Sunday, January 18, 2015

Do we really have a doctor shortage in India ?

Once we stop equating “more care” with “more doctors”, we are one step closer to building a more sustainable healthcare system.

In fact, churning out more doctors can create more problems than it solves !

For one, many of these doctors choose to specialise in highly lucrative branches in order to maximise their income . Because these specialists need lots of technology to support them, they are forced to practise in large corporate for-profit hospitals, all of which are located in big cities. Because there are too many of these specialists in the metropolises, they compete with each other, leading to overtesting, overtreatment, price wars and medical corruption.

The standard solutions of forcing doctors to practise in the villages is also doomed to fail. If you force a doctor to go to a primary health center, and then don't provide him with the supplies and resources he needs, how can he perform his duties ?

The problem is really a healthcare delivery problem , rather than a doctor-shortage problem.
We have enough doctors. We just need to tap into their expertise more cleverly, using digital technology, so they can reach out to where the patients are.  Unfortunately, there is too much money to be made in starting private medical capitation fees colleges, so we will continue addressing the wrong problem.

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