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Does Health Education Need a Check Up?

As we began to see our idea of travel and transportation evolve from a mechanical box on wheels to a connected smart system of hyper loops, self driving cars and space travel- we also noticed changes in the way their foundations are taught. The Royal College of Arts, London transforming their “Transportation and Auto-Design” course into “intelligent mobility” is just one of many examples that show a global shift in education- one that considers technology and artificial intelligence at the forefront of mobility design for future generations.

Health education thus far has missed this mainstreaming of technology as an integrated revolutionising component that will steer the frontiers of medical innovation. 

Its ironic that we expect our healthcare needs to automatically include the most state-of-the-art technology without ever ensuring that medical education itself incorporates these best practices 

Digitization in healthcare is already changing the entire scope of downstream and upstream operations.

On one hand Covid demonstrated in no uncertain terms, how digital data sharing facilitated the development, production and availability of life-saving vaccines during crunch-time, shrinking the earlier long wait. Barriers in data sharing were slashed while privacy and security remained protected. Well-designed adaptive trials using Bayesian methodologies allowed drugs such as dexamethasone to be tested and made life saving results available with far shorter timelines than previously seen in clinical trials. 

On the other, telemedicine enabled healthcare providers to access data in real time, unrestricted by geography. This is hugely impactful when you think of how professionals are able to get real time data of remote patients and make timely diagnosis. Add to this, computer algorithms run predictive analytics to enable professionals to make better decisions. 

 Technology then is a tool that facilitates faster and better decision making in an otherwise arbitrary situation, where scarce resources like facilities and trained personnel are unevenly spread.

What changes in Med Ed would enable embracing new paradigms pushing further transformative care for the masses?

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  1. Sandeep, good perspective on the needed adaptations to tech in Health Edu. I fully agree in theory. But I remain skeptical about the similarity of its relevance at a granular level. Every innovation AI, ML, Tele Med is good no doubt. Should we embrace these in Health. Yes undoubtedly. But just pause a sec. We are forgetting the nuanced nature of health and its learnings. It’s emotive, subjective, differentiated and variable from person to person. Data can only help but only after it’s generated from the care given by a human being. Data is a by-product, not the patient itself.

    I would therefore submit that Health Edu must reinforce its basics of bedside learnings , clinical skills, time with patient, communication. Data is an effluent from that interphase. Without this space, data is only going to reduce Medicine into a conveyor belt entity.

    Health Education surely needs a check-up to get back it’s essential nutrients , correct it’s vitamin deficiencies, and do some muscle building to avoid the prostheses that technology is threatening to be.
    Surely we don’t want doctors who cannot talk, understand, think and care. Surely we don’t want doctors who ask the software to provide human solutions. Do we ?


  2. Thanks Dr Chandy for your thoughts. I couldn’t agree more. What you shared are fundamentals on which some of the newer tools can be added to. New Tech innovation are all enablers that can amplify the good work physicians are doing. Given its relevance in 2022 – mainstreaming use of these technology will only help get comfortable early on and perhaps enjoy its full capacity / potential.


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