Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Using Information Therapy to cut out cuts and kickbacks !

Today's Times of India has an article documenting corruption in medical practise .

It does a good job with describing the problem, but does not offer any solutions. This is a major tragedy - because it just drives another wedge in the fragile doctor-patient relationship. I wish reporters would talk about success stories rather than focus only on problems !

I feel one effective solution which can create a win-win situation is using websites to provide online Information Therapy !

Ix need not be restricted to just providing medical facts about an illness. By providing information about local and regional medical facilities; the names of specialists; their addresses; and the services they provide and their costs, it can actually help to clean up the medical system. It’s a sad fact of life that medical practice has become corrupt today, because consultants, hospitals, diagnostic labs and imaging centers give cuts and kickbacks to doctors to induce them to refer patients to them. Information Therapy can help to cut out cuts and provide a lot of transparency by informing patients about: the costs of procedures; where these are available; and the names of specialists in that field – both in real life and online. Armed with this information, patients need not feel powerless, and can easily get second opinions and shop around for more cost effective treatment options. By cutting out the middleman, they can get better quality services at a lower cost!

Empowering citizens with the RTI Act has helped to encourage them to take a proactive role in governance, thus helping to create a more vibrant democracy. Similarly, embedding Information Therapy within every medical encounter can also help to patients to take a more active and involved role in their healthcare – and this can make for happier patients – and happier doctors !

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