Online solution to conflicting medical opinions in the offing

NEW DELHI: Confused over differing medical opinions?
Now, some renowned names in medical science from across the globe will be a click away to help one decide the best course of action.
The initiative, known as MediCounsel, has a network of 600 doctors across 40 super specialities including Harvard Medical Institute, Henry Ford Health System, AIIMS, SGPGI, Apollo, Fortis, Medanta, Columbia University, Cleveland Clinic, Cornell and JIPMER.
Brainchild of former Dean of Sanjay Gandhi Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences Dr Mahendra Bhandari, who is now working with Henry Ford hospital in Michigan in the US as a leading urosurgeon, some of the best minds of medical science have been roped in as panelists to give advice to patients.
“Patients find it difficult to get clear answers to their medical questions that emerge during the course of treatment for their situations or disease.
“Face-to-face consultations with busy specialists are usually so brief, they often walk out of the clinic with several unanswered questions. This leaves the families and the patient feeling helpless, confused, vulnerable, anxious and somewhat depressed,” Bhandari told PTI.
These super-specialists will be available to patients globally through the web portal www.medicounsel.com, where they can submit their medical condition details and queries.
These details would be examined by a medical professional who would act like a nodal person for the patient.
After getting reports filed through the website, the nodal person, known as ‘patient advocate’, would interact with the patient either by phone or video conferencing with questions and prepare a detailed technical note on the medical condition along with queries of the patient.
The patient advocate will pick up a panel of best super-specialists from across the globe to whom the technical note will be forwarded for their opinion.
A group of researchers will go through latest research papers and journals of medical literature for material related to the medical condition given by the patient.
Once the views of experts are received and research papers examined, an exhaustive report would be prepared in layman’s language, giving options to the patient, pros and cons of each option and latest findings of medical science.
All these procedures will take nearly a week or less and the report would be communicated to the patient, leaving the decision to him or her to make an informed choice.
There will be no fee for registering or sending reports and queries, but once the report is prepared, a nominal fee would be charged to keep the initiative sustainable.
“We work to answer their questions, thanks to our global panel of medical experts. They consider the questions, research solutions and then deliver clear, unbiased opinion in a language that the average patient can understand,” Bhandari said.
“As a policy, we will never entertain any financial relationship with any hospital, diagnostic service providers or any other entity. This is why patients can always rest assured that none of our recommendations will ever have any bias or reflect self-interest. We will not charge a fee until your case is completed,” the Padma Shri recipient said.
He said no recommendations are given but during the testing of the web portal, many patients wanted to know which doctor or the hospital they should consult.
“We do not advocate for a doctor or a hospital. Instead, we are now giving them parameters or facilities which should be available with a hospital where they can have treatment. We also give a list of hospitals across the country and globally where these facilities are available. Patients can make their choice,” he said.
—PTI

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