Monday, May 23, 2011

Promoting Information Therapy in India

The Indian healthcare system has become sick. Doctors are illness experts –not healthcare experts . India just cannot keep up with the increasing demands the ever growing population puts on the healthcare infrastructure . The only effective solution is to empower everyone in the healthcare ecosystem with Information Therapy . The right information at the right time for the right person can be powerful medicine !

However, this is still a very new concept in India. When people talk about the problems facing healthcare in India, the focus is primarily on the shortage of doctors – and how we need to invest more money in training new doctors. While opening new medical colleges is very profitable for politicians ( which is why they do this all the time), this does not address the underlying issue at all. More doctors just create more demand for medical services – and much of this medical care is unproven, unnecessary and expensive !

HELP has taken a completely different approach. We have focused on empowering the patient with information, which is why we started India’s first patient education library over 10 years ago. As time progressed, we realized that this was not enough – we need to work on the entire ecosystem in order to be able to fix the problems.

There’s no point in educating patients if their doctors do not have access to reliable information as well . In India, the tragedy is that doctors will rarely bother to keep uptodate. They usually depend upon their friendly medical rep to keep them abreast of the latest advances in therapeutics – and they will attend a few conferences sporadically , to learn about what’s new. However, given the rapid advances which take place in medicine, their knowledgebase becomes woefully inadequate very soon . Most continue to refer to their outdated medical textbooks – and very few will invest in buying new editions of text books or medical journal subscriptions. This is why our next step was to provide the MDConsult database – the world’s largest online medical library , with over 100 full-text medical books and journals, to Indian doctors, at half the price doctors in the US pay for this.

We then realized that while many Indian patients are online looking for information, Indian hospitals do not have much content which is of use to them. Look at the contrast between the Apollo Hospital and Mayo Clinic websites , for example ! Our next initiative has been to tie up with Healthwise, USA, the market leader in providing online patient educational content , so that Indian hospitals now have access to affordable and reliable content for their websites.
We have also realized that there is a major shortage of graphic content designed for Indian patients . This is why we have invested in PEAS, the market leader in making patient-friendly content for patients in India. We feel this market is now set to boom, as more and more patients demand reliable, easy to understand educational materials from their doctors and hospitals.
While there are millions of Indian patients online, where are all the doctors ? We have invested in Plus91, to help encourage doctors to publish their own websites. We have made this process easy and inexpensive, so that every Indian doctor can establish their own digital clinic. We hope this will help to set up a positive virtuous cycle.

There’s still a long way to go . Our next action steps are to invest in companies which provide e-learning courses for patient education; mobile smartphone apps for educating patients; and companies which will create materials in Indian regional languages – a completely untapped, but huge market !

These are exciting times – and we are happy to be playing such an active role in this transformation !

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Lost in the health information maze ?

50 years ago, the major problem was that patients had too little information. All of this was locked up in medical books and journals, and this information asymmetry meant that the patient was often forced to put the doctor on a pedestal, because he had all the knowledge. Patients felt helpless because they did not know enough.

Today, there's been a sea change, and patients still feel helpless - but this is because they have access to too much information - most of which is wrong, inaccurate or outdated ! Thanks to google, it's become very easy for patients to unearth thousands of pages of information on any topic - but because this information is badly organised and is not put in context, patients find it easy to get lost.

It's very common to find two 2 different websites saying diametrically opposite things. They get confused and frustrated ! Whom do they trust ? And why ?

Unfortunately, most patients are not sophisticated enough to be able to differentiate between "good" information and "bad" information. The sad truth is that many commercial websites can be very well-designed and attractive - but the information they provide is completely false. Their primary agenda is to sell you something - not to educate you , which means it's easy to get fooled !

Patients need reliable information - a trusted guide through the healthcare information maze . This needs to be someone who can help them separate the wheat from the chaff, and someone who has no vested interest in selling them anything !

This is where Healthwise shines. The only mission of the Healthwise Knowledgebase is to empower patients with Information Therapy !

Healthwise helps patients make better healthcare decisions by
1. Promoting SelfCare and helping them to do as much for themselves as they can
2. Helping them with Evidence-Based Guidelines , so that they can ask for the right medical treatment that they need – no more and no less
3. Helping them with Veto Power, so they can say No to medical care they don’t need, thus preventing overtesting and unnecessary surgery .

Search the Healthwise Knowledgebase free today - and see for yourself !




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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Drowning in too much health information ?

There's no question that it's important to be well informed if you are ill. Knowledge is power ( which is why you go to your doctor - he knows more about medicine than you do !)

While not having enough information can result in poor care, today unearthing too much information has become a much bigger problem, thanks to google.

Any one can search for any health topic on google and instantly come up with thousands of results. It's become very easy to search , but to find the relevant information is much harder. Making sense of these results is hard to do - and causes a lot of heartburn !

Users get lost and confused and this often results in paralysis by analysis. In fact, after trying this a few times, many give up all together, thinking it's too complex and way above their heads and ability to do.

This is a shame ! There's no need to drown in information - all you need is a lifeguard - someone who is capable and competent and can help you. You need to have a float before you jump into the sea - and the Healthwise Knowledgebase fits the bill perfectly.

It has over 30000 pages of information, which means it's very likely to have information on any topic you look for. The good news is that this is quality controlled, curated information , which is reliable, accurate and easy to read.

Once you have this information, you can then go out and hunt for more, because you are armed with the basics, and know enough to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff !



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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How to get patients to come to your website !

Just like you want to be every patient's preferred real-life destination for treatment of their medical problems, shouldn’t you want to be their online preferred destination as well ?

Everyone knows that patients go online to research their medical problem and their treatment options. In fact , searches for medical problems are the second commonest reason for going online (after pornography !)

When someone has arthritis and needs knee replacement surgery, they will do a google search for knee replacement surgery. Does your hospital website feature on Page 1 ? Or are you going to lose them to your competing hospital’s website ?

If they come to your website, the chances they will come to you for their treatment improve dramatically ! On the other hand, if they go to another hospital’s website, the chances are high you will lose these patients. The question you need to ask yourself is - Can you afford to ? These are usually well-off patients who can pay for their treatment !

What do you have to do in order to get online patients to come to your website ? You need to rank high on google ! So why doesn’t your website come up on Page 1 when patients do a google search when they are looking for medical information ? The reason is simple – your website does not have enough valuable content for patients ! Content is what patients are looking for – and this is what google looks for as well !

Similarly, when they come to your website, they don't want to know who your CEO is or how many beds you have ! They first want to be educated about their particular disease ! The trouble is that most hospital websites are all about the hospital - and not about the patient at all ! This is why if you want to retain the online patient , you need to make sure you have high quality content to educate him. If you take the time and trouble to do so, he is likely to be very favourably impressed by your efforts - and therefore much more likely to come to you in real life !

After all, all hospitals have a website today ! What can you do to stand out and differentiate yourself from others ? What's your online USP ?

Even for patients who are admitted in your hospital, It’s a fact of life that patients ( and their family members) will search the web for information when they are ill. The major problem arises when patients get unreliable information when they search on their own . Not only do they get confused , they end up wasting a lot of the doctor’s time, because of their erroneous preconceived notions. On the other hand, if you provide reliable, trustworthy information yourself on your website , it helps to increase the patient’s trust in your hospital – and in your doctors ! This is a great inexpensive way of building good will and patient loyalty !

By using clever new applications based on the Healthwise Knowledgebase , you can marry Information Therapy with EMRs, patient portals and web 2.0 social media, to improve the care you provide to your patients , to convert them into raving fans !

Please email me at info@informationtherapy.in and I'll be happy to provide more information !

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Where does your hospital website rank on google ?

When someone falls ill, you want them to come to your hospital for their treatment. Just like you want to be their preferred real-life destination for treatment of their medical problems, shouldn’t you want to be their online preferred destination as well ?

Everyone knows that patients go online to research their medical problem and their treatment options. In fact , searches for medical problems are the second commonest reason for going online (after pornography !)

However, patients will not google your hospital name. When someone has arthritis and needs knee replacement surgery, they will do a google search for knee replacement surgery. Does your hospital website feature on Page 1 ? Or are you going to lose them to your competing hospital’s website ?

If they come to your website, the chances they will come to you for their treatment improve dramatically ! On the other hand, if they go to another hospital’s website, the chances are high you will lose these patients. The question you need to ask yourself is - Can you afford to ? These are usually well-off patients who can pay for their treatment !

How can you make sure patients will come to your website ? You need to rank high The question you need to ask is simple - Why doesn’t your website come up on Page 1 when patients do a google search when they are looking for medical information ? The reason is simple – your website does not have enough valuable content for patients ! Content is what patients are looking for – and this is what google looks for as well !

It’s a fact of life that patients ( and their family members) will search the web for information when they are ill. The major problem arises when patients get unreliable information when they search on their own . Not only do they get confused , they end up wasting a lot of the doctor’s time, because of their erroneous preconceived notions. On the other hand, if you provide reliable, trustworthy information yourself on your website , it helps to increase the patient’s trust in your hospital – and in your doctors ! This is a great inexpensive way of building good will and patient loyalty !

However, generating reliable, patient-friendly content is not easy ! The good news is that HELP, in partnership with Healthwise , the leading provider of patient educational content in the USA, now offers Healthwise content to Indian hospitals who want to improve their websites. This means that Indian hospitals can now get the exact same content which Healthwise provides in the USA - at a fraction of the cost ! Both HELP and Healthwise are non-profit organizations, whose mission it is to promote Information Therapy to help patients to make better decisions !

This means that your hospital website can get an instant painless Transfusion of Information Therapy ! This authoritative patient education library called the Healthwise Knowledgebase can be whitelabelled and plugged into your existing website within one week , thanks to our Technology Partners, Plus91.

As a result of including this Healthwise content, we are sure you will see a dramatic jump in your online traffic ! If this translates into even one more additional patient per week , you will recover your investment very quickly ! In fact, we are so sure about this, that we are happy to provide a free trial for one month. You need to pay for an annual license in advance. If your traffic does not improve by at least 50%, we will refund your money back !

Please email me at info@informationtherapy.in and I'll be happy to provide more information !





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Monday, May 16, 2011

Dr Malpani, should I complain about my doctor ?

Every doctor wants to see his patients get better. After all, one of the major reasons people choose to become doctors is that they have a strong urge to heal and help others. Medicine is the ultimate service profession, and because it's a direct one-on-one relationship, good doctors devote a lot of their time and energy in keeping their patients happy.

It also make a lot of business sense to do so. Patients who are happy are the best source of new patients ! Word of mouth marketing is the best was of growing a practise for doctors , and doctors understand the value of this.

This is why happy patients make for happy doctors !

Unfortunately, not every patient is going to do well. Medicines do not always work and the human body can be fickle. This is especially true in IVF cycles, when the outcome of the cycle is always outside the doctor's hand. No matter how good a doctor I am, once I have made the embryos in the IVF lab and transferred them into the uterus, I have no further control as to what will happen. Sadly, most embryos do not become babies, which means IVF cycles are more likely to fail than to succeed.

This is a fact of life, and we do our best to educate and prepare our patients for this possibility. This is why we are transparent; show patients photos of their embryos ( even when things are not going well); and prescribe large doses of Information Therapy, so that patients have realistic expectations of what we can do for them.

Our patients appreciate our efforts , but when an IVF cycle fails , patients are understandably upset. If an IVF cycle fails, the right thing for a smart patient to do is to analyse the cycle together with the doctor. What went wrong ? What went right ? What can we do differently the next time ?

Sadly, not all patients are capable of taking such a mature approach. They are angry and need to vent and a doctor is an easy target ! Some get abusive ( both in real life and online); and others may even get violent. Rather than sit dispassionately with their doctor , they often end up bad-mouthing him and end up damaging a reputation which may have taken a lifetime to earn, because doctors are easy targets. Thanks to the internet, it's become very easy ( too easy , I feel) for patients to post anonymous complaints online about their doctor. While it's important to allow patients mechanism for redressal, I do not think anonymous complaints are the right way to do this. If the patient has a complaint, he should also have the courage to stand up and identify himself, so the doctor can explain what happened.

I have been at the receiving end of anonymous online complaints , and feel betrayed. We pride ourselves on our patient-centric skills. However, even though we spend so much time with our patients, counselling them and educating them, when they say nasty things about us behind our backs, without giving us a chance to provide an explanation , I am angry and upset ( which is one of the reasons I am writing this post ! ) These cowardly complaints are very upsetting. The most sensible thing for me to do is ignore them , but it's hard for me to do this, because I care for my patients, and am unhappy when they are unhappy. It's hard for me to detach myself and not take it personally. I pride myself on my patient-skills and think of myself as being a good doctor. This kind of unfair criticism hurts !

What's worse, this sets up a negative vicious cycle . Doctors who have been abused by angry patients often start becoming angry and resentful themselves. They start practising defensive medicine and distancing themselves from patients, to protect themselves. Also, doctors talk amongst themselves - and what they learn from other doctor's experience is that patients can be vengeful ( for no fault of the doctor's) - and that doctors need to protect themselves from their patients !

It's so tragic that affairs have come to this sorry state . A lot has been written about how the doctor - patient relationship has deteriorated in recent times. While many people are happy to blame greedy doctors for this, unfortunately no one has highlighted the role patients play in damaging the relationship. After all, any relationship is a two-way street - and a doctor who has been sued or abused is no longer going to be the same person he was before the episode.

Unhappy patients create unhappy doctors . What's worse, they often end up creating unhappy patients as well, because unhappy doctors do not take good care of their patients and often end up disrespecting them and providing poor quality care.

The tragedy is that the bad doctors - the ones who are mercenary and uncaring really don't care what their patients think about them. Criticism from an unhappy patient just rolls of their back and they can happily ignore it. Good doctors are hurt when patients are unhappy with them, because they have worked hard in order to get the patient to get better. They feel cheated and let down that the patient has abused them rather than tried to talk to them to resolve the problem. Their attitudes towards the next patient they see hardens - and the doctor-patient relationship starts deteriorating and becoming adversarial !

If you are unhappy with your doctor , please do let him know so he can try to fix the problem. You owe this to your doctor; yourself; and to his future patients ! Of course, if he does not do anything to solve your problem, then it's fair to look for ways of getting back - but never attribute to malice what may have happened because of factors outside anyone's control !
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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Doctor, Google thyself

I found this great article , Doctor, Google thyself, on MDConsult.

" My patients fit into three broad categories. There are the patients who love me, there are the patients who worship me, and, unfortunately, there are the patients who hate my guts and share their feelings freely at various online “rate-the-doc”–type websites. These websites seem to be a magnet for every patient with a gripe and access to a computer."

This is an article every doctor should read ! It's easy for unhappy patients to write unflattering ( and dishonest) reviews online - and this can cause serious harm to your online reputation !

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Great customer service from Citibank

I am a CitiGold customer, and had some issues with the billing on my credit card which had not been resolved for quite a few months.

I spoke to my Relationship manager, who promised to fix the problem. I am very confident she'll take care of this - but what I really liked is the fact that I can reach out and talk to a human being who will take ownership of the problem and solve it for me.

It's such a pleasure to receive good customer service - it's become so rare these days !
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Research: Are People Ready for eHealth?

" The authors concluded that although the amount of online health-related information and services is consistently growing, it appears that the general population lacks the skills to keep up. Most problematic appear to be the lack of information and strategic Internet skills, which, in the context of health, are very important. The lack of these skills is also problematic for members of younger generations, who are often considered skilled Internet users. This primarily seems to account for the operational and formal Internet skills. The results of the study strongly call for policies to increase the level of Internet skills."

This is exactly the pain-point which the Healthwise Knowledgebase solves ! Improving the user's critical assessment skills is hard to do - but providing them with a curated, well-defined well-crafted health knowledgebase can ensure they will find information they can trust and use !

Friday, May 13, 2011

Why the US government should give doctors websites if they want them to use EMRs !

The US govt is spending a huge amount of money to encourage doctors to use EMRs, in the hope that this will help to reduce healthcare costs. However, most doctors are quite suspicious of the whole deal. This is quite natural. After all, governments know very little about how to care for patients - and a lot of these government - sponsored incentives end up backfiring and creating a lot of additional work and heartburn for doctors.

Rather than take this top-down Big Brother approach ( which failed so miserably in the UK), I'd like to suggest a simpler alternative. Of the 40000 odd dollars which the government is willing to gift each medical practise which starts using an EMR, I'd suggest they give doctors some money ( as little as US $ 500 ) to set up their own personal website. This would create a win-win situation - at a much smaller expense. Let me explain.

Most doctors are still unsure as to how an EMR can help them ( and there are enough horror stories around about how badly designed EMRs can actually disrupt workflow and reduce productivity !) . However, every doctor can see the value of having their own website. It helps them to improve their efficiency and to market their practise. The trouble is that most doctors do not know how to go about setting up their own website - and commercial website designers in the USA charge an arm and a leg for designing websites . Since doctors are not sure whether such a large investment would be cost effective, they are understandably reluctant to spend this money.

However, if the US government mandated websites for all US doctors, this could be done very inexpensively ! Not only would doctors be happy, their patients would be far happier. If all US doctors had their own website, it would be much easier for patients to search for the right doctor; get reliable information directly from their doctor; and this would also allow them to get in touch with their doctor much more easily !

But how does giving doctors a website encourage them to use an EMR ? Once doctors are online, their patients will communicate with them electronically. Initially, this will be by email ( though this will soon evolve to a secure messaging platform integrated with the EMR) . Doctors will need instant access to the patient's medical record in order to be able to answer the email intelligently, so they will be happy to invest in an EMR - to improve their productivity !

It's only when doctors are convinced that an EMR will help them to take better care of their patients that they will start adopting them ! Even better, once they are convinced, they will do so on their own , and the government will not have to give them a financial incentive for this ! Doctors are smart - and if an EMR helps them to improve their productivity, they will happily use them as efficiency tools ! Remember that the government did not have to provide an incentive to doctors to get them to use telephones in their offices.

Online doctors like me who have their own website can see the value of having an EMR every time we communicate with our patients - and this is something our patients appreciate as well !

I asked Nrip Nihalani, CEO of Plus91 ( in which I am an angel investor) for his opinion. This is what he had to say.

• When doctors get a website, they start using their computer more often
• Once they get a website, many doctors also start feeling like they need to learn more about technology, computers and the internet.
• Doctors with websites, eventually start creating content for it, using word and PowerPoint.( Over 60 % of the doctors for whom Plus91 has created websites have done so .
Over 75% of doctors who once shied away from EMRs became much more receptive to buying one in just 6 months after having their own website .
• 21 % of the doctors, who bought a website, ordered an EMR/Practice Management Solution within 6 months
• Websites help doctors understand the value of a patient centric model, and the best way to deal with patients who demand speed, quick access to reports, constant attention by the doctors is to deploy an EMR/EHR solution. Doctors with websites seem to learn this faster !



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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Looking for healthcare IT entrepreneurs in India

Are you an entrepreneur who wants to improve healthcare in India ? I am an angel investor, and am looking for companies which meet the following criteria.

At least 3 years old, with a viable product, who need to grow and scale up and needs funds and a strategic investor to do so. I am especially looking for companies which are active in the following areas:

Elearning for healthcare
Teaching patients about their health in Indian regional languages
Developing healthcare apps customised for India

If you are interested, please send me an email !



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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Indian Medical Association prescribes IT skills for doctors

The national unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has decided to make its two lakh members across the country, especially senior medical practitioners, more tech savvy.

“We have noticed that, unlike young medical professionals, senior doctors by and large lack computer proficiency. They still use paper and pen for their daily records. The project will help such doctors cope with the competitive world and become tech savvy,” said national vice-president of IMA, Dr Devendra Shirole.

This is great news - and will provide a huge impetus to the healthcare IT market in India ! Patients and doctor will benefit - and so will healthcare IT companies such as Plus91 ( in which I am an angel investor !)

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Healthwise Patient Education Solution

The Healthwise Patient Education Solution provides evidence-based patient instructions for virtually any moment in care. The meaningful health content includes instructions on how to prepare for upcoming procedures, after-care instructions, drug leaflets, and guidelines for when to call for help. And the patient instructions include “Go to Web” codes that directly link patients to more health information and interactive decision aids in the Healthwise® Knowledgebase, an online health encyclopedia.

The Patient Information Education Trust is the Indian distributor for Healthwise !

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Dear CEO, are you making the most of your hospital website ?

Your hospital has a great website with lots of clever graphics, health calculators, videos, and flash presentations ! Your marketing department is very pleased that you now have a Youtube and Twitter channel and a Facebook page. However, if you are using your hospital website as just a branding tool or a digital hospital brochure , you are not getting most bang for your buck !
You need to integrate Information Therapy as part of your medical workflow, so your doctors can provide better medical care to their patients; and your patients can have a hospital experience they can rave about !

By using clever new applications based on the Healthwise Knowledgebase , you can marry Information Therapy with EMRs, patient portals and web 2.0 social media, to improve the care you provide to your patients , to convert them into raving fans !

Let’s consider a patient with arthritis who needs knee replacement surgery. If your website has lots of valuable content on arthritis and its treatment options, it will rank high on google, which means the patient is very likely to come across your website during his search. If the information you provide is reliable; easy to understand; objective and updated, your hospital’s image in the patient’s eyes improves dramatically ! You can then “convert” this online visitor into a real-life patient by encouraging him to get in touch with you !

Similarly, let’s look at the same patient who is being admitted for elective knee replacement surgery. Prior to admission you can send a welcome email , along with a link to your hospital website which has a lot of accurate information on knee replacement surgery, so they know what to expect during their hospital stay. Not only does this help to relieve the anxiety of the patient and his family, they will also be very impressed by your thoughtfulness and patient-centred focus !

This can be automatic and inexpensive - you just need to embed this into your admission process ! It helps your doctors as well and saves them a lot of time , as they do not need to explain the basics once again, since the email has already done this ! You can do this after discharge as well – and this combination of high tech with high touch can be a winning formula ! It also helps to improve your doctor’s efficiency, as these emails reduce phone calls to your doctors , since most routine queries have been proactively answered !

Please email me at malpani@vsnl.com and I'll be happy to provide more information !


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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

After the IVF 2 ww !


We normally do a blood test for HCG 2 weeks after the embryo transfer to find out if the embryos have implanted and if the cycle has been successful or not.

This can be a very long 2 weeks , and many women will start doing pregnancy tests 5 days after the embryo transfer.

The problem is that even if the embryo has implanted and you are pregnant, the embryo produce such small quantities of HCG for the first few days after it implants ( remember that it's just a microscopic ball of about hundreds of cells or so at this time), that it's not possible to detect this HCG in the blood . To be able to detect the HCG in the urine will take even more time, which is why you need to be patient.

Of course, many patients will cheat :) - and this is an email I got from a patient today. A picture is worth a 1000 words, and this image clearly shows how her pregnancy tests have now become strongly positive ( C stands for Control and T stands for Test). The stripe on C means you have done the test properly. Once the stripe on T shows up ( is positive) , this means you are
pregnant !

She's now ready to start her baby album !
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Why are Indian hospital websites so anemic ?

Most Indian hospitals have their own websites which clearly means that they understand the importance of having an online digital presence. However, most of them use their website purely as a branding tool which means their sites are just digital brochureware. Inspite of being an IT global powerhouse, Indian medical websites have lagged behind. The biggest tragedy is that with just a little bit of effort, they could become world-class, given the fact that India has an unbeatable combination of medical and IT expertise !

Just compare www.mayoclinic.com with any Indian hospital’s website ! Or look at the Alexa ratings or Google page ranks for Indian hospital websites . They get only about one tenth the traffic which much smaller US hospitals do. While it’s true that the number of internet users in the US is more than in India, this is irrelevant. The internet has become a global playing field, where hospitals are doing their best to attract patients from all over the world ! And it’s not about the cost of the website or the use of clever flash graphics or Web 2.0 tools either. The reason for the poor traffic is much more basic – it’s poor quality content !

Most hospital websites are chockful of information about the hospital , but they have precious little content which is designed for the patient ! Remember that when someone is sick and is looking for medical care, they will not do a search for Fortis Hospital or Care Hospital ! They will google for more information about their disease – and because Indian hospital websites provide precious little information on just a few diseases, they rank very low on a google search !

The solution is simple – hospital websites need to offer a comprehensive library of online information for prospective patients. However, this is a surprisingly challenging and complex task. Most webmasters have no medical expertise and they naively expect the hospital doctors to provide them with the content for the website. However, most doctors are very poor at communicating and are of little help . Generating high quality content for patients can be a very expensive and time consuming exercise – especially when you need to keep it uptodate and error free . Also, hospital management is worried that they may get sued if they provide incorrect information, which is why they often prefer not providing any information at all !
So what do they do ? Some will get their doctors to provide a few pages of content – material which is badly written, full of medical jargon and hard to understand. Others will source free health information - for example, from Wikipedia. However, this is often of patchy quality – and these hospitals get what they pay for ! The other option is to license this information from US and UK publishers– but this can be very expensive !

The good news is that HELP, in partnership with Healthwise , the leading provider of patient educational content in the USA, now offers Healthwise content to Indian hospitals who want to improve their websites. This means that Indian hospitals can now get the exact same content which Healthwise provides in the USA - at a fraction of the cost ! Both HELP and Healthwise are non-profit organizations, whose mission it is to promote Information Therapy to help patients to make better decisions !

This means that hospital webmasters can get an instant painless Transfusion of Information Therapy ! This authoritative patient education library called the Healthwise Knowledgebase can be whitelabelled and plugged into your existing website within one week , thanks to our Technology Partners, Plus91.

As a result of including this Healthwise content, we are sure you will see a dramatic jump in your online traffic ! If this translates into even one more additional patient per week , you will recover your investment very quickly ! In fact, we are so sure about this, that we are happy to provide a free trial for one month. You need to pay for an annual license in advance. If your traffic does not improve by at least 50%, we will refund your money back.

What do you have to lose ? Please email me at malpani@vsnl.com and I'll be happy to provide more information !



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Monday, May 09, 2011

How can we reduce the side effects of Information Therapy ?

Many medicines are available over the counter ( OTC) . These are usually safe drugs, which have been used for many years . They are effective for common problems; have few side effects; and do not need a doctor's prescription. However, most medicines are still available only with a doctor's prescription. This is because medicines can be powerful , and while they may be very good at treating certain problems, they may also have undesirable side-effects. Experts need to make a decision regarding the risk-benefit ratio of these drugs, so they can select which drugs are so powerful that they can only be dispensed with a doctor's prescription.

Medicines form an important tool in the medical armamentarium. However, not all illnesses need medicines, and an increasingly important addition to the medical arsenal today is Information Therapy.

It's useful to remember that while Information Therapy can be effective and inexpensive, just like any other therapeutic tool, it can have side effects as well ! This is especially true with online medical information, because a lot of this is unreliable, outdated and plain wrong. Unfortunately, many people do not have the ability or sophistication to differentiate between good quality and poor quality information , and wrong information can actually harm a patient. Thus, patients with blocked tubes may end up wasting thousands of dollars on pursuing ineffective therapies such as Clear Passage ( massage therapy which claims to open blocked tubes) rather than do IVF; while men with low sperm counts end up getting frustrated after spending hundreds
on " herbal medications" which claim to boost low sperm counts but are completely useless !

Not only can unreliable information harm patients, it can also waste a lot of the doctor's
time, because he now has to remove the myths and misconceptions which patients have acquired online from unreliable websites, which are just out to earn a quick buck by peddling cures !

Just like powerful medicines need to be "prescribed" by a doctor, it's a good idea for doctors
( and hospitals and governments) to "prescribe" reliable information. Information Therapy is powerful medicine - and it needs to be promoted, so that patients benefit from it.

The best way to do this is to use reliable patient educational content, designed by non-profits such as Healthwise. You can see how well this works in real life by going to www.informationtherapy.in !


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Watch how your embryos grow in the IVF lab !

Sunday, May 08, 2011

What makes Malpani Infertility Clinic special !

Healthcare Unwired - Health Insurance and Healthcare Access

" PwC and India Health Progress (IHP) have released a whitepaper "Healthcare Unwired - Health Insurance and Healthcare Access" which recommends health insurance as one of the prime drivers behind increasing healthcare access in India. The whitepaper is the outcome of a roundtable meeting held on 24 January 2011 on Health Insurance at India Islamic Cultural Centre, Delhi. The conference was attended by various healthcare and health insurance industry leaders as well as policymakers who emphasized the need to bring in new health insurance schemes at different price points."

I was disappointed that the Report did not talk about how health insurance companies can promote health by prescribing Information Therapy ! It makes business sense for health insurance to empower patients with information - and this is a great opportunity to create a win-win for everyone !
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How an EMR can help doctors to become more productive

Managing time is a major issue for all professionals in today’s fast paced world. This is even more so for many doctors, especially those who work at multiple locations: Clinics, Hospitals and Medical centers. Workshops on effective time management are regularly organized at different financial and IT firms to help hard working professionals.

Physicians have a slightly bigger problem. Their schedules are majorly dependent on set appointments with patients. While they do have other areas of concern, the majority of their daily schedules are built around patient appointments. What complicates this for a consulting doctor is that every day he may have different visiting hours at different locations. This makes Time management even more crucial for Physicians.
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Services for Infertile Couples at Malpani Infertility Clinic

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Malpani Infertility Clinic - a guided tour

IVF - an emotional rollercoaster ride

Top Ten Things You Need To Know About Engaging Patients

The Institute for Health Technology Transformation is a US based organisation that brings together private and public sector leaders to foster the effective use of technology across the healthcare industry.

Their report, "Top Ten Things You Need To Know About Engaging Patients' is a compilation of what key health IT experts from across the U.S. think are the most important things to know about engaging patients in the digital age along with four key recommendations for practical action.

Mostly common sense. Doctors just need to ask a simple question - How would you like your lawyer to communicate with you ? Use the same principles to open as many communication channels with your patients, so it's easy for them to connect with you !
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Obama, Osama, Google and Healthwise

When Osama was tracked down, Obama was advised that there were two options to deal with him - a bomb attack; or a finely crafted precise surgical strike using helicopters. Obama quickly figured out that a bomb was too heavy duty to use and would cause a lot of collateral damage. Why use a hammer to kill a fly ?

This is equally true when you want health information. While it's true that google indexes millions of pages and billions of kilobytes, a lot of what google crawls is just rubbish, and the results only end up distracting users; confusing them; and infuriating their doctors . Google's focus is on being comprehensive and regurgitating as many pages as it can find ( which makes sense , because they make their money by showing as many ads as possible).

When you need health information, what you need is reliable trustworthy information which has been screened and tested for its authenticity and readability. The last thing you want to do when you are sick is to wade through pages of garbage. You need a tool which offers you what you need, quickly and efficiently, without wasting your time !

This is exactly where specialised patient education companies such as Healthwise shine. Healthwise provides you with high quality accurate information you can trust - this is all they do, and they do it very well indeed !

Seeing is believing, and if you want to see what "prescription quality information" looks like, when you have a health-related query, please do your next search at Healthwise ! I promise you it will save you a lot of time - and a lot of headaches as well !
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Friday, May 06, 2011

Searching for health information - why google is not always a good idea

It's become a knee jerk reflex for most people to use the web when they have a medical problem. They need information, and it's quite logical that the internet is the first place they turn to ( most people live in nuclear families and don't have a family physician, so they can no longer tap into the insights of their family doctor or the wisdom of their grandmother).

While the web is a great source of health information, unfortunately, using google to search for information is not always a smart thing to do. This is because while google is a great search engine, it's not always good at helping you to find reliable information. Google finds lots of stuff - but a lot of it is poor quality garbage - and google is not smart enough ( yet !) to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff !

For health searches, quality is far more important than quantity ! You do not need hundreds of search results - you just need one page of reliable, trust worthy, updated, easy to read information !

This is where the Healthwise Knowledgebase comes in ! Try searching google for any health problem - and then try searching the Healthwise database - and let me know which is better !



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Why patients prefer to travel to India for their IVF treatment

I just received this email from a patient in Mauritius.

" I prefer to do the treatment in India rather than Mauritius. This is because when we went for such treatment in Mauritius, we had lot of unnecessary psychological pressure from relatives and friends who always want to know what we are doing, some will even discourage us telling that it is waste of money, others say that at this age we WILL NOT get children, still other say that they have check DESTINY and there is no hope. I am sure you will understand the Hindu family mentality sometime!!"

Travelling to India for IVF makes a lot of financial sense - and can also help to reduce stress levels !


Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Dr Google is a quack !

When you need information on a health topic, the first thing you are likely to do is a google search. However, you will get fed up and frustrated very soon. Rather than help you find what you need, google will display hundreds of websites, many of which provide information which is outdated, unreliable , dangerous and even downright wrong ! You will just get confused and may end up sicker, simply because google has no way of judging how good or bad a medical website is. And as Mark Twain pointed out many years ago - " Be careful when you read a health book - you may die of a misprint !"

You need a better way of searching for health information as compared to google ! You need information which has been tested for its reliability and accuracy - knowledge which has been created by experts who understand your needs and specialise in providing only what you need - reliable , updated trustworthy information which is easy to read. You do not need hundreds of pages of rubbish - you need one page of clear, well-written information !

The good news is that there is a solution - the Healthwise Knowledgebase, which is produced by Healthwise, a non-profit organisation , and the world's largest producer of patient educational materials.

Try out this widget if you want to search the Healthwise Knowledgebase - it's a great way of finding reliable information on any health topic - and it's free !
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Monday, May 02, 2011

Happy with the EMR !

  • About 42% physicians use an electronic health record solution to document their patient care and about 1 in 3 uses an EHR during a patient encounter.
  • Overall, 62% of physicians and 81% of patients have a positive perception of documenting patient care electronically.
  • Forty-five percent of patients had a "very positive" perception of their physician or clinician documenting patient care with a computer or other electronic device.
  • More than 60% of physicians feel the best benefit to using EHR is the access they have to patient records in real time.
  • Physicians also believe that the ability to seamlessly share information with other doctors, pharmacies and payers are one among the most important benefits.
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IT Drives Patient Education

" In an earlier column, I complained that IT spends a lot of time providing electronic tools for clinicians--electronic health records (EHRs), computerized physician ordering systems (CPOS), etc.--but not enough time developing tools to improve patient education.

I was wrong. Digging deeper into this area has convinced me that there are all sorts of practical technology-based resources to help patients understand their treatment and how to comply with their doctors' advice. Computer-generated questionnaires, medication resolution programs, and sophisticated videos are making a difference in patient care. "

India can be a market leader in this space !

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