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Doctors Showcase Their Surgical Skills on YouTube

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Times of India
24 May 2011
By Neethu Reghukumar

Medical videos of rare surgeries and new procedures are helping netizens check background of surgeons before zeroing in on the right one
Doctors in the IT city have become tech savvy. They are increasingly using video-sharing websites like YouTube to showcase medical videos of rare surgeries and new medical procedures for the benefit of their patients and peers. Dr Saurabh Misra, consultant surgeon, Apollo Hospital, says, "For the past two years doctors in the city are actively doing this. I don’t put up all surgeries on YouTube. So far, I’ve uploaded two cases."

Benefits Patients
Dr Misra says that these videos are useful to patients, especially techies, who prefer to do a thorough background check of doctors on the internet before deciding on who they will consult. Dr H V Satish Babu, professor and head of neurosurgery department, Vydehi Institute of Medical Sciences, believes medical videos are the best tool to teach patients. He says, "The idea behind uploading a video of a surgery is to show people what kind of surgeries I do. The common man will also get an idea of what happens inside the operation theatre. In the west, it is a common practice to upload medical videos on the Internet."
Dr Babu claims patients meet him after checking out his videos online. "They say, "We’ve learnt from the internet that you do this medical procedure. So, we came to get an opinion." Patients as young as 17 come to me and ask me how many surgeries I have performed and what is the success rate."

Benefits Doctors
Dr Misra points out that online medical videos are of great help even to doctors. He says, "If any doctor sees a particular kind of case for the first time in his practice, he or she can refer to videos of similar cases on YouTube."

Dr Satish reveals that he spends at least one hour every day to read or watch videos online about new procedures. "If I get a case, which I have not seen before, I go online and read about the existing methods. Online medical videos are a very important tool as medical education is continuous and you need to update yourself regularly."

Trend is Catching
Dr Babu feels online medical videos play an important role in educating patients and will catch up in a big way, in the next four to five years. Dr Misra says doctors are taking this communication tool seriously with more people logging on to internet to check out medical videos.

Dr Rohit Shetty, vice chairman and cornea surgeon, Narayana Nethralaya, agrees with Misra. In fact, at his hospital there is a separate department that deals with recording and editing medical videos. He said, "All our surgeries are recorded. We focus on rare surgeries or different procedures, which can be useful to doctors. We do not upload the entire video, but edit and put up only important parts. We record rare surgeries and new procedures in high quality. Lot of software is available for editing medical videos. In fact, doctors can edit these videos themselves without the help of video editors."

Dr Anil Kumar, secretary Indian Medical Association, says, the practice of uploading medical videos online does not amount to advertising as doctors are just informing people about rare surgeries or different procedures.

Privacy Protected
Dr Anil Kumar says these videos do not invade the privacy of patients as the face of a patient featured in the video neither shown nor his name and address revealed.

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