In recent years, the buzzing Indian healthcare industry has generated a huge demand for manpower across many new skill areas and specialisations. This has considerably broadened the scope for healthcare education. Traditionally, medicine and nursing were known to be the only two career avenues in healthcare domain. However, emergence of new job opportunities has given rise to a host of new training areas, such as – Clinical Research, Health and Hospital Management, Telemedicine and Health Informatics, Medical Tourism etc. Currently, education and training has become one of the fastest growing sub-sectors within the healthcare industry.

Nowadays, opportunities are available for graduates and post graduates in pharmacy, life sciences, microbiology, biotechnology, physiotherapy, dentistry, homeopathy, ayurveda, veterinary, statistics and IT to opt for a specialisation in any of the emerging areas as above. The passing of Patents bill in 2005 and the entry of big pharmaceutical companies in Indian market have given a big boom to clinical research business in India. Today, a post graduate qualification in clinical research can command a handsome salary and provides ample choices to branch out.

The other area where the demand for skilled manpower would be tremendous is Health IT.

Healthcare is increasingly becoming technology driven to make it accessible, interactive, interoperable and intelligent. Telemedicine, Telehealth, Hospital Information Systems (HIS), Picture Archiving & Communication System (PACS) are few of the many ICT application areas in healthcare. In coming years, the implementation of newer and better technology in hospitals would change the healthcare scenario. The healthcare system would be less dependent on physical presence of doctorsor their direct involvement in patient care � in turn, increasing the demand for paramedics, healthcare managers and allied professionals.

Similarly, rush of international patients in Indian hospitals would give rise to new opportunities in healthcare and medical tourism. Recently, India has been ranked second in terms of preferred destinations for medical tourists. In 2007, Indian hospitals treated nearly half a million overseas patients as against the topper Thailand which treated 1.2 million. Realising, India’s potential in this domain, many educational institutes are contemplating to offer specialised courses in medical tourism.

The thrust of this issue is to give current healthcare professionals (and also those aspiring for it) an insight into some of the emerging areas in healthcare education. We hope this will help them in making informed decision regarding their choice of career and specialisation.

The Indian healthcare industry is growing like never before and opening up a whole range of exciting avenues. It is the right time to equip yourself with new age skills and knowledge, and get ready for a promising and rewarding career ahead.

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Related April 2009