We all know the traditional way to become a doctor: complete pre-medical courses, attend medical school for four years, do a year of internship, three to four years of residency, and undergo specialized training. This represents approximately 12 years of travelling, studying, taking exams and training. Such a huge expense!
But with the advent of the internet and mentorship software via Skype and YouTube, universities can create a hybrid program for those living in rural areas.
With this hybrid system that I am proposing, the cost will be more than halved as graduates become better doctors. Because from the third year of secondary school, students will have the possibility of choosing a doctor-mentor practitioner in the nearest provincial or tertiary hospital with a residency program.
These selected high school students will follow the chosen doctors on their rounds to the hospital or their clinic every Saturday for at least two hours. Physician mentors would teach students how to make a diagnosis using the traditional tools of history taking, physical examination, ordering lab and imaging tests, and follow-up.
As soon as students get home or shortly after dinner, they should go to YouTube or Google videos and study the patient they saw that day. These online videos are pre-approved by the dean of the college. Students should watch videos or read disease pathology, clinical presentation, physical examination, differential diagnosis, request blood tests, CT, MRI and treatment.
Students should write down the patients they see with the mentor and group them by infections, cancers, metabolic diseases, nutritional and psychological needs, injuries, etc.
Students study medicine starting in the third year of high school, complete four years of online pre-medical courses and two years of online medical school. They will then enroll in a traditional medical school for a two-year clinical experience and then complete their residency training. Those wishing to become specialists can take additional training for two to four years.
Colleges and universities should develop an online curriculum for hybrid students, who should take the same exams as traditional medical students. Required exams can be taken online via Skype.
Without the need to travel, hybrid medical education becomes less stressful for students as they would have more time to study at home. They would also learn faster through hands-on training.
With hundreds of YouTube and Google videos on how to take a clinical history, do a physical exam, order lab tests, and do a differential diagnosis, we can produce more rural doctors at dramatically reduced costs. , and perhaps have happier and better doctors than the traditional graduates.
Former Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics
Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston
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