Sunday, July 23, 2006

Checking on your doctor

I believe in patient empowerment, which is why I offer a free second opinion service on our website at www.drmalpani.com. I learn a lot from the questions patients ask me !

Firstly, it allows me me to peek into the mind of an infertile couple ( because they share their worries and concerns with me, and email allows them to unburden
themselves ) . This allows me to be more empathetic and considerate with my real-life patients ( who usually have the same doubts but maybe hesitant about voicing them) !

Secondly, it allows me to track what services other doctors offer their patients. For example , I got an email from a lawyer today, who was advised to have a " laparoscopy, endoscopy and hysteroscopy " performed by a high-profile leading doctor in New Delhi; who had told her it would cost 2 Lakh. " Not only was this doctor taking her patient for a ride by advising surgery which the patient did not need - she was also charging her at least 4 times the standard rate , just because she was well off ! This was a valuable learning lesson for me, because I now know ( from first-hand experience in one sense), how this doctor treats her patients. I am never going to refer a patient to her again !

Thirdly, it makes me feel good about the service I offer. Not only have I saved this patient a large sum of money; I have also saved her unnecessary surgery - and this did not cost either my patient or me any money !

I feel health insurance companies can use the power of the internet to offer such a service to their clients. Not only will this prevent unnecessary surgery; it will help to keep doctors honest; and also help to reduce the claim payouts of health insurance plans and save them money ! Maybe retired doctors ( who have no axe to grind and have a lot of experience) can offer this service - all they would need is a computer to do so !

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