Skill development and knowledge enhancement in healthcare sector calls for addressing the learning needs of a wide range of professionals. Apollo Hospitals’ initiatives in this sector are models that can be emulated whether it is to ensure gainful employment for the paramedics through basis skilling or reskilling and upskilling of doctors and nurses. In this Skill Story, Ashish Pati, CEO, Apollo Medskills and Medvarsity, takes us through the challenges of meeting the skilling targets with quality training and technology-enabled learning and practice. Some excerpts from our conversation:
Our main objective is equip the workforce with latest knowledge and skills to enhance healthcare delivery systems across India and globally. Healthcare industry is uniquely positioned because it is centered around the life of human beings and involves life-critical skills. For example, doctors who graduated in 1990s, will not be relevant today if they don’t keep themselves updated with recent developments in clinical science and technology advancements. At the same time, the industry is in dire need of trained healthcare paramedics, nurses and support staff. Hence, the need to skill, reskill and upskill becomes a priority.
As per the latest NSDC skill gap report, India needs to add 1,000,000 hospital beds in the next 10 years. This translates into the need for 7 to 8 million healthcare paramedics, nurses and support staff.
Medskills enhances healthcare services with basic skills and knowledge upgradation
MedSkills was started in 2012 in partnership with NSDC. We are present in 18 centers across India, in 8 states, from Meghalaya to Kerala. We are associated with all the government departments and agencies that are into skill development. We have a mandate to train 44000 students this year and we have reached 29000. Next year, this may go up to 100,000 and we are increasing our capacity to meet this number. We offer several courses for skilling the paramedics and for nurses, we have specialized courses on upskilling such as cardiac care or ICU nursing and other niche areas.
Medvarsity blends the healthcare sciences and latest e-learning technologies with a human touch
Medvarsity caters to the learning needs of the doctors. India produces 42000 new doctors every year. And India has around 800,000 doctors who need to upskill and reskill themselves continuously to remain relevant in their profession. Our courses are offered using latest e-learning technologies and innovative learning methods such as advanced simulators, with expertise from Indian and international academicians. They blend the online learning experience with personal contact sessions that gives them practical hands-on experience. This is a boon to the practicing doctors since they don’t have to move of their location to enhance their knowledge and upskill themselves.
MedVarsity has a great potential to become the most sought after knowledge portal in the country for doctors. When we started it 12 years ago, we positioned it as a platform that can take content in any form and disseminate that knowledge through any device; we created an LMS in-house, that could take content in any format – animation, simulation, assessments, text, slides, videos, and disseminate it to students in a user-friendly way.
How MedSkills and MedVarsity complement each other
Medskills and Medvaristy cater to different student segments, operating on their own. In fact, 75% of the students who pass out of get placed in hospitals other than Apollo. MedSkills offers multiple skill-based courses for high school dropouts. Those who have passed class 12 can enroll for Diploma courses and the graduate can get into PG Diploma courses. We also offer various short-term courses in specific areas for skill ugradation as per the needs of the industry.
Medvarsity solely addresses the learning and skilling needs of doctors. In the age of super-specialized healthcare, our biggest task to stay relevant is to provide the latest content because students who come to us are not freshers; they are normally doctors with 7 to 8 years of practice. They are looking for something specific to enhance their knowledge. Our dream is to become a single-point platform that any healthcare professional can look up to, for upskilling or knowledge and career enhancement.
We are in a position to impact thousands of low income families, over 95% of our students come from socioeconomic category SEC-C or SEC-D. They are dropouts who have left schooling after class 8 for various reasons. And when multiple families’ incomes increase the economic landscape improves and that’s exactly what we are striving for. Skilling people will have a direct impact on the economy and society, at large.
For non-believers in skilling, I just have to say, “have patience, instead of standing out, let’s get into the pool and comment”. And when such large machinery like Government of India is behind a cause, there will be a positive impact. There may be issues, but anything that you do in a huge country like India becomes incredibly large-scale. It may not be a big number compare to our standards, but it is definitely more than the population of couple of European countries.
Holistic skilling in healthcare
Our skill development courses are integrated with finishing school that emphasizes on ethics and value system. Our students are trained in spoken English, computer skills and life skills along with various intricacies of technical skills whether it is laboratory or radiology or operation theatres. Our simulation-based training is particularly useful in learning by doing without experimenting on patients and practicing in live environment.
Healthcare skills are quite complex and call for a holistic intervention in training. All of us have experienced hospitals at different points in time – more than the medicines and the tests- we remember how we were treated in the hospital. If the doctor doesn’t talk to us properly or the nurses don’t treat us well, we may not to the same hospital again.