In India, this question may be a bit confusing to answer. We always have a shortage of formally qualified Rheumatologists. Rheumatology must be studied after MD/ DNB (Medicine). The entire country of 1.3 Billion people may have only 1,000 qualified Rheumatologists, which means one Rheumatologist for every 1.3 million people. Also, most qualified Rheumatologists are based in urban cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru and Hyderabad and the ratio of people to qualified Rheumatologists may be well over 2 Million.
Consider another situation, where a family physician is based in a place like Karad in Maharashtra. A patient walks in his clinic with acute pain in joints and must be treated ASAP. What does a family physician do? In another similar location, even if a patient approaches an Orthopedic surgeon, he too will have a similar dilemma.
A middle path for such situations, without or less controversy may be to (at least) treat simpler cases of joint pains and refer the complicated or rare cases to a specialist Rheumatologist. Like many other ailments, a (family) physician can concentrate on an accurate diagnosis of the ailment and its treatment, if it happens to be a simple case such as Osteoarthritis. As we all know, in Rheumatology, we focus on conditions affecting 5 categories of human anatomy viz. joints, tendons, ligaments, bones and muscles. An MBBS doctor with an MD (or DNB) in Medicine, by all means, is qualified to treat routine Rheumatic diseases but when it comes to more intricate subjects like use of steroids (DMARDS) and disease modifying agents she/ he should leave it to a super-specialist Rheumatologist. It is also possible and we have lots of post-graduate physicians, who have slowly focused their practice purely in Rheumatic diseases and do not deal with other ailments at all. Such practitioners have also acquired, relevant, short-term, international qualifications. , to call themselves Rheumatologist.
As long as we conduct a thorough physical examination, proper diagnostic tests, essential imaging and lab tests, one can be confident of her/ his diagnosis and ultimately timely patient cure (if possible, else at least proper management, which is more important) than getting into such unending controversies.
Over 90% cases would be routine and simpler. Let us focus on such patients and not worry too much about cases, that can be referred for special care. Dr. Shrikant Wagh has set an ideal example by designing his practice accordingly. One needs to study how he practices, how he maintains his patient information and how meticulously he observes the patient progress. Fortunately for all of us, he is also an astute academician. He has a love for teaching and is a complete systems person. He has augmented a team of 20 experts from all over India, planned a 360-degree view of Primary Care Rheumatology practice and, has published it for the benefit of all of us, in terms of a fully online certificate course in Rheumatology.
As you know, Distance Learning in Rheumatology would be very similar to online certificate course in Rheumatology. This course also offers a special attention to Pediatric Rheumatology and almost provides Pediatric Rheumatology course. Whether you are looking for a PG diploma course in Rheumatology or PG degree course in Rheumatology, the Nanavati hospital course in Rheumatology would help you for sure.