Medical Graduates Should Be Offered Diploma Courses To Make Them Specialists

To tide over the acute shortage of medical specialists in India, the country needs medical educational institutions on the line of the College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPS) in Maharashtra which would offer diploma courses in fields like anaesthesia, gynaecology, and paediatrics to medical graduates, according to experts.

Talking about the acute shortage of medical specialists in the country, Dr Devi Shetty, founder and chairman, Narayana Health, recently pointed out that while the US has 19,000 undergraduate medical seats and 32,000 postgraduate seats, in India it is the opposite – the country has close to 50,000 undergraduate medical seats but only 14,000 PG seats.

“The low number of PG seats results in a shortage of specialists. This can have terrible consequences on the ground. For example, India has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world and this is unrelated to the amount of money we spend on healthcare. The reason is that we have created a regulatory structure where only a specialist can perform certain tasks, and the country simply doesn’t produce enough of these specialists,” he said.

Dr Shetty suggested that to tide over the problem, the country needs medical educational institutions on the line of the College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPS) in Maharashtra which would offer diploma courses in fields like anaesthesia, gynaecology, and paediatrics to medical graduates.

“This can convert the entire 50,000 medical graduates produced in India every year into specialists who can then help reduce maternal mortality in India,” Dr Shetty said, adding, “If we want to deliver better healthcare outcomes, India doesn’t require money. We only require policy changes. This will not happen till the Government looks at medical education as integral part of the country’s development.”

Dr Shetty was speaking at ‘The Future of Healthcare: A Collective Vision’, a global healthcare conference that was held here on March 3-4. The event, hosted by The Healthcare Alliance, witnessed the participation of thought leaders, policy makers, senior government officials, and business and health leaders from over 15 countries.

Calling for major changes in the existing health system, Dr Naresh Trehan, chairman and managing director, Global Health (Medanta-The Medicity), said, “Healthcare is basically disease management. We should build our system from the ground up to create a new blueprint of India’s healthcare.”

“We have over 800,000 ASHAs (Accredited Social Healthcare Activists) in India but they are ill trained and don’t have any medical skills. Their costs are a huge burden on the exchequer and nothing gets accomplished in return. All we have to do is to upscale their skills so that they can be the eyes and ears of the healthcare system on the ground. They need to monitor hygiene and find out who in the community needs medical assistance. This will be a big help in ensuring quick diagnosis of diseases and reducing the incidence of NCDs (non-communicable diseases),” Dr Trehan said.

Outlining his views on the role of technology in ensuring greater access to quality healthcare, Shivinder Mohan Singh, executive vice chairman, Fortis Healthcare, said, “Technology has played a vital role in healthcare in the last 30 to 40 years, whether it is diagnosis or treatment. Going forward it is going to trigger more changes in healthcare than any other factor.”

Singh said, “Healthcare access will get radically transformed with technology whether it is in terms of proximity through devices planted in our bodies or by low-cost healthcare using innovative technological solutions or the speed with which information is shared.”

“A healthcare ecosystem would be created in future where different silos begin to talk to each other about patients and exchange information. Healthcare delivery is going to become more personalized in terms of tailor-made treatments for an individual,” he added.

Talking about the need for better integration of different systems of medicine, Singh said: “Allopathy has taken a predominant share of the existing market in healthcare, but I think we can’t avoid for too long the benefits that other health sciences bring to the table. Some kind of integration of different health disciplines is bound to happen in future.”

He also emphasized that the onus of taking charge of one’s health has to rest on the individual. “We need to be more concerned for what we do to our health rather than what healthcare would do to us. We need to take ownership of our own bodies and mind and not outsource these to healthcare providers. People need to focus more on preventive care rather than just landing in sick care – this is going to the mantra of healthcare in future,” he said.

Dr Shetty expressed concern about the nursing profession in India, which he said would die down in a few years if urgent measures were not taken.

“There is zero career progression for nurses. Nursing is now considered a dead-end career. Admissions to nursery colleges in India have come down by 50 per cent. Half of the nursing colleges in Karnataka have shut shop. In the years ahead, there will be an acute shortage of nurses in the country,” he said.

Dr Shetty further said, “There is a critical need to empower nurses by offering them a path to upgrade their skills and become specialists. About 67 per cent of anaesthesia in the US is given by nurse anaesthetists. In India, we don’t allow a nurse who has worked in critical care for 20 years to even prescribe a Paracetamol tablet!”

Dr Shetty also highlighted the need to look for alternative ways of funding healthcare, such as by a surcharge on mobile phone bills, to bring down the cost of building hospitals, develop patient management software, and establish one or two health cities with 3,000 to 5,000 beds in each metro where cutting-edge work can be done.

Source: India medical times

Can Google Glass Transform Medical Education?

Google Glass looks exciting for the medical world, and presents a particularly powerful opportunity for medical education(for examples, see Forbes article here or here). A white paper by the Department of Emergency Medicine, Singapore General Hospital says, “simulation-based training has opened up a new educational application in medicine. It can develop health professionals’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes, whilst protecting patients from unnecessary risks”. Google Glass is taking simulation to the next level and making it more real, as the patients treated are real.

Yet the underlying concept of simulation-based-learning in medicine isn’t new. Neither are the individual components of Google Glass (such as the video recording feature and the possibility of sharing procedures online with any number of students). The biggest innovation might be having all this in one device. As Aristotle said, the whole is more than the sum of its parts.

Medical education is often a two stage process. In stage one, doctors in training need to study voluminous tomes and pass exams; stage one is the collection and storing of knowledge – perhaps too much knowledge. Richard Barker says in his book 2030, the future of medicine, that “as our bio-medical insights continue to fragment traditional diseases into multiple molecular disorders, keeping pace with advances gets tougher and tougher; … ‘head knowledge’ needs to be complemented by online decision support, distilling the wisdom and experience of the best specialist and putting it at the fingertips of the practitioner”. In other words, clinicians are starting to need real-time knowledge on tap.

Stage two focuses on learning through direct patient contact under the guidance of seniors, and Barker’s position suggests that stage two may never really end. Google Glass would support this stage of the curriculum, helping to simulate the practice of medicine, teach decision making, and then allow collaboration long after qualification. With a teacher demonstrating on patients (or that earlier revolution: a mannequin) with a headset camera, the learner is brought straight into the operating theater.

Google Glass is similar to a standard pair of glasses. It has an optical head-mounted display, sitting just above the right eye. Features include a built-in GPS, microphone and Bluetooth, and a camera which can record and live-stream videos to a Google hangout. Particularly useful is voice activation which would allow surgeons to, for example, do a web search for latest research or access EMRs or even real-time patient metrics without “breaking scrub” (compromising operating room sterility). As well as improving the provision of care, this ought to give students a more holistic understanding of each case.

Dr. Rafael J. Grossmann, Surgeon, mHealth Innovator and Google Glass Explorer was the first to perform a Google Glass-aided surgery, including remote teaching contexts and offering clinical advice remotely via Google hang-out. Orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Selene Parekh followed with a demo of foot and ankle surgery, and then plastic surgeon Dr. Anil Shah used the device while carrying out a rhinoplasty. Recently, Medical News Today wrote about a surgeon who live-streamed a procedure using Google Glass and a tablet device.

Grossman says that exposing students to the real life of a surgeon and their problems is critical for training and students should learn and mimic best practices early on. Furthermore, he adds that Google Glass education goes beyond the operating room, “Google Glass is a great start with practically limitless opportunities. “For example, how to connect with patients, how to teach bedside manner, how to prepare patients for surgery can all be best taught from real life examples. Google Glass records it and demonstrates best practice, from A to Z through the responsibilities of a practitioner,” he says.

Plus, of course, these Google Glass recorded procedures can be shared across the globe. Innovator Armando Iandolo, co-founder of Surgery Academy and his team have created an application for Google Glass that lets surgeons stream a heads-up view of procedures to students anywhere in the world. The big, bold innovation is to connect these streams in MOOCs (massive open online courses), says Iandolo. He and his co-founder are currently crowd-funding the idea on Indigogo. “Students will access an operating theatre online and watch a surgical intervention, live, for the procedure of their choice”, says Iandolo. “As we enter Universities, we want to become an integral part of the medical student’s study curriculum”.

MOOCs aren’t new either, but with the Surgery Academy everything seems to fall in place. By bringing the learner straight into theatre, simulation via Google Glass makes courses operate more like apprenticeships.

The patient would need to give their approval, but this is surely quite reassuring for the patient: which practitioner – and one good enough to teach – wants to screw up while being live-streamed to hundreds of students and fellow physicians?

The speed at which Google Glass eventually becomes a standard educational support tool is less certain, and we can learn from previous waves of innovation. In 2010, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine introduced a new mobile device program (medical students received laptops, iPhones and iPads). To assess its value, educators there how medical learners use mobile technologies. Their white paper concluded, “Students would adapt their use of mobile devices to the learning cultures and contexts they find themselves in.” Device value needs to be taught. It depends on how welcome new tech is perceived to be in classrooms, by students, teachers, and the wider ecosystem.

A typical fear is that, especially early in the curriculum (stage one above), medical students will miss out on basic knowledge. Search and find functions make it easier to zero in on an answer, but perhaps without the rich context and basic knowledge provided by reading cover to cover. Students – and teachers – could work just ‘for the test’.

Well, books have always had indices. It’s the process of search which has been accelerated, and there is no evidence that students would treat a digital medical textbook differently than its paperback version. In fact digital isn’t a replacement for the traditional textbook; it’s an opportunity to augment it. There is a generational shift in the learning styles of medical students, Mihir Gupta writes in a KevinMD article. Digital allows the stodgy textbook to be augmented with visual and multimedia, which will suit certain learning styles. “Innovative digital resources are vital for helping students retain knowledge and simplify difficult concepts”, says Gupta. These new resources are great for quick access to updated medical knowledge, but “it will not replace textbook learning, nor should it”.

Lucien Engelen, Director of the Radboud Reshape Center at Radboud University Medical Center, is currently working on various applications for Google Glass in medicine. He says that the only way to get Google Glass into education is “to make it part of education innovation”. He says, “Take some high profile doctors, professors and nurses and some patients and have them run some tests. All of a sudden the advantages (of Google Glass) seem to fall in place seamlessly”.

Frances Dare is Managing Director of Accenture Connected Health Services, which has partnered with Philips on a Google Glass proof of concept. She agrees with Engelen, cautioning that it is important to create an environment in which experimentation can take place and to understand the type of training needed to prepare clinicians to use Google Glass effectively and safely in practice.

But don’t bet against Google Glass. After all, educators have argued for decades over calculators in math class. Engelen says that he really doesn’t think of Google Glass as something special: it’s just another computer form-factor facing the same barriers of acceptance. It will take some time and discussion over privacy to achieve it, but the new wave is coming.

Source: HIT

Medical Council of India cuts seats in medical colleges

Medical colleges in the state are facing heat from the Medical Council of India regarding increase of PG medical seats.
Several medical colleges that had secured additional seats last year have failed to upgrade infrastructure facilities and appoint the required faculty in accordance with the seat hike.

The MCI, which has started inspections of the colleges to grant approvals for this year, is upset with the poor facilities in the colleges and the inspectors are recommending taking away the increased seats.

Recently, MCI recommended cutting down PG medical seats in Andhra Medical College, Vizag. Finding deficiencies with regard to infrastructure facilities and faculty in the college, the inspection team has recommended slashing five seats each in MD (Paediatrics) and Ms (ENT), which were increased last year. Similarly, other old medical colleges such as Osmania, Gandhi etc. too face the risk of losing seats that were increased last year. MCI teams have already inspected Osmania Medical College twice and are apparently dissatisfied with the inadequate infrastructure.

The MCI had given “conditional approval” for increase in intake last year after taking an undertaking from the state government that it would upgrade the facilities within a year. However, the state government failed to do so due to a delay in release of funds.
Meanwhile, the MCI is set to begin inspections to grant approvals for MBBS seats for this year and it is being feared that the deficiencies in infrastructure and faculty might affect the MBBS seats too as it has happened for PG.

Source: Deccan Chronicle

MCI mulls shortening of MBBS course duration by 1 year

The duration of the MBBS course could be shortened by one year with the Medical Council of India (MCI) thinking about introducing specialist skills for undergraduates earlier than what is the practice at present.

Official sources said that the MCI academic council is likely to meet next week to finalise the new curriculum and send it to the government for approval.

The MBBS course presently stretches for five-and-a-half years four-and-a-half years of academic studies and one year of internship.

Sources said that the curriculum is seen as devoting too much time to general medical studies and the various aspects of the human anatomy, which may not be of much use to students who opt for specialisation in later years.

The new curriculum, which they said would take away nothing while giving more freedom to students, envisages adequate skill training at the initial level while introducing students to clinical and analytical courses.

“The idea is to let students study in detail the subject of their choice and develop expertise in that topic instead of studying all subjects in detail. It will save a lot of time and sharpen their skills,” they said.

Experts believe that students should be allowed to carry on studying their subject of specialisation once they become conversant with the human anatomy.

They were also of the view that the present curriculum did not provide sufficient skills in the early years, which they said was crucial at a time of growing specialization and super -specialization.

Source: zee news

High cost of medical education fuelling refer-and-earn system

As is commonly known, the Hippocratic Oath (horkos) is one of the most widely known of Greek medical texts. It requires a new physician to swear upon a number of healing gods that he will uphold a number of professional ethical standards.

The most important ethical standard to uphold for all doctors, is our duty to treat and cure. This is why we have the faith, to invoke the healing gods in the first place!

Hence, when a patient comes to us with a medical problem, it is our duty to guide the patient to the doctor best positioned to cure or treat the patient. While we make this reference, there is no question of commercial gain.

In fact, it is extremely clear, that a doctor, who is ready to give you a commercial consideration to refer a patient to him, is quite certain that patients and doctors will not choose him of their own free will; he is not sure about his clinical superiority and professional competence.

A recent article in the Lancet, further to Dr H S Bawaskar’s admirable stance, clearly says, “The ‘cut’ practice works at various levels: A medical specialist gives a cut to a general practitioner (GP); a diagnostic laboratory offers it to medical consultants; and hospitals to GPs and consultants. In the past decade, corporatisation of healthcare has changed this practice a bit.

Hospitals and diagnostic chains offer cuts as cheque payment under the title of “professional fees”.”

I, and many of my senior colleagues, had never heard of cuts till the last 15 years or so. This is a criminalisation of medical practice. And it has gained such momentum, and become so rampant that the doctors and hospitals who do not offer ‘cuts’ are alienated and laughed at – it’s a reverse moral ostracization!

As I write this column, the Supreme Court has agreed to reconsider the scrapping of NEET, the common medical entrance exam.

The concern raised by the petitioners was that giving out the responsibility of the entrance exam to private medical colleges would promote the corrupt practice, which enabled undeserving students to get admissions by paying huge capitation fees or donations. This could be a valid concern – I am also worried that children will have to run from city to city taking multiple entrance exams conducted by private medical colleges…in the absence of one common exam.

Whatever the process, the best students will get into good medical colleges, pay reasonable fees, work hard to become good doctors and do not have any debt burden on their shoulders.

What happens when your marks are poor? The families that insist on making their children doctors by paying huge capitation fee will be unknowingly responsible for the future moral debacle of their wards. They mortgage or sell a lifetime’s hard-gained assets to make their children a doctor. Today, the cost of one PG seat goes up to Rs3-5 crore, I’m told, depending on the specialisation.

After 10-15 years of study and work, most doctors are well into their 30’s before they begin to earn.

They start with 3-5 crore capitation fee debt on their balance sheet, at 32. Add to this, the cost of a house, which could range upwards of 1 crore. Their peers in other professions, have started earning a full decade earlier! Cuts, therefore seem essential to build a quick profitable practice.

India has just one doctor per 2,000 people, according to the ministry of health and family welfare estimates.

By severely restricting the number of post graduate seats; when there’s a huge demand for doctors, we have created an artificial demand supply imbalance.

The most important step to reduce this nuisance of cut practice, is that medical education MUST be made less expensive. Public investment in new medical colleges and liberalising infrastructure norms for setting new medical colleges will help. A better pay package for teachers will enhance the quality of faculty, thereby incentivising them and ensuring limited private practice for teachers.

Second, post graduate medical education needs to be liberalised and the number of seats increased by allowing larger public and private hospitals to impart post graduate education. This will help decrease the frightful cost to the family to educate a doctor. We need to remove black money from the PG seat in the system at the point of imparting education.

This is critical. The foundation has to be solid for the tree to grow. Other aspects such as monitoring of advertising expenses, audit control etc are possible- but self-monitoring is the only sure solution to this. The easiest thing is to blame doctors. The way I see it, doctors are as much a victim as the rest of society.

All doctors would like to support Dr Bawaskar and his rightful enthusiasm, when he says, “I am going to fight corruption in medicine till the last rupee from my savings is exhausted.” But let’s also clean the education system so that our support makes a difference to society.

Source: DNA India

New MCI includes 17 tainted members

People for Better Treatment (PBT), a charitable organization working to establish a better healthcare delivery system in India, has written a memorandum to Health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad pointing out that at least 17 doctors out of the 68 new members nominated or elected to the new Medical Council of India (MCI) were part of the previous MCI which was dissolved in 2010 on ground of rampant corruption.

According to the letter written by PBT president Dr Kunal Saha, in the wake of the serious allegations of pervasive corruption during the era of Dr. Ketan Desai’s former chief of MCI, a new provision (Section 30-A.2g) was added by the legislators in the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance 2013 with an aim to prevent anybody from becoming a member of MCI which may destabilize broader interest of the general public. The newly added section states: The central government may remove from office the president, vice-president or any member of the Council who has been found guilty of proved misbehavior or his continuance in office would be detrimental in public interest.

The letter further stated that the presence of these 17 doctors in the next MCI “would undoubtedly undermine public trust on the healthcare regulatory system”. The letter pointed out that “these doctors were part of the previous MCI which was dissolved by your department in 2010 on the ground of wide-spread corruption after then MCI president, Dr. Ketan Desai, was arrested red-handed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for taking bribe from a private medical college”. It added that the criminal case against Dr. Desai and others is still continuing in the CBI court in Delhi and elsewhere while Dr. Desai is out on bail.

“These 17 doctors also include Dr. Rani Bhaskaran (nominated from Kerala) who actually proposed the name of Dr. Desai for MCI president in 2009 when her husband, Dr. PC Kesavankutty Nayar, was acting MCI president during Dr. Desai’s re-election in 2009 and a close ally of Dr. Desai, who paved the way for his return and “unopposed” election win to be MCI president on 1st March, 2009,” pointed out the letter.

“It is also pertinent to mention that Dr. Desai was removed from MCI earlier in 2001 at the direction of the Honourable Delhi High Court with scathing criticism that he had turned MCI into a “den of corruption”. “Ironically, Dr. Desai was never found innocent from the specific charges that Hon’ble Delhi High Court labeled against him although he managed to return to MCI in 2009,” it added.

“The sordid saga involving MCI and Dr. Desai over the past many years has greatly damaged public confidence on the medical regulatory system in India. There is little doubt that nomination/election of the 17 doctors, who previously helped Dr. Desai to regain control of the MCI, to become members for the next MCI would further erode public trust in the future of healthcare delivery system,” stated the letter.

The letter urged the health minister to take appropriate steps for immediate removal of the 17 doctor-members from MCI in accordance to Section 30-A.2g of Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance 2013 for greater public interest and for the ends of justice.
source: Times of India

GMC survey highlights the importance of listening to young doctors

Nearly one in five doctors in training has witnessed someone being bullied in their current post, and more than one in four has experienced undermining behaviour themselves, according to a major survey from the General Medical Council.

In its annual survey of 54,000 doctors in training in the UK the GMC, the independent regulator of the UK’s 250,000 doctors, asks their views on the quality of their training. It is one of the largest surveys of its kind anywhere in the world.

The findings also reveal that more than 2,000 doctors in training (5.2%) had raised a concern about patient safety in 2013 and 13.2 per cent said they had experienced bullying at work.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the General Medical Council, said:

‘These findings highlight the importance of listening to young doctors working on the front line of clinical care. They support what Robert Francis said – that doctors in training are invaluable eyes and ears for what is happening at the front line of patient care.

“They also suggest that more needs to be done to support these doctors and to build the positive supportive culture that is so essential to patient safety. The best care is always given by professional who are supported and encouraged.

“The survey provides us and employers with crucial information about the quality of the training environment, which is also where patients receive care and treatment. These doctors are in an ideal position to alert us to potential problems and employers will also want to reflect on these results.

“Patient safety remains our top priority and all doctors irrespective of their seniority should feel supported in improving the standards of care for their patients.”

Further analysis of the survey shows that:

• The number of comments on patient safety raised by doctors training in emergency medicine posts have increased since 2012 (from 204 to 287)

• 5,863 respondents had been concerned about patient safety but their concerns had been addressed

• Female trainees and trainees who obtained their primary medical qualification (PMQ) within the UK, are more likely to raise concerns

The findings suggest that hospitals need to engage with doctors in training and use their experiences to help change the culture of their organisations. The survey responses contain examples of good practice showing how organisations which had experienced problems managed them positively and effectively.

According to the GMC, the numbers of concerns raised come from qualitative not quantitative responses. The same issue may also have been raised several times, meaning these numbers will be higher than the actual incidence of the issues.

Source: India Medical times

Medical Schools in Nigeria to Begin Learning Through Simulation By 2015

Medical schools in Nigeria will begin the teaching and learning of medical sciences through simulation by 2015, Eugene Okpere, a visiting Professor at the National Universities Commission (NUC), has said.

Okpere disclosed this on Tuesday in Abuja at a stakeholders meeting to discuss the enhancement of medical education through the utilisation of new technologies.

The don, who said the simulation centres would be sited in some selected schools across the country, explained that the meeting was to sensitise stakeholders and to seek their opinion on the adoption of the new technology to medical education.

He said that the NUC would need to liaise with the provosts of medical schools, vice chancellors, chief medical directors and other stakeholders to get their opinion on the new technology.

“The NUC has recognised that it is time that all stakeholders, provosts of medical schools and vice chancellors are carried along on the new technology as well as their opinions on how it can be adopted.”

Okpere explained that the use of simulation in teaching medical education is the safest way to train medical students competently.

He said that the use of electronic human body would enable students to identify forms of disease components or clinical signs.

According to him, students who go through thorough training in simulation technology will have 35 per cent competency before their physical contact with live patients.

“More importantly, patients are now getting very smart and wise. They know their rights and not many patients will be happy to be used as materials for experiments.

“Basically, the whole idea, is to ensure that in the next two years, most medical schools in the country have simulation complexes or regional centres, where medical students can move around and spend time learning adequately,” he said.

Source: all africa

$3 Million for New Medical Education Center from Four Brothers

A $3 million gift to the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has established the Joseph and Loretta Law Auditorium in the Henry A. Jordan, M’62, Medical Education Center, slated to open in 2015. Drs. Dennis, Ronald, Christopher and Jeremy Law, who between them hold seven degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, have come together to honor their parents and their alma mater.

“It’s inspiring to see how strongly our alumni, far and wide, support our innovative education spaces that will support the training of future generations of doctors, scientists and health-care leaders,” said Dr. J. Larry Jameson, Executive Vice President of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System and Dean of the Perelman School of Medicine. “We are extremely pleased to have such support from a remarkable Penn family.”

The gift by the Law brothers is the second largest from an alumni family to support the Jordan Medical Education Center, currently under construction atop the Ruth and Raymond Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine. Also adjacent to the Smilow Center for Translational Medicine, the Jordan Center will be among the first in the United States to integrate learning spaces with active research and patient care facilities.

The Jordan Center will feature wired classrooms, an information commons, big screens and small learning spaces, all to support the collaborative and self-directed style of current medical education. Other new enhancements include integrating the space for 24-hour, 7-day-a-week availability and round-the-clock food options.

The Joseph and Loretta Law Auditorium, to be situated in the northern end of the Jordan Center and overlooking Civic Center Boulevard, will offer state-of-the-art technology, including recording and simulcast capabilities to support global conferences, telemedicine and creation of online courses. “This is beyond anyone’s imagination,” Dr. Jeremy Law said, after touring the Jordan Center construction site in September.

“Graduates of the Perelman School of Medicine are prepared to be not only exceptional physicians but also leaders. The Henry Jordan Center is designed to keep us at the forefront of medical education, and we are very proud to have the interest and generosity of the Law family support this one-of-a-kind facility,” said Senior Vice Dean Gail Morrison.

The Law brothers, all of whom are based in Colorado, have each staked their own territory within medicine. The eldest, Dennis, is a retired vascular and thoracic surgeon. Ronald is a cardiologist, Christopher is a plastic surgeon and Jeremy is an orthopedic surgeon.

“We are proud to participate in Penn’s forward-looking strategy in medical education,” said Dr. Christopher Law. The Law brothers contribute to various health, civic and cultural institutions and have supported the University of Pennsylvania in various impactful ways through efforts supporting student financial aid. “The time felt right for us to give back to our medical school, and at the same time honor our parents for their love and the sacrifices they made for us,” added Dr. Ronald Law.

In addition to practicing medicine, the Law brothers operate real estate investment and development companies as well as Four Brothers Entertainment, specializing in live-show productions in Chinese performing arts. “Since retiring from medicine I have found fulfillment in helping Chinese performing arts through programs and training to reach international standards of artistic excellence,” said Dr. Dennis Law. “In the same way, I’m pleased to support medical education at a place that means so much to me and my family.”

The Law brothers’ philanthropic streak was inspired by the principles instilled by their parents, Joseph and Loretta Law, who overcame political hardship. Mr. Law became a successful industrialist in southern China while Dennis and Ronald were medical students at Penn and Christopher and Jeremy were undergraduates at Penn and the University of Colorado, respectively.

When the Joseph and Loretta Law Auditorium and Henry A. Jordan M’62 Medical Education Center open in 2015, that will coincide with the 250th anniversary of the Perelman School of Medicine.

Source: University of Pennsylvania

Online medical education tool aspires to improve patient interactions in challenging situations

Drexel University College of Medicine has developed an online medical education program to help healthcare professionals hone those skills in simulated interactions with patients and their families.

Although the goal is to improve performance by physicians and other healthcare professionals, it is also designed to help hospitals boost patient satisfaction scores, which impact Medicare reimbursement. This is one trend in healthcare that startups are increasingly addressing.

Dr. Christof Daetwyler of Drexel University College of Medicine will use the $100,000 he received from the University City Science Center QED Proof of Concept award to fund a pilot program with a well-known hospital next year and build a company around the technology.

In an interview with MedCity News, Daetwyler said one of Drexel’s collaboration partners is the Gift of Life donor program in Philadelphia, which licensed the technology.

A prototype of the technology was developed in 2002 at the Technology in Medical Education group at Drexel. It was used as a video conferencing tool to help medical students prep for the Objective Structured Clinical Examinations through simulated patient interactions.

Since then, technology advancements have made it easier to bring the platform online. User interactions with simulated patients are recorded online. Users get structured feedback on performance. They can also access videos that offer examples of best practice. In addition to organ donation and breaking bad news, it also includes modules on how to broach other difficult situations such as smoking cessation.

A separate joint venture between the College of Medicine and the American Academy on Communication in Healthcare, Doc.Com, produced 41 modules to improve communication skills.

The company’s approach also helps address the physician shortage, which is projected to worsen as Obamacare extends healthcare access to millions of people.

Several other health IT companies are taking different approaches to medical training using simulators. Shadow Health and Kognito Interactive have focused on developing patient simulator tools to improve patient and physician communication. SimplySim developed a way to train physicians to properly use a stethoscope and CaseNetwork developed a training tool to reduce readmissions. The idea is to provide more meaningful interactions to improve adherence and so that healthcare professionals better understand their patients’ needs.
Source : Med City News