Monday, January 16, 2012

How to distribute patients more fairly amongst doctors

One of the problems with private medical practice today is that the busy doctors are very very busy; while other doctors ( who are equally competent but don’t have a “brand name” ) don't have enough patients to see , which is why they waste their time twiddling their thumbs. This kind of mismatch and inequitable distribution of demand for medical services creates a lot of unhappiness for doctors and patients as well.

The busy doctors act as prima donnas. They are extremely rushed and don't have enough time to do justice to their patients. Ironically, their patients are unhappy too , because they often have to wait for hours on end to see their doctor. Even worse , society loses on the expertise and the ability of the young doctors who may actually be even better technically than the more senior ones , but because they don't have the brand-name , are not being able to attract any patients.

This is actually a great opportunity for clever entrepreneurs to create a platform in order to solve this inequitable distribution problem. Part of the problem arises because of the perception of risk on the part of the patient. When you fall sick , you want to make sure you go to the best possible doctor available . This is usually the guy with the best brand-name - the one with the top reputation ( which may often not be deserved; and is often bought by using clever PR services and huge marketing budgets).

Patients are reluctant to find out if there are other doctors who could provide equally high quality services. It is very difficult to discover how good your doctor really is ; and what his skill and experience and expertise are , which is why you use his “ reputation “ as a surrogate marker for your doctors capabilities .

Here’s a solution. It’s possible to create a platform where patients could upload their medical records and ask specific questions about their medical problems on this platform . Doctors who have spare time and are anxious to see more patients could then offer to provide second opinions , preferably free of cost, to these patients. This way you’re setting up a competition amongst doctors for the patient's services - and the patient then gets a chance sitting at home to evaluate the doctor’s replies . Amongst the replies which he gets , he can then pick and choose which particular doctor he wants to go to ( based on the timeliness and quality of the doctor’s reply !) .

This is a system which is likely to be extremely helpful for patients because it allows them to get multiple second opinions that inform and educate them about all their treatment options. It’s also good for doctors because the non-busy doctors will have enough time and energy to devote to crafting high-quality answers to questions which will allow them to attract more patients. The extremely busy doctors would not be affected anyway because they're very busy seeing real life patients , so that they really couldn't care much about some of the patients going off to another doctor.

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1 comment:

  1. You can always distribute the patients to the doctors of specific field. Isn't it much appropriate?
    oceanside health clinic


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