Provider Quality Gap: My New Focus

            It is easy to assume that an individual who has graduated from any medical training program would be able to appropriately investigate, diagnose, and treat common medical problems.   Throughout my time in the global health bootcamp, it became apparent that this isn’t necessarily true.  Upon reading Jishnu Das’ article, “In Urban and Rural India, A Standardized Patient Study Showed Low Levels of Provider Training and Huge Quality Gaps,” I learned that addressing provider training may also be an avenue within global health equity.  Prior to the bootcamp, my focus had been on learning how to provide health equity by setting up sustainable clinics in low-resource areas.  It did not occur to me that I could also provide health equity by ensuring appropriate provider training.  Das’ article highlighted the frequency of inappropriate diagnosis and distribution of medications to standardized patients in 2 cities within India.  The percentage of inappropriate diagnosis for a common medical problem was astounding for those both with and without medical qualifications.  It is important to note that within India, there is no continuing medical education for medical providers.  Clearly there is a need for medical knowledge reinforcement in India. 

After reading this article, I have become much more interested in helping to facilitate improved provider training.  Whether it is holding teaching sessions or helping to develop a CME program, there is a provider quality gap that I would like to help close.  I am curious as to how far the provider quality gap spreads, and how it came to be.  Were these providers not trained well?  Due to lack of CME, were diagnostic criteria forgotten? Do other countries also have similar issues in provider quality? I would like to further explore the point where their training or practice failed to make them quality providers and then try and address those weaknesses.  Regardless of how much supplies or space one has, health equity is impossible to achieve if the providers are not appropriately practicing medicine.  Since learning about this provider quality gap, I can definitely see my future career in GHE involving addressing provider quality along with working within a community to address their needs.

Posted in BMC

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