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India to witness major changes in medical education -Dr. Devi Shetty

From Tuhin Dutta Doha (Qatar) February 19: India will see major changes in medical education and healthcare within the next couple of years, renowned cardiac surgeon Devi Shetty said today as he called for technology enabled solutions to address pressing health issues.

Delivering the key note address at the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) here, Shetty said the next big thing in health care will not be "magic pill" or a new operation but information technology. Shetty said "the present Narendra Modi led government was very "progressive" and one will witness major changes in medical education and healthcare in India in the next couple of years.

There is no other choice," he told PTI. "You cannot have a country with GDP shooting up to 7-8 per cent and 80 per cent of population not having access to proper healthcare. They have to bring about change," he said. During the speech, he referred to estimates by WHO which predicted a shortage of 12.9 million healthcare workers presently.

However, he said that his own estimates suggests that it is going to be twice as that as India only requires 3 million new doctors and 6 million nurses today. "What we can do collectively and what is desperately required in this world is a global university for medical nursing and para-medical education," said Shetty, who runs Narayana Health in Bangalore.

Noting that, it was very expensive to start a medical school in India, he said there was a need to change the way medical colleges are established. "We need to change it because cost of medical education has to come down significantly. Children from poor families should get into them and become doctors," Shetty said.

"Outstanding doctors throughout the world, who have magic in their fingers, passion to change things, generally come from deprived background. These are the children who have fire in the belly and work for 18-20 hours and change the way healthcare is delivered," he added.

"Existing medical universities will not be very happy with this concept (global university). It is not required that every country has their own medical university. India can afford but lot of African countries cannot afford it," he said. "Having a global university, one can actually reduce the cost," he added.

He said that another big thing in healthcare is online clinics and elaborated that in the coming ten years, entire out-patient services provided by doctors will disappear and patients will stay at home and get online consultations.

Major changes in medical education

Similarly, he also talked about replacing paper charts with ipads and said this will dramatically reduce the risk of hospital and doctors making medical errors which is one of the biggest problems in health care.

There are around 850 million mobile phone subscribers who are spending about Rs 150 per month, he said. "If we can collect Rs 20 from each mobile phone subscribers we can cover the healthcare cost of 850 million people. This is the beauty of technology which brings millions of people together," Shetty added.

PTI

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