One of the leading causes of death in India is fatality due to a road accident or lack of emergency services. But, there aren’t enough emergency medicine physicians for the population size and density that India has. Therefore, having better qualified, trained physicians who can impact the condition of the patient positively during the golden hour is crucial. There is a need for increasing the number of physicians who are well equipped to provide quality emergency care.
Further, a big part of the healthcare community has limited access to simulation facility, tools and capabilities.
This week, we interviewed Mr Gerald Jaideep, CEO of Medvarsity Online Ltd.— first and largest online medical certification and training company in India.
Read on as Gerald discusses the challenges in the Indian medical system, how Medvarsity addresses them, contributions of the company towards improving the Indian healthcare industry, and more.
1. Please take us quickly through the journey of Medvarsity from its inception till today.
Medvarsity was incorporated in the year 2000 through the vision of Dr Pratap Reddy to impact healthcare by leveraging education in the country. The industry has long recognized the dearth of qualified professionals in the healthcare ecosystem, not only clinicians but also across all segments of healthcare service delivery.
Medvarsity, therefore, was created with the intent of supplementing and complementing the formal medical education stream to provide opportunities for doctors and other healthcare professionals to upskill themselves using technology tools and blended learning methodologies.
Over the last 19 years, Medvarsity has evolved into being one of the leading technology-led education entities in the country. With an extensive partnership across the healthcare ecosystem, along with clinical practices which include hospitals and smaller clinics, content and technology partners, it hopes to bring absolutely the best of medical learning to its students.
A cost-effective solution that every doctor, nurse, healthcare practitioner out there can invest in, to upskill themselves in their given area of specialization, at a cost that was impractical a few years earlier.
2. What are the gaps in the Indian medical education system that Medvarsity is trying to fill? What challenges do you face in the process?
The gaps in the Indian medical ecosystem are not specifically what we perceive them to be, but what has been acknowledged by some of the leaders in the healthcare ecosystem itself. Across the country, we have 460 medical colleges in existence, 65000 students graduating across different aspects of medicine and 25000 post-graduate students graduating every year.
In reality, in a large number of these institutions, the quality of training provided, access to patients, access to leading cutting-edge technology tools and methodologies are missing. Hence, this is a gap that needs to be addressed in healthcare education, and that’s the area where Medvarsity has been working over the last few years.
Additionally, a recent notification by the Medical Council of India talks about the need for simulation-based training to be a mandatory part of Medical Education. Across the country, a big part of the healthcare community has limited access to simulation facility, tools and capabilities, which is where Medvarsity intends to enter and make a change. Similarly, the adoption of technology and mobile phones, is a contributor to impacting healthcare through education.
3. Medvarsity provides courses for Nurses, Dentists, Physiotherapists, Dietitians, Medical Technicians and Managers as well. Are they all clinical or do you have non-clinical courses as well?
A significant part of Medvarsity’s curriculum is aligned to the clinical aspect of medicine, which is designed and developed for doctors by doctors, for improving the quality of healthcare being provided to a patient. About 15-20% of our curriculum focuses on non-clinical functions within the healthcare setting, which includes quality information systems, management, sales, marketing, technology and various other aspects of healthcare service delivery which are non-clinical in nature.
4. Mortality rate can decrease with better emergency services and better training to existing emergency medicine physicians. Please comment.
In India, one of the leading causes of death is fatality due to a road accident or lack of emergency services. In 2014, the first batch of emergency medicine physicians graduated from an MCI approved emergency medicine programme, which is a 2-year MD program.
Medvarsity has been training physicians in emergency medicine since 2009, hence, a significant number of emergency medicine physicians across the country today are Medvarsity graduates. However, it is still not adequate for the population size and density that India has, and therefore having better qualified, trained physicians who can impact the condition of the patient positively during the golden hour is crucial.
During those first 90 minutes when the patients reach the emergency services is where we hope to contribute. If we can increase the number of physicians who are well equipped to provide quality emergency care, we can, in turn, reduce the mortality rate across the country.
5. What sets you apart from your competitors?
We don’t really have any direct competitors.
6. How are you contributing towards improving the Indian healthcare industry?
Medvarsity has over 45000 graduates across 140+ courses. Each of our graduates is saving lives and helping improve the quality of caregiving every single day. If one combines the number of days in a year of this continuous contribution to society, Medvarsity as a contributor has made a substantial impact on the ecosystem.
We have been expanding beyond the borders of India. 5% of our existing students come from Southeast Asia, The Middle East and Africa. Furthermore, we are aggressively moving into other regions including North America, Canada, Australia, Europe and New Zealand, with the intent of providing the same high-level courses and quality of content to a much wider audience. Our focus over the coming year is to reach 20% of the student base from International locations.
7. You have partnered with ATI Nursing Education (USA) to offer exclusive nursing courses. What does this partnership entail?
ATI is one of the leading certification education companies in North America impacting nursing education through their NCLEX program. Every single nurse who needs to join a formal nursing education program does an NCLEX assessment before being qualified as a practising nurse. Today, 80% of all nurses in North America have gone through the ATI curriculum before they sit for their NCLEX examination.
When Medvarsity looked at impacting the Indian nursing ecosystem, we truly wanted to offer the best of content and methodology that’s available around the world, and present it to the Indian nursing ecosystem, and that is why we partnered with ATI. We have licensed two of their courses, Nursing Skills and Nursing Pharmacology. These are also being offered to the enterprise customers in India. We are working at integrating it as a part of the curriculum for nurses in colleges, and as a part of the induction programme for large corporate hospitals when they bring new sets of nurses.
8. Apollo hospital has recently launched the Apollo clinical knowledge network (ACKN) on Medvarsity’s assimilate platform. Please shed some light on the development.
Most hospitals have this format of daily rounds, where the department head or the leading physicians in the given hospital, share the unique cases, case histories, treatment plans, diagnosis and management of the condition for a particular case; to share these learnings with the larger audience in the hospital.
For instance, in the Apollo network, the format used to be that the leading clinicians or departmental heads would get together in the auditorium every Monday morning at 8:00 a.m. to share their insights from their departments with the rest of the clinicians in the hospital.
Across the network of 60+ Apollo hospitals, it may happen that a certain location would have unique and interesting cases that are not getting properly propagated to all the locations. Hence, by leveraging Medvarsity’s assimilate platform and building this unique property called Apollo clinical knowledge network, Apollo is able to deliver the learnings from the daily rounds, across the whole network.
Today over 3800 clinicians across the Apollo ecosystem join in every Monday morning, over a 90-minute period, and one of the location shares all the unique cases that they experienced, treated, managed, along with the learning from the outcomes of those cases and the pitfalls. Through this, a larger group is able to learn and take that learning into their clinical environment.
9. IT is revolutionizing the medical sector, be it simulation, digital twins, digital training tools, etc. How is Medvarsity leveraging new technologies?
Medvarsity’s focus has been to stay relevant, rather than chasing the latest technology fad since we are dealing with the mass of the learning ecosystem and not the niche. We have to, therefore, innovate in a user-friendly manner so that our learners can adapt to this new-age learning methodology with ease. Our primary challenge is to get an average student to use our mobile solution for the required time period while they’re engaged with us.
The world is talking about, Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), cutting edge learning methodology, which sounds great in labs and universities, but when you want to impact 2.5 to 3 lakh physicians every year, out of which 7,000 are choosing your platform, the more acceptable the technology platform is, the more widely available it is, the more successful you are going be in impacting education.
Our goal is not to chase the latest in technology but to adopt mass-accepted technology, and then use that to deliver the most effective way of learning.
Suggested reading: “Connected devices, cloud platforms to play a big role in transforming healthcare facilities in 2019”: Sudhanshu Goyal, Founder, Health Gennie
10. Being India’s first Medical e-learning venture. What trends do you foresee in the online learning space in the years ahead?
At this point of time, we are hoping and expecting other players to step into the market. We have been leading the online medical education industry for quite some time now and the downside of being the leader is that quite often you do not know what your blind spots are.
Our hope is that through our growth, we will eventually give birth to competition and that competition will come in and identify blind spots that we don’t know we had. This shift will force us to innovate, it will expand the market and the overall impact that we are creating in this market.
One of our strongest insights in impacting healthcare through education is that knowledge changes lives. The more we are able to educate, inform, upskill, train and improve the quality of healthcare that is being provided to an average person in India, and in the region, we will be able to impact the quality of healthcare that each one of us will benefit from individually.