How does CME help doctors improve their practical knowledge and skills?

CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with Mr. Saurav Kasera, Co-founder of CLIRNET. India’s largest doctors community
  1. What is a CME platform and how is it actually impacting patient healthcare outcomes and bridging urban-rural gaps in healthcare?

CLIRNET primarily influences patient healthcare outcomes and bridges urban-rural healthcare disparities by achieving the below objectives

  • Knowledge migration and multiplication: CLIRNET improves information access among doctors. By increasing the knowledge flow between experts in each field and general practitioners or budding specialists, we are able to cut across barriers such as lack of adequate clinical training, leading to enhanced availability and access to specialists, high quality of care, and standardization of clinical protocols.
  • Systematization of practices: CLIRNET helps doctors organize their practices by providing a suite of patient management tools driven by scalable technology. Patient Care Management aids in patient adherence through tailored reminders for follow-up visits, completing prescribed medication courses, and referral follow-ups. Data management improves accessibility to previous medical records and makes patient data sharing easier, thus influencing patients’ quality of care and treatment adherence.
  • Accessibility: We are building a network of doctors who, regardless of distance or infrastructure constraints, get access to information and support from their peers. By linking doctors to each other, fostering tie-ups with organizations, and bringing technological support to patient management, we are creating a safe and healthy place for the common man in India.


2. How is the concept of virtual clinics evolving in India & what are the challenges?

A developing nation, diverse demography and emerging economy make India a unique mix of similarities and contrasts thus presenting multiple avenues for the success of digital consultation.

Let us explore some of these reasons:

Ageing population

India’s 104 million old age (those aged above 60 years) are projected to rise from 8% to 20% in another three decades. The ageing populace with health issues, difficulty travelling and co-morbidities need frequent doctor visits for monitoring their health regularly. In such cases, telemedicine or digital consultation will prove to be the most effective solution for this rising need.

Rural Inaccessibility

Rural, tribal and remotes areas of India along Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Odisha etc. that lack healthcare facilities in the vicinity often suffer from the escalation of health problems as local dispensaries abound in local healers who mostly prescribe unsuitable medication. Here, digital consultation assisted by government initiatives to cover costs is a blessing. Without having to travel miles for doctor consultations, internet penetration can directly deliver digital healthcare facilities in rural areas and facilitate virtual consultations.

Hectic work schedule

A rising trend of clinical depression, early retirement, obesity and cardiac attacks due to unhealthy lifestyles have become silent killers owing to the paradigm shift in the Indian workplace. The current developing economy producing workaholics have to juggle between hectic work schedules and personal health, leading to missed appointments, compromising on health, late diagnosis etc. Here, digital consultation can prove to be the right intervention, ensuring online prescription and instant health advice for working professionals.

As seen above, digital consultation has great potential to flatten the curve of demand for a proper health system in the country. Features of digital healthcare like on-time diagnosis, one-on-one digital consultation, timely follow-up, dedicated treatment support and instant telemedicine can aid the long-term improvisation of India’s healthcare ecosystem.

As with any new adoption, virtual healthcare is and will continue to face a number of challenges. Virtual Clinic ecosystems are still evolving in terms of business models and industry frameworks. One overarching challenge is the   decreasing willingness of patients to pay for teleconsultation convenience as the pandemic ebbs. As physical restrictions are being lifted, patients are now more interested in travelling to the clinics than interacting with digital medical assistants.

Telemedicine is an evolving healthcare technology. Earlier, the focus was to connect healthcare seekers and providers who remained isolated due to geographical boundaries. However, the focus has now shifted to providing care with quality doctor-patient interactions, something virtual healthcare technologies continue to struggle with.


3. How does Clirnet ease the process of onboarding doctors?

As a core philosophy, CLIRNET has always prioritized service delivery over technology which is helping it to serve 250,000+ doctors not only in the cities but also in tier II and rural populace. All our workflows are aimed at providing a service to the doctor irrespective of their tech readiness. For e.g., if a rural doctor wants to discuss a complex patient case with a peer and has low or no internet connectivity, we have a fully equipped call center with health ambassadors that help them in completing the interaction. A second example would be WhatsApp support which has become pivotal to help doctors.

Along with a AI-driven tech infra, CLIRNET has a dedicated 50+ member multi-communication team whose job is not only to onboard doctors but make sure that critical services are made available and executed successfully. We have also kept the sign-up process very simple; form designs are straight to the point and definitive. Help and adaptive guidelines are provided at every step. A product tour is provided to complete the onboarding process.

Our extensive work as a digital partner with over 750 doctor associations across the country and therapies also gives Doctors tremendous comfort to participate in knowledge sharing without worrying about the risky anonymity that technology platforms sometimes provide.


4. Tell us about the continuing medical education platform and its benefits to India.

CLIRNET countrywide network of doctors. CLIRNET offers a digital platform for continuing medical education (CME) and various patient management tools to doctors. Pioneering the concept of collaborative treatment has helped CLIRNET to create a large community network of more than 280,000 doctors who connect, consult, and collaborate with each other to improve patient health outcomes.

Working towards its mission to support medical practitioners in making healthcare services ‘accessible, affordable and standardized’, CLIRNET has emerged as India’s fastest growing network and continuing medical education platform in a short span of time. Along with the live collaboration, doctors have access to the digital encyclopedia (“MedWiki®) that houses 30,000+ real-world case discussions specifically tailored to the Indian conditions. CLIRNET’s solutions like voice call facility and digital connectivity are designed to reach out to even the small towns and rural areas of the country. We have doctors who are based in remote areas of North-East India, J & K, etc., who now have access to their peers and technology to provide accessible, equitable, and affordable healthcare.


5. Give us a brief about how this platform provides clinical knowledge to the masses.

Both doctors and patients benefit immensely from the CLIRNET platform. Enhancing the capabilities and efficiency of doctors are critical to improving healthcare outcomes for patients in India. Based on doctor feedback, collaborations across the platform have positively impacted the lives of 100mn+ patients in India.

Prof. Shirish C. Srivastava, HEC Paris and Prof. G. Shainesh, IIM Bangalore conducted a study on the impact of CLIRNET’s CME solutions. The survey sought to understand how doctors manage complex patient cases, the effectiveness of CLIRNET’s solutions and their impact on doctors and patients. The ongoing research project entailed analyzing data from over 2,000 CME sessions and followed it with a detailed telephonic and online survey of doctors.

Findings indicate that 90% of doctors connecting on CLIRNET’s platform felt that collaboration with peers influenced their treatment plan. A majority of them confirmed a positive impact on 50 – 100 patients every month. CLIRNET received an excellent 91% Net Promoter Score (NPS) indicating a very high willingness by user doctors to recommend CLIRNET to other peer doctors. The increasing usage of CLIRNET’s MedWiki® which is a 30,000+ encyclopedia of real-world medical discussions is another encouraging trend. We are thrilled to be probably the only company in this area to be showcased in the South Asia edition of the bible of Marketing by Philip Kotler, Marketing Management.


6. What newer technologies does the company want to implement in the next three years to further improve the reach and accessibility of the platform?

CLIRNET’s mission is to empower doctors with digital tools and services that will help them to provide affordable, accessible, and equitable healthcare to patients across India, including the remotest areas. In that context, rather than thinking about newer technologies in isolation, we always think about the interplay between services and technology. To improve the reach and ensure that the benefits of the platform are enjoyed by the entire healthcare eco-system, CLIRNET will be launching an exclusive platform for medical associations and institutions where they will be able to execute their vision of disseminating medical knowledge and drive their community formation seamlessly.

To increase accessibility of the platform from primary to tertiary care facilities, CLIRNET’s digital Discuss & Refer will streamline effective communication between different levels of healthcare delivery and timely referrals to ensure high-quality care to patients at all levels. Strong coordination of referrals will lead to timely treatment of patients, reducing mortality and raising quality of care while ensuring optimal resource utilization across different levels of health service delivery.

Furthermore, building on our core strengths of generating user-based medical knowledge and doctor engagement, CLIRNET will now be launching a suite of tech-driven pioneering products to help directly connect doctors and patients. DocTube™ will allow Doctors to build & own a trustworthy, respectful relationship with their patients based on their medical expertise and patient tech-drivene wake of digital transformation, our focus will be to develop technology centered on the patient’s requirements. It will be crucial to humanize the whole experience for better healthcare outcomes. Therefore, we will combine both online and offline components to instill the complete doctor-patient journey with a human experience.


7. Is the company planning on expanding into other markets outside of India? What are opportunities and how does the company plan on achieving those targets?

CLIRNET’s model of doctor collaboration and engagement is highly scalable and can provide immense benefits to doctors and patients across many emerging nations and regions. The first opportunity lies in connecting doctors across Southeast Asian, Middle-Eastern, and African countries. Even though every nation has its unique healthcare challenges, each one faces certain common roadblocks such as high patient-doctor ratio, non-availability of clinical user-generated content, lack of patient awareness & non-optimal utilization of existing sources. In that context, CLIRNET has already started working with medical bodies in these countries to create an effective model of collaboration with Indian doctors. We have already executed cross-country programs with eminent bodies such as the SAARC Psychiatric Federation, UNESCO, UNICEF, and BAMOS, where more than 10,000+ doctors have participated. This can also be used to give a substantial fillip to medical health tourism in India, as the expertise of Indian doctors is highly regarded in many regions such as South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

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