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‘Affordable medical education will bring down healthcare costs’

Finances & Budgets

12-Nov-2013

The New Indian Express

One way to make healthcare affordable is by ensuring that medical education becomes inexpensive, Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research (SJICSR) Director Dr C N Manjunath said. Delivering the  keynote address at the inaugural of a two-day workshop titled ?Affordable Healthcare and Access to Clean Water’ at the Indian Institute of Management, he said,?Because of expensive medical education, doctors are constantly thinking about how much they’ve spent on their training, and patients are made to bear the costs. To make clinical service affordable, medical education has to become affordable.?  Dr Manjunath said affordable medical education would also make 25-30 per cent doctors follow an evidence-based medical approach. ?We need to strengthen the basics of medicine. Doctors seem to be taking pride in conducting investigations (tests), most of which may be unnecessary. It is wrong to make patients undergo so many tests. In more than 50 per cent of the cases, lending a good ear to patients will give us the diagnosis,? he said. ?The basic cost of treatment will be decided by the managements in private hospitals, which are mostly looking only at a revenue model. They need to adopt a volume-cum-revenue model instead,? Dr Manjunath suggested. He referred to how SJICSR did close to 80 angiogram procedures every day. ?With such volume, I can easily perform at least 7-8 free of cost,? he added. Dr Manjunath said hospitals in the public sector were unable to win the trust of patients due to lack of uniformity in high standard healthcare. ?There is a need to cut red tape. Also, a corporate culture should come in the public sector. Otherwise, patients will be forced to go to the private hospitals.? With 70 per cent of clinical services today being provided by the private sector, ?there is a need for better synchronisation between public and private institutions,? he said.  Dr Manjunath urged the government to reduce duties on costly medical equipment.

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