Her idea on fighting antibiotic resistance got a junior resident from AIIMS an audience with Russian President Vladimir Putin who, she said, was “impressed” with what she had to say. Dr Rachna Bhat was among 12 people chosen to present their ideas to Putin, from over 24,000 participants from 185 countries, who were in Russia for the 19th edition of the World Festival of Youth and Students last month.
The 12, who were given the tag of the ‘future team’ at the festival, met the Russian President on October 21, putting forth ideas from their respective fields — from technology to environment to medicine. Bhat was the only doctor. Bhat told The Indian Express that while Putin could not have one-on-one chats because of “security reasons”, he did convey that he “appreciated and was impressed with” her idea.
In her introductory remarks, addressed to Putin, Bhat said, “I thank Russia for giving this wonderful opportunity to interact with young and ignited minds of the globe, especially my foresight team. We discussed that the threat of increasing antibiotic resistance and poly-pharmacy creates the need to control the irrational prescription and ensure communication between various stakeholders.”
Bhat, who joined AIIMS in January 2015 as a junior resident (emergency medicine), was chosen by the medical fraternity at the event — which included over 300 doctors from across the globe.
In her 90-second presentation to Putin, she said, “We came up with this POS portal that stands for people, organisation and state. It is an e-portal. And through this platform, patients can subscribe and rate the doctors and get personalised health advice and education. The doctors can access medical information and give electronic prescription. It will be designed in such a way that the system will give a corrective prompt for wrong prescription. Also, the research groups, state and medical organisations can stay in the loop of communication and get data regarding irrational prescription and statistics of the disease. This can be used to design focused health education, resource allocation and health policies. The information given to each group will be classified and protected.”
Bhat, who hails from Manipal in Karnataka, said multiple teams brainstormed for over a week, to discuss and find a solution for the biggest challenge facing the healthcare sector. “Twenty-four topics were discussed, from shortage of health professionals to clinical trials and artificial intelligence. After a week’s discussion, my team, which used the foresight method to tackle irrational prescriptions of antibiotics, was chosen,” she said.
“The final team comprised 25 persons. I was chosen by them to present the POS portal to the President. We are mostly medical students. From a few countries, there were students from law studies, who were also pursuing courses in genetics and biology. The idea was a cumulative of this entire group,” she said.
While Bhat flew back to India for her exams at AIIMS, the rest of the team is currently in Moscow, holding closed group meetings to model the future plan of action. “We discussed what are the key challenges in healthcare. At present, the prescriptions of doctors are not traceable. We don’t know who is prescribing what antibiotic. The idea was to make prescriptions of antibiotics mandatory, and trace the areas and doctors who are prescribing them. Later on, we can educate, make an action plan,” she said.
“The plan is that we can register doctors on it. Automatically, the data can be traced. For instance, lung-related problems are on the rise in Delhi. But we don’t know what is the treatment gap. We can also educate the general population… The short-term plan is to have a national-level portal and then link it to an international database,” she added.
Meanwhile, Professor Balram Airan, Dean (Academics), AIIMS, told The Indian Express: “We feel great about this achievement. It is a matter of pride that a junior resident from our institute was chosen to interact at a global platform like this.”