Friday, July 09, 2010

From medical practitioners to medical entrepreneurs

This is a guest post from my friend, Dr. Shalini Ratan, MD, Founder , Nirvan Life Sciences Pvt. Ltd. at

Health care today is unlike health care yesterday.

The healthcare market is growing by leaps and bounds. According to reliable sources, the market size for the private sector in healthcare has shot up from Rs 85,500 crore in 2006 to Rs 1, 48,050 crore now. This accounts for 80 per cent of the total market—the highest share in the world. About 15 hospital projects are slated to open this year. The number of doctors and nurses enrolled in medical colleges and nursing schools will have to triple over the next 10 years. An additional 520,000 students physicians will be required by 2012.

In this scenario there is enormous scope for clever medical professionals. However, with this demand come new challenges! Doctors need to learn new skills in order to keep their patients satisfied, because the modern breed of patients are evolving as consumers and demand much more attention from their doctor. At the same time one has to overcome the hurdles to achieve higher goals in practice. Doctors in private practice will need to develop themselves to compete with the corporate hospitals which have a marketing team for their service promotion, huge marketing budgets and well groomed medical practitioners. So at the end of the day, to provide complete healthcare experience to the patients the doctor has to play the role of a medical expert as well as a medical entrepreneur.

The role of a medical practitioner today is not only of a clinician and an academician, but also a manager and implementer for providing excellent medical services. And this requires a “Mindset Shift” of the medical professionals.

A doctor invests almost a decade in becoming a trained professional through technical education and internship. However the formal medical education fails to train the doctors in some key skill areas. A doctor to be highly effective need to learn art of communication with their patients, build a compassionate doctor – patient relationship and be highly efficient in operational skills. As doctors are not groomed in a corporate environment they need to polish their skills to become Medical Entrepreneurs.

Enhancing Doctor - Patient Relationship is an area of importance today. There is a need to empower and engage patients in today’s technology driven era. Knowledge and understanding of the needs of patients and their families now is more crucial than ever in providing exceptional patient service. Today a doctor’s reputation is driven by the combination of patient experience and perception of services provided to them.

The medical professionals would need to re-think about enhancing doctor-patient relationship, should be able to understand the basic principles of medical practice management, develop familiarity with the language of healthcare marketing and acquire various soft skills like communication, handling team and understanding the online digital world. This would help them handle medical practice effectively.

A doctor would need to combine multiple talents - technical expertise in their specialty; understanding the importance of hospitality in the hospital ; and above all, developing a compassionate and empathetic approach in order to create loyal patients.

So the need for a doctor today is to have a patient centric approach, practice medicine effectively as a professional, not a trade and earn profit smartly.

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