Thursday, November 17, 2005

Why don't Indian doctors do a better job of marketing themselves ?

Everyone acknowledges that Indian doctors are extremely competent and skilled. A significant proportion of doctors practising in the US and the UK are of Indian origin; and Indian doctors have proven that their abilities are world-class. However, even though doctors in India are equally skilled, and offer their services at a fraction of the cost of what doctors in the US charge, why aren't they able to attract patients from the USA ? After all, if a patient from New York is willing to fly down to Mayo Clinic for treatment for a complex problem to get world class care from the "best" surgeon, then flying down to India is really not much more difficult, is it ? And Indian doctors have far more clinical and surgical experience than their Western counterparts , simply because of their huge workloads ( the one thing India is not short of is patients !)

I think the problem is simply one of perception - Indian doctors have unfortunately not done a good job branding and marketing themselves. In the past, this was because marketing in the West was an expensive proposition which was well beyond their reach. Also, Indian doctors did not get a chance to publish their experience in medical journals, because most of these were published in the West, which was not very interested in articles from Indian doctors.
Today, however, the internet has dramatically changed things ! Patients are now actively looking for information on their medical problems, so they can seek out the most experienced doctor for themselves. There are few geographic limitations; and Indian medical care is a bargain ! The internet is very democratic, and which means all websites have an equally good chance of showing up - doctors with bigger budgets no longer have an unfair advantage, since publishing a website is so inexpensive.
Unfortunately, this is an opportunity Indian doctors have not woken up to as yet. Though they pay lip service to "medical tourism", there is little they do to actually display their skills and expertise on the web.
An excellent example would be the Muljibhai Patel Urological Hospital in Nadaid, Gujarat. Even though urologists worldwide acknowledge this hospital is a world-leader in providing state of the art care for complex kidney stones, you would never figure this out by visiting their website ! Not only is it boring, there is very little information about kidney stones; and it's hard to find out much about the hospital. Not only is the website just brochure-ware , to add insult to injury, it's a very boringly done brochure ! It should have been written for the patient; with the focus being on educating the patient about their disease; and then explaining why the hospital is the best choice for treatment. Why are Indian doctors so good at hiding their skills and expertise ? What a wasted opportunity !

1 comment:

  1. dear dr.malpani

    congrats on yet another nice venture. i liked ur patient information website.

    i agree that indian doctors are poor at marketing their skills to an international audience.

    why all this focus on medical tourism. should not quality care of its own citizens be the priority for indian doctors?

    arunkumar ganesan

    COI- indian trained doctor working in nhs england.


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