Monday, February 23, 2009

Low cost medicine

In India, many doctors are forced to practise low-cost or poverty medicine, because the vast majority of patients are poor and have very limited budgets. Most doctors are quite good at this, and hone their clinical skills, so that they don't have to rely too much on lab tests or imaging studies to make a diagnosis or formulate a treatment plan.

However, sometimes this focus on saving money can become an obsession; and this means that sometimes doctors cut corners, which ends up becoming much more expensive for their patients, because the right diagnosis is delayed; or the correct treatment is not started on a timely basis.

Some shorts cuts end up wasting time - and actually represent a penny wise and pound foolish approach. The key is to develop clinical protocols which can be documented and justified, so we can practise cost effective medicine without hurting our patients, just because they are poor.

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