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The future of Clinical Knowledge in India

The Future of Clinical Knowledge in India

January 29, 2022 | 5 min read

By Ian Chuang, MD

Having the right clinical knowledge at the right time is paramount in supporting the healthcare workforce to provide the right care to patients

The COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated and heightened the already challenging and dynamic nature of the medical practice globally. Specialists and non-specialists alike had to figure out how to successfully assess, diagnose, and treat COVID-19 patients while keeping up with fast changing and evolving data.

Clinicians in India have also reported suffering from burn-out, particularly frontline workers responsible for the care of COVID-19 patients. Factors that contributed to the increased levels of stress for healthcare workers in this period include a surge in the volume of patients and difficulty to keep up with latest developments due to the uncertainties of the COVID disease. When burnout among clinicians is not immediately addressed and physical and emotional stress accumulate beyond sustainable limits, it can impact the quality of care delivered.

A tailored process to bring the wealth of clinical knowledge to the clinicians at the point of care is needed to ensure clinicians have confidence to provide care. This also supports medical professionals’ clinical decision-making, and at the same time, not add to burnout.

The need for evidence-based information

Before the pandemic, healthcare institutions traditionally relied on hard copy medical journals and books. Such resources can be insufficient to support the clinicians in the current pandemic healthcare landscape when it is critical to keep abreast with the latest developments. As clinical knowledge about COVID-19 is so dynamic and comes from different sources of varying degrees of credibility, healthcare institutions can support by providing access to comprehensive content covering a range of medical specialties through evidence-based technological solutions, which clinicians are able to access from anywhere within the institution, any time of the day.

Armed with timely, accurate, evidence-based COVID-19-related information, doctors are better equipped to provide the latest treatment. In India, the second wave of the pandemic exacerbated the challenges of providing proper healthcare in the rural regions.

Having the right clinical knowledge at the right time is paramount in supporting the healthcare workforce to provide the right care to patients, particularly those residing in rural areas. Continuous education and being armed with latest medical insights will allow help clinicians to make informed decisions at the point-of-care. Most importantly, digital access to clinical knowledge will be able to bridge the accessibility gap from clinicians in rural areas to academic resources.

Enhancing clinical decision-making by being informed

As India ramps up the supply of medical professionals in anticipation of future pandemics and the COVID-19 endemic, healthcare institutions should continue to elicit feedback from clinicians. It is important to gather information on how to help improve access to knowledge, optimize the use of evidence-based knowledge at the point-of care, and identify their local needs and requirements.

On the medical training and education front, healthcare institutions should continue to adopt a hybrid model of structured and prescriptive learning, with data and information, to prepare professionals towards responsive, knowledge-driven care. The need for clinical knowledge never stops. With the discovery of knowledge outpacing the ability to learn and retain, clinicians in India must constantly refresh their existing core knowledge, refine, and expand this foundation with the latest discoveries and information. The goal is to eventually translate knowledge into executable actions that will aid assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of patients. At the same time, clinicians also need to be equipped with the technological know-how to access the latest medical knowledge and the skills to apply in their clinical practice and patient care.

Making evidence-based information more accessible with technology

In many ways, technology is undeniably an enabler in the provision of information and can do so for clinical knowledge to healthcare professionals in India. Recent statistics revealed that digital adoption has been accelerated by rural India, clocking a 13 percent growth to 299 million users. In addition, mobile subscription penetration in India is set to cross the 100th percent mark(opens in new tab/window) in 2023 from 88.3 percent in 2020.

With the rising consumption of information via mobile devices, clinicians need to keep abreast of the latest content and guidelines — aligning with local practice. Evidence-based solutions need to have features that help clinicians refresh and hone their skills, as well as transfer techniques to other clinicians seamlessly.  Interactive discovery tools at the point of care should tap long-standing trusted clinical knowledge sources to help support clinicians in providing the latest evidence-based care at the hospital bedside, in the clinic, via telemedicine, and even rural areas where traditional medical resources are not readily available.

Such technology can not only reduce barriers to access but also provide the necessary clinical knowledge to more practitioners — enabling quick answers at the point of care. The goal is to support medical professionals in their decision-making and help them provide the best possible care to their patients.

Preparing for the future ahead

Experts from all over the world are predicting that COVID-19 will be an endemic, which means that COVID-19 will continue to exist; but we also need to prepare, anticipate, and mitigate future pandemics and other future healthcare challenges.

In India, time is of the essence for the healthcare professionals. Trusted, timely, accurate knowledge will enable them to save precious time and energy, which would then be reinvested into direct patient care with optimal outcomes. In addition, it would help to enhance quality of care. Leveraging evidence-based solutions will be critical to meet the needs and challenges of clinicians at the point-of-care.

You don’t know what you don’t know, but you will know when you need to know what you don’t know. Such is the value of a mobile, digital, clinical knowledge-based search tool, available around the clock – anytime, anywhere.