The Google Doctor!

Having had the privilege to spend some fantastic time with the stakeholders in the healthcare community, cannot help but sharing a mind blogging and truly insightful discussion I happened to be a part of, which generally remains closed for the outsiders.

For maintaining anonymity and not causing any heads turn, would name the doc as D and myself as Me:

Me: “So doc, hows everything?”

D: “What to tell! Patients these days are reading so much on Google and then they argue about anything and everything that we tell them, thereby wasting our precious time which we can give to other patients, also delaying the diagnosis.”

Me: “But isn’t that great, prospective patients becoming more receptive?”

D: “It’s not so simple, my friend.”

What was to follow was nothing short of a discovery in itself!

D: “It’s not that, we doctors, don’t want to share. Of course, we do and of course we would want everyone to become self-aware when it comes to physiology or anatomy, but somehow if you were in my shoes, you would not beg to differ. 

First of all, for the same symptoms, there could be infinite number of possibilities, and in places like India, especially when everyone is trying to save few bucks, for the want of it, or for the lack of it, you cannot recommend too much of diagnosis, unless the case is critical enough. 

Yes, in few instances, precious time is wasted, but if you were to write a plethora of tests, which, by the way, would lead to accurate diagnosis, you would be labeled an inexperienced doctor or a pricy one, in both cases, your practice would suffer and with the kind of cheap competition that we all have gone into, it would end up in a disaster, leave alone for those who have paid hefty prices to get into a private medical college of sorts and leave alone the quality of education being imparted. 

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Even after you have got the results, as they say, to err is human, and I would be honest in admitting that there are cases where we miss upon on the critical information, might be due to lack of awareness/knowledge or may be we were just too stressed out. 

And on top of that, when there are 100s of patients to be seen in a day with an expectation of getting the best solution/medicine in the lowest possible cost, it becomes an inhumanly affair to handle, after all we are humans and not robots, which reminds me of the fantastic work that you guys are putting in to make our lives easier, wonder why one section of the healthcare community is so averse to adapting new things and technology, knowing very well that it would ultimately benefit the mankind and the entire healthcare community. 

Coming back to the diagnosis, which is the key, when it comes to treatment or recognizing the prognosis of a disease, it still very much remains an art which doctors gain from experience, though with the state-of-the-art research happening, it’s becoming more and more scientific and logical in nature, though I believe there is a long way before we reach a stage where we have a machine, which gives you diagnosis in a fraction of a second. 

Having said that, we doctors, try to be as patient as possible, try to put ourselves in patient’s shoes and try to maintain an EQ (emotional quotient) which I would say is much higher than in other sectors, considering the kind of unnatural demands that the entire community faces on a daily basis, not to mention having to bear the brunt of the patients and their families, when we aren’t able to fulfill the same. 

As a community, it would have been wonderful, if we were more in number, if we had distributed workload, if the doctors were united internally, not playing a part in the rat race or the corrupt practices. 

Having said the above, it still remains a very noble profession, it still gives me immense pride and pleasure along with the un-measurable satisfaction, when I save a life, which I believe no other job can offer. 

One thing I would, in any case, mention, trust an experienced doctor, even though, they might not be the BRAHMA of sorts, yet, they definitely would know much more than a GOOGLE or what any other website can offer, for GOOGLE just bombs you with the plethora of information, what sense you make out of it, still very much remains the prerogative of the doctor or in times to come the likes of machines and bots. 

Source for the Image: http://healthnewsng.com/more-nigerian-doctors-are-applying-for-us-residency-program/

The Healthcare Dream!

It’s not very often when you get up in the middle of the night to figure out that you have a swollen foot. Somehow, you don’t know what to do, whom to ask? And waking up your family members for no urgent reason as such doesn’t make sense.

But you gotta do something, for the fear of the same getting aggravated. You move out into your living room to deliberate on the possible options. Putting soframycin would make sense as a lay man, but the fear of the same having a disastrous reaction with the seemingly fungal infection going through your foot makes you take a pause.

You go to the likes of Google and try to find a possible solution for the same, only to be confused even more with the plethora of symptoms mentioned and the possible permutations and combinations.

What you end up realizing is that you need a medical practitioner to take care of the symptoms. You wish there was a medical friend, philosopher and guide, a medical resource available at the click of a button, whom you could call and possibly share a pic of your foot to be instructed about the immediate step to be taken and then a follow up the next morning.

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May be, if you were living in the 1990s, you wouldn’t even dare to bring such a thought in your mind and revert to exploring the option of waking up your family doctor, that is if you had one.

But today’s India is very different with the no. of MedTech solutions that tend to be sprouting up every single day of our lives with every new start-up idea taking the shape of a company in every nook and corner of the start-up hubs.

Telemedicine is no more a dream. The three key things related to healthcare sector in particular, be it accessibility, affordability or availability are being addressed for different conditions with customized solutions available for each one of them.

How wonderful it would be, when everything in the entire scheme of things in the healthcare sector, would be automated, ranging from appointment to availability of health records on a platform, from diagnosis being done by computers to medicines provided at door step by the pharmacies registered on the same platform.

Still, some work needs to be done when it comes to integrating the functionalities of every stakeholder and bringing them to a common platform, where a seamless and efficient interaction can take place between the patients and the doctors and pain points for both can be taken care of with the help of associated players (e.g. pharmacies and diagnostic centers).

The day is not far when the healthcare dream will be fulfilled with dedicated start-up individuals taking the onus on their shoulders to make this world a better place to live in. After all, this is what lies at the core of happy living, isn’t it?

Source for Image: http://www.conrisnurses.co.uk/