Saturday, January 21, 2006

Why we limit the number of patients we see

I run a busy and successful IVF clinic. We ( Dr Anjali and I) do about 300 IVF cycles every year, and know all our patients by name, since we take care of all of them ourselves - we don't have any assistants. A lot of people ask me - Why don't you expand ? Why don't you perform more IVF cycles ? I guess for most people, more cycles = more money = better clinic = happier doctor !I think this is flawed reasoning ! We have enough money to have a comfortable lifestyle; and to contribute back to society ( we run the world's largest free patient education library, HELP). While seeing more patients would increase our income, I don;t think it would increase our happiness.
Many of my peers and colleagues think I am crazy, because they are doing their best to increase their workload, while we are trying to cut back on ours ! I was wondering if maybe I was mistaken, when I read the wise book by Dr Bernard Lown, Practising the Art while Mastering the Science. He writes, " We enjoy doctoring. Listening to patients consumes a good deal of our time. We are selective in application of technology. Invasive methods are used to a minimum. This type of practice may not be consonant with current concepts of sound economics, but it certainly provides good medical care for the patient, and immeasurable fulfillment for the physician. "
Aaah - validation at last ! Someone else who thinks the way I do, even if he is half way across the world . This means I am not crazy - and maybe it's the other doctors around me who are ?
Yes, I could increase my financial income by seeing more patients, but why would I want to lose my incomparable emotional income in order to do so ?

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:19 AM

    I wish my previous RE would have limited his number of active patients. I would have rather had to wait a couple weeks to get an appointment than have to wait hours at every appointment. I know he just wants to help everyone, but he wasn't really helping anyone by having so many patients crammed into that tiny and uncomfortable waiting room for hours at a time.

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