Thursday, October 04, 2012

Patient complaints about Dr Malpani

Even though we do our best to provide high quality medical care to all our patients, I'm sure there are some patients who are not happy with us and have complaints about our services. We pay close attention to these complaints ,  so that we can try to fix these problems.

Most complaints fall into three different groups.

1.    That we are expensive
2.    That I am too brutally honest
3.    That we expect our patients to do their homework

Let’s look as these one at a time.

As regards our being expensive , it's very hard to decide what is expensive and what is not. While it may be true that we charge more than other IVF clinics in India , it is also equally true that our treatment is much more cost-effective because of our higher success rates . We provide much more personalized care as compared to most other clinics . Also, if you compare our rates with what clinics in the US and UK charge , we are a bargain ! This is why I am sure whether this is a valid criticism. It’s true that patients don't like spending money on medical care , and when they go in for IVF treatment, they are likely to get a bit of a sticker shock . However, we are very open and transparent about what our costs are going to be
( our rates are published online on our website !); and if patients are prepared for this, I don't think they have any grounds for complaint.

 Yes , I am extremely frank and forthright. I try not to sugarcoat stuff and am very straightforward in my explanation . If I think patients have a poor prognosis, I will tell them this to their face rather than try to mollycoddle them or sugarcoat the truth . It’s easy for me to tell patients what they want to hear and to overpromise, but I don't think this approach helps anyone. While I'm sure my being honest may turn off some patients, I think in the long run it's better that they realize that sometimes the truth can be bitter ; and the sooner they accept this , the easier it is for them to carry on with their lives and find a solution which works for them.

Finally , we do expect our patients to do their homework . We think information therapy is critical to ensuring that our patients have realistic expectations of what we can do for them - and what we can't . This requires that they be engaged and involved in their medical care. After all the outcome of any IVF cycle is always uncertain , and intelligent patients who understand exactly what we're doing are much  more likely to be happy with us , no matter what the outcome , as compared to poorly informed patients, who complain bitterly when the IVF cycle fails . We prefer not having angry patients, and the best way of doing this is by educating them, so they know exactly what we can control , and what we can't. While the IVF process itself should be a happy and positive one, the outcome is not something which is in our hands, and the sooner patients understand this , the better for them and the better for us as well. We help patients to do their homework ; and have created a lot of unique tools , including e-learning courses , games and comic books , all of which are available free online , so that they can become well-informed IVF patients. I understand it's not possible to keep everyone happy all the time , but this is what our quest is !

3 comments:

  1. Dear Dr,

    Don't you think there is an enormous difference between being honest and brutally honest? If patients think that you are "blunt" then isn't it time that you change the way you tell them certain things instead of defending yourself? You are a doctor and the people who come to you (patients) are already emotionally vulnerable. Even the most hurting truth can be said in the nicest way possible. Can you be brutally honest as well as empathetic and compassionate at the same time?Should DOCTORS be brutally honest?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I try to be kind - why would I want to hurt my patients ?

    It's just some patients may perceive this frankness as being cruel !

    Dr Aniruddha Malpani, MD
    Malpani Infertility Clinic, Jamuna Sagar, SBS Road, Colaba
    Bombay 400 005. India
    Tel: 91-22-22151065, 22151066, 2218 3270, 65527073

    Helping you to build your family !

    My Facebook page is at www.facebook.com/Dr.Malpani

    You can follow me on twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/drmalpani

    Watch our infertility cartoon film at http://www.ivfindia.com

    Read our book, How to Have a Baby - A Guide for the Infertile Couple,
    online at www.DrMalpani.com !

    Read my blog about improving the doctor-patient
    relationship at http://blog.drmalpani.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dr, why do we have sugar-coated pills? Many patients cannot tolerate the bitterness of the pill and tend to spit it out (voluntarily or by their bodies involuntary action!). Pill is good and it helps them to get better. If a patient's physical needs are given importance and sugar-coated pills are manufactured why can't their emotional needs be taken care of by using sugar-coated words? Can't sugar-coated words deliver a honest message? I am not accusing you of being unkind, I am just asking should doctors be brutally honest? Honesty is good, is brutality good in anyway? Might be too straightforwardly delivered messages are rejected by human mind just like bitter pills are rejected by our body, then what is the point of being honest when the message is not received properly?

    ReplyDelete

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