LEARNING FOR GROWTH
The Centre and Tata Memorial Hospital set up an online tutorial that educates doctors in rural areas and Tier 2 cities about early cancer detection
The programme is divided into Basic Oncology, which has 12 modules that must be completed in 10 to 12 weeks, and Advanced Oncology, with 40 modules to be completed within four months.
We have all seen the boards before doctors’ rooms. The ones decorated with degrees and fellowships and valuable experiences. But is learning confined to brick-and-mortar classes? Keeping up with the need for continuous learning, Mumbai’s Tata Memorial Hospital has joined hands with the Centre to provide doctors an online tutorial about the importance of early detection of cancer.
A unique first, the seven-week online tutorial seeks to educate doctors about the early detection and diagnosis of cancer. The tutorial is aimed at benefiting those doctors who may not be familiar with the symptoms of cancer, by throwing light on the detection, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease. Cancer is one of the rising causes of mortality in the country, the tutorial is an attempt to help reach doctors working in rural areas and Tier 2 cities, who may not be able to attend physical conferences or Continuing Medical Education (CME) courses.
“BY ALERTING HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS AT ALL LEVELS ABOUT EARLY DETECTION AND DIAGNOSIS OF CANCER, WE ARE CREATING A BETTER AWARE AND BETTER INFORMED POPULATION.”Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi
Head & Neck Surgeon,
Tata Memorial Hospital
This brilliant initiative, under the aegis of the Health Ministry and Tata Memorial Centre, is part of the Digital India programme; it was launched by Preeti Sudan, Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in Delhi, on January 4. Commenting on this one-of-a-kind initiative, Dr Rajendra Badwe, Director at TMC, said, “The primary goal of this digitized education module is to provide uniform, evidence-based medicine in oncology across the spectrum, be it to students or physicians in rural or metro areas, and to ensure that everyone gets access to uniform cancer care at their doorstep.”
Partnering with the digital platform for CME, Omnicuris, Tata Memorial Hospital conducts the course that helps physicians, dentists, gynecologists and other healthcare professionals who are not oncologists become familiar with the earliest signs of cancer so as to allow patients receive treatment at the right time. It also seeks to update oncologists with evidence-based guidelines and skills for the management of cancer. All the trainers under the programme are oncologists from the Tata Memorial Hospital, who are experts in their respective areas of specialization. While doctors are introduced to the theoretical background through video lectures, hands-on training sessions are provided at the hospital.
The online course involves 14 hours of comprehensive e-learning, which includes more than 40 video lectures, case studies, assessment questionnaires, and periodic interactive webinar sessions with oncology consultants at the Tata Memorial Hospital. The programme is divided into Basic Oncology, which has 12 modules that must be completed in 10 to 12 weeks, and Advanced Oncology, with 40 modules to be completed within four months. Each section is followed by a short assessment, and the course ends with a comprehensive assessment with enhanced reporting for individuals. Doctors who successfully complete the assessment will receive Certificates of Learning from the State Medical Council. Once registered for the programme, deadlines set by the government will have to be adhered to. The programme is open to doctors who are not employed in government service as well. In its first phase, the online course will be rolled out to all in-service doctors in Maharashtra, in collaboration with the state’s Department of Health and Family Welfare, and will soon be extended to all parts of the country. Discussions are underway to introduce the tutorial in seven other states soon.
Dr. Pankaj Chaturvedi, who is the first Indian doctor to have received the Judy Wilkenfeld Award for International Tobacco Control Excellence, is the project coordinator of the tutorial. A professor of head and neck surgery at the Tata Memorial Hospital, Dr. Chaturvedi opined that early diagnoses are likely to increase survival rates and decrease the cost of treatment. “By alerting healthcare providers at all levels about early detection and diagnosis of cancer, we are creating a better aware and better-informed population,” he added. Maharashtra plans to conduct similar courses on non-communicable diseases including diabetes and cardiovascular illnesses. Other medical associations are also managing similar digital initiatives, like the one on mental health being conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru. By equipping doctors in every far-flung corner of the country with the latest developments in cancer care, the government is not just making them more knowledgeable and efficient. Thoughtful initiatives like these are paving the way for a healthier, more hopeful future