A patient came to see me today with her five-year-old daughter. She'd done IVF at our clinic 6 years ago, and now wanted to complete her family. While we were chatting , she was telling me what a happy mom she was , and how much pleasure her daughter had brought to her life. She then added a zinger - "However, Dr. Malpani, there is a complaint about you which I need to share with you." I was a little taken aback. Given the fact that she was so happy that we'd given her a deeply loved baby in her very first IVF treatment cycle with us, why would she have any grounds to complain ? After all, the fact that she had come back to us for her second child meant that she was delighted with us, correct ?
When she realised I looked confused, she clarified - "The problem with you, Dr. Malpani, is that you spoil your patients. You pamper us; you answer e-mails promptly; you don't force us to come to the clinic to clarify minor doubts; you are open and transparent; and you share your knowledge with us. You have well-defined systems and processes in place, and you empower us with information, so we know exactly what's happening."
I said, "Isn't that a good thing? Shouldn't you be happy I am doing this? Don't all good doctors do this?"
She replied, "That's exactly what the problem is. Most doctors don't do this. Most of them hoard information and hide their medical knowledge. They are very possessive about it, and guard it as a precious secret. Their approach is, "I am the medical expert , and as a patient, you just need to trust me. Just do what I tell you to , and that'll be enough. After all, you're just a patient, so how will you understand any of my technical explanations ?"
This is a completely diametrical approach to ours . We fervently believe that patients need to be in charge of their health care. We feel that the more they know , the better for them - and the better for the doctor as well.
She continued, " You don't make us wait, and we don't have to go through layers of assistants in order to get in touch with you. We get quick replies to our e-mails and you share all your knowledge with us on your website. Then, when we go to another doctor, we expect the same kind of treatment, However, we are quickly brought back to earth with a rude shock. They are never on time; they don't answer our questions ; and we have no clue what's happening. This means we are unhappy with their services, and we need to keep on hunting until we find a doctor like you, and that's not always easy."
I am taking her feedback as a back-handed compliment, and I hope that as patients will start demanding better services from their doctors, the new generation of digitally empowered doctors will step up and provide these to them, by leveraging technology cleverly, to improve their productivity and efficiency !
Need help in getting pregnant ? Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at www.drmalpani.com/free-second-opinion so that I can guide you !