Thursday 2 November 2017

Conferencing Or Masquerading ?

From the Desk of Sagar Galwankar, MBBS, DNB, FACEE (INDIA), MPH, Diplomat. ABEM (USA), FRCP (UK)
I have been watching the changing healthcare scenario across the world. The way things are done, the physicians behavior the practice models, the business pathways are all in dynamic change. India is not immune to this change and in fact an important part of it.

I want to focus on an important issue in this change. That is the rise of Conferences, Meetings and Workshops across India.

An Academic meeting is an event where interested come to learn, experts come to discuss ideas, Chalk roadmaps and conceive innovations. The meeting holds a value which is applicable to all who are a part of the event.

I googled Medical Conferences in India and was aghast to see the number of Conferences.

What I observe is the sudden surge in number of conferences across India. I see very little content and a lot of hype. I always write after I have spoken to a satisfactory number of stakeholders.

I have come to realize that be it any specialty, the number of conferences and societies has gone up significantly. What has not gone up is innovation and systems development to better the healthcare.

I have realized that may physicians have this misconstrued idea that Conference is an Easy way to fame and it is a Marketing tool.

The mushrooming corporate hospitals feel that Conference is the easiest way to connect with physicians and media so that there can be a Hype under the name of CME.

Young Physicians feel that by being speaker at the Conference they are authorities.

If you research closely, it is like a Mafia where only a couple of people roam around taking pictures, and cross invite each other to their own little kitchen cabinet events.

Every Young Physician wants to become a “BOSS” as soon as possible. Gather a few people and establish a Society/Association. Then go to the Pharma and arm twist funds and then start doing series of Conferences.

With the rising number of Non Accredited Certificate Holding Medical Doctors in the Indian Health Sector and growing demand to aspire to show their For Profit Hospital Employers that they are Important, CONFERENCE is an easy gateway.

Another gig which I have noticed is the Business of Awards. This is like the new mantra for self-recognition.

Awards are created after a lot of thought and have greater implications. I nowadays see 35 year old Physicians getting titles like Knighthood and Life Time Achievement Awards. If one is a keen observer this is very comical and amusing.

Twitter Handle/ Facebook/Instagram is now the new fame pathway. It is very easy to track the photo-fame phenomenon which is gripping the aspiring leaders.

In all this one thing lags behind and that is innovation to better patient care. The same lectures cut and paste from textbooks, teaching of wrong data which have no scientific bearing or backing is what starts the process of wrong practices.

Speakers are created after years of experience and mentoring. They speak on topics with in depth knowledge with a commitment to teach right things and chart right pathways. Conferences engage such speakers and that’s what makes the Conference a valuable one. That is why across the world conferences have a value.

India is the largest economy of the world. We can be a huge part of the science of evolving medicine. Commitment to evolution of innovation is the gateway to better patient care.

It is with this mission that INDUSEM was founded in 2005. Today 11 years later it stands as the only innovative non association, non-colonial, nonpolitical academic model which focusses on patient centered research, education and care.

This new phenomenon which is infecting young upcoming physicians who are getting leadership positions in the mushrooming private hospital industry in India, where they think that Conference is what imprints them as an expert and the self-patting award system is what recognizes them as RENOWNED EXPERTS is a damaging happening in Developing India.

When I was a Post graduate student, attending a national conference CME was like the epitome of updating knowledge.

Today the above gateway is lost, thanks to the large number of conferences and the mafia where few have made it their business to loot the pharma systematically and mislead young students and residents.

I always state…”Innovators are found in PubMed and rest all are in the Pubs”. The real identity of an expert can be checked in PubMed which displays the dedication of an innovator in medicine.

Identity Crisis is a bad disease….. Fame will come when it has to come. When all is said and done, content is what is important, Solution is not Conferences and Solicited Award circuiting.

This can be regulated by one’s own conscience and self-realization…… until then the self-misled will lead and those who can be misled will be misled…..

As the patient awaits quality care………….