Saturday, January 23, 2010

Dr Malpani, what makes you better than other IVF clinics ?

One of my patients challenged me with this provocative question recently - Dr Malpani, what makes you better than other IVF clinics ? Why should I come to you ? All IVF clinics claim to be the best and have high success rates - what makes you so special ?

This is a thought provoking question, which I am sure many of my patients must be wondering about as well. ( Fortunately, most are too polite to ask me to my face. ) I had to think through a reasoned reply, which would allow the patient to judge the competence of a clinic - and what makes us better.

It boils down to two groups of factors - intangible and tangible.

1. The intangible factors include things like: bedside manner; clinical skills ; ambiance; our reputation; trust and transparency.
2. The tangible factors include things like : our equipment and facilities; and the quality of the embryos we create in our lab.

Now it's hard to judge intangible factors. All doctors feel they have the best bedside manner in the world - and I am no exception ( though I am sure some of my patients may disagree, especially when I am tired or upset). Part of the reason we are experts at what we do is because of our practise setting. We are a boutique clinic which is a focussed factory. We provide a high quality service with lots of hand holding and pampering, because we treat only infertile couples who need IVF. This allows to develop a lot of experience and expertise very quickly. We take pride in our transparency; spend a lot of time in educating our patients; and are very good at communicating with them.

Our facilities are state of the art, as we use the best equipment available globally. But this must be true of lots of other IVF clinics as well - and how is the poor patient to understand which incubator is better ; or why one embryo transfer catheter is better than another ?

This brings me to the crux of the issue. Not only are we very good - we take pride in our skills and are happy to display them publicly ! This is why we routinely take photographs of our patients' embryos and provide these to them. This allows us to show our expertise to our patients - after all, the fact that we have made embryos means we are experts at IVF - and this kind of tangible evidence provides patients with peace of mind that they have received good quality medical care !

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