Thursday, February 03, 2011

How we deal with patient complaints at Malpani Infertility Clinic

As a boutique IVF clinic which provides highly personalized care to infertile couples in a comfortable setting, we take great pride in our customer service. We pamper our patients and do our best to keep them happy. While the outcome of any IVF cycle is always uncertain, we do our best to make sure the process is as stress-free as possible. We do this by listening carefully to our patients and involving them actively in their treatment by educating them and sharing information with them.

However, there will always be some patients who are unhappy with us and who have complaints about us. I guess this is inevitable when we do over 400 IVF cycles every year. Not all IVF cycles are going to be successful – and patients who have failed IVF cycles are often likely to be unhappy and discontented.

The IVF doctor is often a soft target for complaints by unhappy patients and this is something every doctor needs to come to terms with.

Now, many doctors simply don’t care. They brush off patient’s complaints or ignore them. They allow their juniors to deal with angry or unhappy patients – and many will refuse to even acknowledge the patient’s angst and unhappiness. They feel if a patient is unhappy with them, the patient should go somewhere else , their approach being – Good riddance to bad rubbish ! After all, there are lots of other patients out there, aren’t they ?

Because we are a boutique clinic, we treat each complaint with respect. I feel that every complaint is a gift – and do our best to learn from it, so we can prevent problems from recurring. Now I know it’s not possible to keep all patients happy all the time – but we do try to do our best.

We make it a point to listen respectfully to all our patients – and if they have a problem, I encourage them to talk to me, so I can help fix the problem ! This is why it hurts so much when patients make false allegations and complaints about us on websites. Thanks to online bulletin boards and online doctor grading sites , it’s now very easy for any disgruntled patient to make any allegation about any doctor - even if there is not an iota of truth in this ! A doctor is a soft target and it’s easy for a patient to harm a lifetime’s professional reputation by a false complaint . Unfortunately, not all websites bother to check the authenticity or reliability of these complaints , which means that even if I have 999 happy patients, 1 unhappy patient can spoil my digital reputation.

Ideally, webmasters should realise how fragile a doctor’s reputation is and how much it means to him. Complaints against a doctor should first be emailed to the doctor, who should be given a chance to provide an rebuttal. This is a basic principle of natural justice ! Only when this is done, should the complaint be published, if it still deserves to see the light of day. If not, then unethical doctors can post ( or get their cronies to post) false complaints about other clinics who are in competition with them – and this can set off a slinging match which harms everyone.

Allowing the online publication of unmoderated complaints about doctors without giving a doctor a chance to protect himself is a low blow against doctors and will strike another nail in the fragile doctor-patient relationship. Doctors will start seeing all patients as possible complainers – leading to an unhappy and adversarial relationship, and hurting both doctors and patients !
Patients need to provide feedback about their doctors – both good and bad ! However, this should be done in a healthy fashion, so that everyone benefits from this feedback !

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1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:01 AM

    This is pretty interesting… I hope you don’t mind if I write about it on my blog and link back to you?

    Thanks for the great information!

    I Want to Get Pregnant blog


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