Saturday, March 11, 2006

Training patient assistants

I read a very interesting story in the newspaper today, which described how the Indian government is going to appoint unemployed graduates as tax return preparers. " Fees charged by chartered accountants for filing tax returns could soon crash with the finance ministry finalising a public-private partnership scheme to appoint, train and certify unemployed graduates for the job. The “tax return preparers” scheme is slated to begin from June 1 this year."
I guess the goverment is doing this is order to help people pay their taxes - as this will help them to earn more revenue.

Why can't they do the same thing to improve healthcare ?
The goverment should train people to become "patient assistants".
This person would be a CPA " Certified Patient Assistant" ( or "Patient Coach") . This is quite different from the model of the "village healthcare barefoot worker" who was always treated as a " second class doctor". This will be a person whose job is to serve the patient, so the patient has a better understanding of their medical problems.

He ( though I feel women may be better at this, because they are usually more empathetic) can be taught these basic skills ( anatomy, physiology, drugs, illnesses,
counselling) through instructional modules, which can be delivered on CDs or on websites. This " mini-medical school " will also teach them to teach patients how to organise medical records; learn what questions to ask their doctor; how to research the medical literature; how to decide amongst treatment options).

They could be charged for this training; and when certified, they could then charge patients for their services. Smart doctors could also employ them in their clinics, to help them take better care of their patients.

A large number of these empowered patient assistants would go a long way towards improving healthcare in the community, which means this project represents an excellent return on investment !

No comments:

Post a Comment

Get A Free IVF Second Opinion

Dr Malpani would be happy to provide a second opinion on your problem.

Consult Now!