This ratio doesn’t consider the requirement of specialist and super specialist and growing incidence of Non-communicable disease burden like Diabetes, Heart problems, cancer, obesity etc.
The problem needs a multipronged approach. We need more investment from Government into the public health system. We need to see how to leverage private healthcare system which has spread wide and deep, through Public Private Partnership. Improve the working conditions for Clinical and Nonclinical staff. Empower Nurses. Have a regulatory framework to help gain the trust of the public. Increase postgraduate seats and partner with Private Hospitals for training and Skill enhancement.
- Advancement in medical technology is an emerging phenomenon. How do you employ technology for effective healthcare delivery in your hospital?
Last 10 years we have seen a sea change in the information technology and biomedical advancements. It is important to review each of this advancement in keeping patients outcomes in mind. We review each piece of technology to see how it affects patient care, clinical outcomes, cost of care etc. and then if we feel that it helps in all these spheres and it is proven by data we look at deploying such technology.
- What changes in pedagogy do you think of medical education needs to change in order to make them effective practitioners?
As mentioned earlier, I did my graduate education in India and went abroad and did my postgraduate education in The United States of America. There is quite a bit of difference in the approaches. Entrance exams and American Board exams were all in multiple choice questions that help students in critical thinking. It prepares them for real-life scenarios. The clinical exam assesses doctors on various aspects of soft skill, like communication, counseling, breaking bad news, explaining various treatment options for patients etc.
Therefore I think we need to take the system, process, and outcomes-based approach
- Do you think the NMC Bill will deteriorate the healthcare in India?
National medical Council Bill has been proposed to help overcome various deficiencies and enhance the governance of the clinical staff. Like every bill, it will go through multiple reiterations before we come to a common consensus. We have to first understand the bill in its entirety and give our inputs so that the concerns can be addressed by the appropriate authorities.