Street play as a medium to create awareness about corrupt medical practices
To create awareness about an unethical practice adopted in Indian diagnostic industry, LabsAdvisor (www.labsadvisor.com), a platform for medical tests, has partnered with leading theatre group as part of its CSR outreach program.
The objective of the street plays is to sensitize people about the corrupt medical practices prevalent in the Indian diagnostic industry. The street play group organized the awareness campaign through gripping narratives on stage. The play was witnessed with strong and live audience.
A patient’s expenditure on diagnostic tests is a significant part of the overall healthcare spend. In the healthcare sector, the most overlooked unethical practice is the referral system where a patient is referred to a particular lab by the physician. The physician gets a cut from the lab which leads to not only higher costs for the patients but perhaps unnecessary testing in many cases.
This menace, which came to light, is known to people. But people have not questioned these practices as doctors in India are considered demi-Gods, whose word about patients’ treatment is final. When a doctor prescribes a diagnostic test, the patient diligently follows the orders and goes to the particular center where the doctor has asked him or her to go. If a patient goes to carry out a test at another diagnostic center, the results are not considered valid and the patient is asked to repeat the test at a specific diagnostic center, from where a physician gets a share of the profit. This is purely business as doctors who have asked to go to a particular diagnostic center get a share of the profit. Diagnostic centers charge exorbitant fees in order to provide a share of profit (in crude language “Commission”) to the doctor who has referred.
Doctor commission system is banned by the Medical Council of India as there is a clear cut conflict of interest. We need people to treat doctors as any other service provider and demand the right service and question their unethical practices.
Read this post on medical test prices in Delhi to see the difference between the market prices (that perhaps include doctor commission vs. the “real” prices of some sample tests.
What do you think should be done to stop doctor commission system? How can we make doctors more accountable? Looking forward to your comments.