This is a guest post by Dr. Amar Udare
When my colleague informed me about the Patient first Conference organized by the HELP library, I was not sure whether I would find enough information about the topic. However once I started my research for the presentation I found a plethora of information. So much has been written about it in articles and research papers all over the world but very little of it is being implemented in India. Once I started collecting the background data, I realized that it is something which we doctors can and should or rather ought to inculcate every time we communicate with the patients.
Working as an intern and now as a junior resident/houseman in a Tertiary Care Centre and a Government hospital I come across a number of patients every day, from all sections of the society. These patients are already crippled by their illness. To make things worse the lack of information paralyses them. Just imagine if you are thrown into a complex maze with people speaking any random foreign language with no shelter and a meager sum of money. To add to it you have been left helpless with some kind of deformity and people around don't really care who you are and why are you here. That is what a Bengali/Assamese or any other vernacular patient goes through every day when he visits a Government hospital in Mumbai, or probably worse than this.
The state of Patient Information is analogous to that of the medical services. The rich get more of it than they actually need and the weaker sections of the society who need them the most are totally neglected. The higher class will manage to get the information by hook or by crook. Many of the time it is these Over Informed patients that create a lot of problems for everyone. The internet gives you too much information. We should be able to extract what is relevant in our case. On the other hand the weaker patients have no information at all. Many of them still have blind faith and follow the philosophy of "Dactar toh bhagwan hota hai.Jo karenge ache ke liye karenge".There needs to be a balance between the two extremes. Organizations like the HELP library can help us bridge this gap by concentrating on the underprivileged section. This can be achieved by setting up health inquiry centers at various Government Hospitals
So through my presentation I have tried to highlight the same point that Patient Information should be delivered to the right people at the right time and in the right way.
I would like to thank Dr Malpani and the entire team at HELP library for giving us an opportunity to voice our opinion and setting up such an amazing event.