Chapter 6: Doctors need Information Therapy too!
Youre a doctor from one of the best medical schools in the country. You aced your class, and know medical terms like the back of your hand. One day, a patient comes in with an ailment, and while you think you know everything about the problem, his detailed, extraordinary questions stump you! He is not the regular, accept-whatever-the-doctor-says sort of patient. Hes well-informed and has done extensive research on his illness. You could refer him to a specialist, but how will that enhance your own medical knowledge?
The only form of CME credits that the MCI recognizes is attendance at a medical conference. This medical conference has to be approved by the council (presumably based on the quality of the content provided); and doctors who attend approved conferences get a certain number of credits for their attendance. Doctors need to prove that they have accumulated the required number of credits every year if they want to renew their registrations. The biggest problem is that in real life, medical conferences are terrible tools for teaching doctors! Lectures are the most inefficient form of transferring information.
The reality is that these conferences are an utter waste of time and money. Can we really afford to waste the doctors precious time on such insipid conferences that offer no real value or enhance the doctors knowledge? We need better tools to ensure that doctors remain up-to-date. If a doctors knowledge becomes outdated, he or she ends up losing patients to well-equipped specialists in corporate hospitals. Being poorly informed can also be embarrassing for doctors, when their patients with internet printouts know more about their disease than they do! The biggest problem arising from such ignorance is lawsuits for medical negligence . a doctors worst nightmare. This is why when doctors are stumped by difficult patients, they refer them to a specialist or expert, who then helps them to learn more about the management of that particular problem. However, this kind of learning is very episodic and opportunistic, and not all consultants are good at educating family physicians!
The good news is that now, for less than Rs 30 per day, Indian doctors can subscribe to the worlds largest online medical library, at www.mdconsult.com. MDConsult provides doctors with instant online access to the full text of over 40 respected medical books and 50 prestigious medical journals that are constantly updated, eliminating the need to ever buy a medical book! MDConsult provides convenience and peace of mind . at the doctors desktop . for only Rs 9,995 per year.
It must be emphasized that Information Therapy for doctors does not just comprise learning from medical books and journals. The scope of Information Therapy goes much beyond that. It is equally important for physicians to learn to see things from a patients perspective. Doctors sometimes take patients for granted, not realizing that conversing with a patient can open new doors of knowledge, and lead to more effective diagnosis.