Jun 24, 2012

Crowdsourcing Supervision Of Healthcare Delivery Services in India

Hello ? Where is the Doctor ?

The days of free lunches for doctors in government services will soon be over, if this attendance crowd-sourcing becomes the norm all over India.

Thousands of Indian primary health centers (PHC) work without doctors because there are none posted. Thousands more remain idle because the doctor and other medical staff simply remain unavailable. Absenteeism is a very big curse in the delivery of public health services in India. People dependent on the primary health care centers expect that the doctor is absent. Since all attendances of medical staff is verified at the PHC itself and generally by the absentee doctor himself, there has never been an official check on this culture of 'furlough'. A trial of giving supervisory powers to local 'Sarpanch' (village headman) to ensure attendances of medical staff didn't work out as well as hoped for.

Now Technology and crowd sourcing promises to do what no government administration has managed to do yet. Ensure the presence of medical staff on duty. How Mobile Phones Are Repairing India's Broken Healthcare System 
The Indo-Deutch Project Management Society (IDPMS) tracks SMS messages reporting staff absences sent by local patients, and maps the regions and facilities where absenteeism is prevalent. These maps are then made available to locals and policymakers. 

Presently this experiment is limited to Karnataka. But as and when results emerge, this simple system to involve the citizens to ensure the attendances of medical staff at rural PHCs is bound to have a number of effects on the Indian public healthcare setup. No doubt, the idea will be vilified and rubbished by the entrenched bureaucracy and status-quoist medical staff of government services. But this SMS enabled collaborative supervision of public health services can be a very good tool for improving healthcare delivery by making people more involved in ensuring they get the healthcare services they deserve and pay taxes for.

image: www.canada.com

How Doctors Use Smartphone Apps

There is an increasing use of smartphones by all sections of society in India. Villagers and city dwellers alike are hooked onto many multimedia apps, the most popular being Facebook and Youtube. Doctors, too, are avid users of smartphones and medical apps like Epocrates and Medscape.

   See:5 Useful and Free Android Medical Apps

It is always informative to look at trends among doctors in the United States since quite often the same trend is soon repeated among the Urban Doctors practicing in metros like Delhi and Mumbai. With a reverse brain drain of medical experts to India now being the norm, many of the doctors practicing in major Indian corporate hospitals have been trained in the US. And they bring back the current trends to India sooner than was previously expected. Here's a survey on how 266 doctors use smartphone apps (September 2011).
With smartphones and apps quickly gaining popularity in healthcare, there are now thousands of medical apps available in the app store. To illustrate this app overload challenge faced by doctors today, Epocrates conducted some research and created an infographic looking at the numbers – how many apps doctors download, how many they actually end up using regularly and which apps get used most. 
Interesting that 75% of the doctors with smartphones had downloaded more than 26 apps , though the number of apps they use daily was much much less (about 7). And recommendation of a friend/ colleague is the number one reason for trying out new apps.
Mobile App overload for doctors

Jun 16, 2012

Social Media in Healthcare: A Collective Presentation from HealthWorks Collective

Cleveland Clinic ( in partnership with Johnson and Johnson) recently organized the third annual Patient Experience Empathy and Innovation Summit on May 20-22 at the Inter-Continental Hotel & Conference Center on Cleveland Clinic's campus in Ohio. The attendees (from 34 states and 28 countries) represented hospitals, healthcare systems and businesses.This physician/hospital led event strives to bring the missing 'human' touch to medical care.

The topics discussed ranged from use of internet tools in healthcare, personal technology, patient experience, service excellence, physician communication, search engine marketing and more . As expected, Digital / Social Media use in healthcare was an important (and inaugural) session of the conference.It highlighted how healthcare providers can mobilize the power of digital media to make healthcare better, faster, more personal and affordable. It also explored the latest social media technologies and their roles in patient care, research and education.

From the conference, here is presentation from Robin Carey, Chief Executive Officer, Social Media Today. It dissects and quantifies physician use of digital media like cellphone apps, blogs, Facebook and twitter. Also included are some tips on best practices.

You can find many of the presentation posted on their post proceedings page.

Download Free eBook: Internet For Doctors

Over the past 2 decades, the internet has changed the way the world functions. This is specially true for knowledge intensive professions like medicine. From emails to news alerts, networking to evidence gathering : Medical practice is no more what it was 20 years ago.
For newbies, here's our effort to make your first steps online easier.

Just fill out the form below to download our latest flip-book 'Internet For Doctors'. This flip book will introduce doctors to the internet and lists a number of websites they will find useful in their practice. 
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Also See:
Doctors' Use of Email and Social Media : Guidelines

Jun 5, 2012

Financial Malpractices and Ethics among Doctors in India : A Survey

It's now slightly more than a week, 8 days in fact, since the scathing interview of the Medical Council of India chief by Aamir khan on national television. The 4th episode of Satyamev Jayate targeting corruption and malpractices amongst doctors in India has ruffled quite a few feathers in the medical profession.

While many have praised the show for daring to take on the 'mighty' doctors, many others have severely criticized the tone and content of the episode. A mulitude of physician organizations have jumped on a band wagon demanding an apoplogy from Aamir Khan.

At Digital MedCom Solutions, we conducted a very short survey (5 multiple choice questions) amongst Indian doctors about what they thought of the "Anti-Doctor Episode". This survey was filled in by 87 doctors. It is meant to take a snapshot view of the immediate thinking in the medical fraternity (n=87) within the first few days after the television show.

  • 81% of the doctors who participated in the survey had seen the TV show. 
  • 45% felt Aamir was unfairly targeting doctors. 
  • 56% doctors knew a professional colleague who indulged in such activities.
  • 40% doctors think Aamir Khan should shut up as he has no idea about a doctor’s life.

The story is still unfolding as the clamour from medical associations demanding an apology is still growing. A few placatory and balanced interviews of well respected doctors by Aamir Khan have also now appeared in the media. As Aamir now clarifies that he didn't intend to tar ALL the Doctors with the same black brush, the dust has far from settled. Be ready for a round two soon.


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