Thursday, May 01, 2014

How Information Therapy can help to reduce medical corruption


The recent issue of the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics has an interesting article on
Corruption in healthcare: a problem in Germany, too, by Christiane Fischer.

She states - " Corruption in medical practice includes the extent to which individual physicians rely on misleading information and how this influences their prescription behaviour. The influence on prescription behaviour of pharmaceutical marketing practices is also analysed in this article. Institutional corruption focuses on the manipulation of treatment guidelines and educational programmes. "

You can read the full article at 
 http://ijme.in/index.php/ijme/article/view/1930/4193

Her conclusion was - The provision of independent information will lead to evidence-based and corruption-free medicine. A possible solution is to encourage doctors and patients to read informational material that is not produced by the pharmaceutical industry.

Doctors will most probably ignore this well-meaning advise .  The good ones follow it in any case, and the bad ones will never improve-  they don't like being preached to !

I think the most important of levers of change are in the hands of patients. Sadly, they still think of themselves as being powerless and helpless. They are the ones who stand to benefit the most if corruption is weeded out. Just like governance is too important an issue to be left up to politicians, healthcare is too vital an issue to be left upto doctors alone. Anti corruption movements like the Aam Aadmi Party movement can help to sweep the broom for Indian healthcare as well.  Of course, the danger is that this wave can get hijacked  health activists and NGOs, who often have their own axe to grind.

Online information Therapy, provided by a trusted source, which patients  can access directly themselves, is the best solution. The Healthwise Knowledgebase, which is available free online at www.healthlibrary.com/healthwise, is a first step in this direction in India.

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