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Ishika Ghose

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Medicine is NOT an industry. The industrialisation of medicine should stop

The "industrialisation" of medicine is a recent phenomenon.
It has resulted in:
1. Unrealistic expectations of those who can afford it or have access to it.
2. It has taken away from providing "basic affordable" health care to millions and concentrated on "state-of-the-art" for a few.
3. It has diverted both medical teaching and medical practise from basic conversations with a patient to a series of "tests and investigations" which more often than not are designed to help those who "possess the equipment"
4. It has resulted in virtually complete loss of faith, between the treated and the treating , more litigation, paper work and time spent "covering every eventuality" as doctors
5. Like super-markets the "hospital chains" have taken common sense and good food away from local shops and farmers markets to concrete and glass structures where the "shopper" is bewildered and ends up spending more than she/he needs.

We need to understand that the vast majority of us do NOT need expensive, state-of-the-art medical care. We do not need to pay vast amounts of money to "insure" ourselves and neither do we need to pay vast amounts of money to live.

We need to make 80 % of medical care a 'corner-shop" , non-litigious, relationship of trust between doctor and patient.
We should try and stop the uncontrolled proliferation/continuation of the "medical hypermarket". and its attendant "industries --pharmaceutical, device manufacturing, medical tourism - and go back to the basics.

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  • May 28 2012: Hi Ishika,
    You know how much I agree on this issue.
    1. If we really had good primary and secondary level care in India and West Bengal in particular, wpe wouldn't be needing tertiary care much. People would be OK at the local hospital or clinic facility. But 'industry' would suffer from 'money-mia'
    2.Most corporate hospitals in Kolkata set revenue standards to be fulfilled by the doctors on their panels, so that the conveyor belt of the heath-care factory keeps rolling. In other words 'Show me the money or you can quit'
    3. Blindly mimicking the Americans and extrapolating their methods of 'doing every test for everybody' is a disaster for our country which has a meagre public heath budget but has given the multitude of unethical persons to order investigations at large.
    4. A good clinician can diagnose most (>95%) cases in his OPD without a single investigation. I've been fortunate to train under such illustrious doctors in Kolkata and Aligarh.
    5. Diagnosing after a battery of tests is a clerk's job. One needn't study the science and art of medical therapeutics if one can't trust his/ her gray cells.
    6. Most medical research is today sponsered by pharmaceutical houses which definitely puts the results of the studies in question. And what I understand, this is not limited to our own India.
    7. The day commerce overtook science all across the world with the US illuminating the tortuous path, 'the ethics died'. So heathcare among other things is looked upon as yet another business or
    ganisation, and patients would soon have a new title- 'customers'.
    8. Exploitation is at the core of it all. Brands sell. Just like a fifty year old buys Rs. 6000/-worth branded trainers solely for his morning walk and no more. Getting treated at a 5-star hospital, or should I say a 5-star hotel where some health care is also provided, adds to the social status and credibility of a person.
    9. The present state-of-the-art hospitals touch everying but the lives of their patients.
    • May 29 2012: Subhanu good morning.

      Working in the same system the two of us are part of the small surviving group of medical dinosaurs!
      I started this debate on TED just to see whether there are a few more dinosaurs out there or not.

      Read RH's comment. He puts it so well

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