Friday, October 14, 2011

Why I expect my patients to become experts

I work hard at maintaining my technical skills , so I can continue to offer my patients world-class IVF treatment. But just like my patients expect me to be an expert, I expect my patients to be experts as well. In fact , I suggest that they do their homework before coming and seeing me – and in between visits as well ! This is good for them - and it's good for me as well

It ensures that they have realistic expectations of the treatment. They understand that no matter how good an IVF doctor I may be, the success rate is never going to be hundred percent. Even if the IVF cycle fails , if they have a clear understanding of the process , at least they have peace of mind they got the best possible medical treatment.

When patients take the time and trouble to become experts, it helps me to maintain my expertise and my professional edge as well. Because they're well informed, they keep me on my tools by asking me challenging questions which I do my best to answer. Expert patients can be the best form of continuing medical education for a doctor ! All good doctors learn medicine all the time from their patients and well informed patients can do a much better job of teaching their doctors ! Expert patients and expert doctors can help set up a positive virtuous cycle , which allows both of them to keep on improving all the time.

As part of my professional responsibility as a doctor, I need to create and provide tools to my patients to enable them to learn for themselves. After all, the word doctor is derived from the word “docere” , which means “ to teach” . While it does take time, effort and money to create these tools, once they've been created they can be used multiple times , making them a very cost-effective investment of my time and energy.

Of course , I still have to draw the line sometimes. I am the doctor, and am in charge of providing the medical treatment and it’s my job to make sure that I do not allow patients to make a decision which I feel can harm them, no matter how expert they may be !

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