KUALA LUMPUR: Medical students have been advised to specialise in order to ensure that they remain relevant at a time when technology is said to be taking over in many industries.
A speaker in a forum at the two-day Asia Pacific Healthcare and Medical Tourism Summit here said there is a high possibility of general practitioners (GPs) being replaced by technology which can perform the necessary diagnoses.
“When technology picks up, the first to go will be the GPs,” Chong Yee Mun, who is CEO of Prince Court Medical Centre, told FMT on the sidelines of the summit.
“There is already technology available to replace preliminary detection which is usually done by GPs. There are devices now which can read a person’s heart rate, and other detections which bypass GPs.
“You no longer need to go through a GP to be referred to a specialist.”
However, Chong acknowledged a lack of specialists due to the length of time required to complete the training. This, he said, had also resulted in an oversupply of medical officers.
He also cited the limited places at training hospitals, saying the ratio of doctors to trainees used to be 1:5.
“Now, they train about 40 at a go.”
It was reported last year that Malaysia continues to face a shortage of medical specialists. The situation has been attributed in part to the additional study period required for medical graduates who wish to pursue a master’s degree. Such graduates must undergo an extra four years of study in addition to on-the-job training.
Another panel speaker, Nadiah Wan, said there should be more flexibility in how the healthcare industry and systems operate.
“I think we need to create a system which would allow us to collect data and gain insight into what exactly a patient or customer is looking for.
“This way, they only pay for what they want,” Nadiah, who is CEO of TMC Life Sciences at Thompson Hospital Kota Damansara, told FMT.