How technology is changing the face of medical education

Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, learning methods in the country’s medical colleges and other similar institutions have changed significantly.

New-age technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have taken diagnosis, treatment, postoperative care, remote patient care and palliative care to a whole new level.

Ashutosh Niranjan, Dean of the Noida International Institute of Medical Sciences (NIIMS), said, “Traditional learning methods will remain in place for the time to come, but in the new age of technology, virtual reality, AI and ML include new ways of learning.”

New methods are implemented to teach and train future doctors. For example, AI will improve physicians’ ability to store digital data and make diagnoses and forecasts.

Experts believe that there are other new trends in teaching and assessment methods such as computer-assisted instruction, virtual patients, augmented reality, human patient simulation and virtual reality to assess student competence.

Medlearn CEO Deepak Sharma said the pandemic has proved to be a game changer for India’s healthcare system. In the last century, it took 50 years for new health information and knowledge to fully spread, but in 2020 it took just 73 days for new knowledge to spread, Sharma said.

In the past, the actual transfer of research-based knowledge into practical training was very slow. This was because new findings in diagnosis and treatment had to go through strict testing and approval rules before the knowledge could be widely implemented, and only when everything was in place was it put into practice, he said.

But now everything is changing because of the pandemic. Many such opportunities have also come to the fore in healthcare, where professionals are given new skills and training without putting patients at risk.

Experiments are now also not carried out on patients. All of this has only become possible through digitization. India has recognized health professions and 53 related categories. Apart from that, India has also given a new shape to the needs of education and training. There are many similar categories such as mental health counselors and therapists etc.

In addition, new professions such as health IT specialists or molecular geneticists were recognized by the state. There is also increasing demand for telemedicine and home health care, with fees also being kept low. The fees for the Royal College of Nursing, UK Comprehensive Continuing Education Course for Nursing are only Rs 3,000 per year and cover 60 major subjects.

The Emergency Nursing Association, USA specialized courses fees range from Rs 2,500 to Rs 4,000 per year. Health professionals can also improve their soft skills for Rs 500 to Rs 4,000. Digitalization has made it possible to attend American Heart Association courses that use state-of-the-art simulation equipment for basic life support and advanced cardiovascular life support. The courses also offer internationally recognized certificates with fees ranging from Rs 3,000 to Rs 11,000.