Thursday, October 28, 2010

What the US can learn from Indian doctors

Official presidential portrait of Barack Obama...One major problem which Obama faces is the collapsing US health care system. Everyone agrees it's broken - but no one seems to know how to fix it !

At the recent Putting Patients First Conference in Mumbai, we discussed what the US and India can learn from each other about providing quality healthcare.

One thing the US can teach India is about quality . The great thing about the US healthcare system is that every hospital and doctor ( no matter where they are located) will provide at least a basic minimum standard of healthcare quality. Unfortunately, this is sorely lacking in India - which means that while certain Indian hospitals are world class, most Indians are stuck with poor quality medical care.

What can India teach the US ? The reason the US healthcare system is broken is because costs have gone through the roof. Indians are very frugal and we can teach US doctors how to provide cost effective medical care . This is why so many patients come from the US to India for IVF treatment. Instead of "exporting patients", why can't US IVF clinics learn from Indian doctors as to how to provide their patients value for money ?

The one area where both are lagging is cCommunication between doctor and patient. In the US, they have an information overload; while in India, patients suffer because of a lack of information. We can learn to adopt a blended approach, so we can provide patients all over the world with the best of both worlds !

Indian doctors usually have an open mind and are willing to learn ! Unfortunately, US doctors feel they are the best at everything, and have a very closed mind. It'll be interesting to see which approach works best in the long run !

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