Many doctors if not all may not be noticing the change in patient behaviour. Let us look at some of the comments that I have heard:

1. Yes I agree he is a good doctor, but there is no parking available, so I am looking for a change. If you think this is shocking, think again. This is a genuine customer statement.

2. You know like my cousins come from US, I go to Coimbatore for my dental treatment. I anyway have to go AT LEAST once a year as my parents and in laws are there, I go there for my family’s dental treatment. The savings vis-a-vis Bandra where I live is much more than worthwhile. The dentist being my classmate in Coimbatore means I manipulate him to open at 6am to treat me. God bless classmates. This is a genuine customer statement.

3. Subra give us 10 years in the medical insurance business and you will be paying LESS for all kinds of medical treatment if YOU are covered by a medical cover by our company. This is because we will be negotiating with a big chain for 5000 operations – and are sure to get a skill+time based pricing. 2024? Well this was the business head of a general insurance company.

4. If the cost of an operation / intervention is a function of real estate price, facilities, JUNIOR doctors skill and patience AND senior doctor’s time, we will price interventions real cheap. We will remove the role of geography. We will locate out hospital on the outskirts and provide free transport to the patients. The difference will be mind blogging. Statement by an ‘aggregator’ who is aggregating the service providers (dentists, drug shops, opthals, surgeons, etc.)

So doctors please wake up, get money savvy and business savvy please. The world is changing. You can charge Rs. 14,000 for a root canal surgery, only till you find somebody charging 1400.

The net allows all kind of aggregating – buying and selling.

Book sales will go for a toss. If kindle allows an E download of a book, will it soon allow me to buy specific chapters instead of the whole book? Just a thought….

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  1. Change is the only constant and permanent factor. The earlier one realsies this , better it is. Survival of the fittest, who can adapt , is thy norm.

  2. Yes, changing doctor because there is no parking space may sound strange, but I DID it !! We had a very good children’s doctor. But to reach his clinic, we had to park 60-70 mts away, then cross a busy 6 lane road holding my 6 month old baby in arms. Due to loud horns of vehicles, she used to cry even before we reached the clinic (yes, they also cry after getting injection !!). We changed to another decent doctor in a different clinic where you can park in the clinic’s compound and walk in !!

  3. well I too came across patients asking us to operate in the “new” hospital with the well furnished rooms and ample parking.
    also unlike before we are more accessible to patients by phone/sms/mail
    PHYSICS OF THE FUTURE is a good book predicting changes in most areas of life for the next century. its author says that the virtual doctor will come to your home in future for most routine issues.

  4. Subra Sir

    Many doctors dont value the time of their patients I felt. They have no issue if their patients are waiting for hours in the waiting room, or even allowing medical rep’s too much time in the rush hours. Mind you i have changed doctors for this attitude.

  5. Oreilly is allowing for 10usd/20usd one can read entire 5/10 books a month. One can read in pc/ipad. My company has a group deal for unlimited books. I stopped buying books because of that.

  6. A tech savy doctor is better bet. I know a doctor who keeps all the records in form of soft copy. Appointments are neat. In todays world, its good doctor + facility plays important factor.

    That is one of the reason why people dont mind visiting big hospital with good process.

  7. one thing i hate is when doctors have ‘no mobile phones’ warning on their door, but love to pick up their own phone while dealing with a patient (talking, listening, checking reports, examining patient body, treating a wound, etc.). it is like the house of lords v/s house of commons syndrome… how hard is it to give your mobile to the receptionist who can interrupt you in case of any emergency?

    things like these initiate the trigger of thought – ‘is this guy really so good that i have to put up with this’ – and very soon, you see they start falling from the pedestal we put them on…

  8. Dear Subra,

    My relatives and friends who stay in b’lore get their general check ups and dental checkups when they visit m’lore. These check ups in m’lore save them enough money to pay for their travelling costs. Every 3 to 6 months they will have a function to attend in m’lore.

  9. @ Mr.Param – Generally,it’s the official calls that doctors pick up.It would be highly unprofessional for them to take personal calls while dealing with a patient.Likewise,patients should keep their personal business ( phone calls) out of the doctor’s/lawyer’s/…. office!
    @ Wealthucreate – being tech savvy and keeping electronic medical records has it’s own pitfalls.In developed countries including Singapore,there have been numerous complaints about the doctor staring at his screen and looking up old med records/inputting new data instead of conversing with a patient.The EMR system ultimately becomes more important than good old fashioned clinical and people skills.My personal take on the EMR system is that it was made up by managers to keep track of and make billing easier!It also makes the patient complacent about their illness as they know that their doctor has everything ‘in the system’ and hence do not feel the need to keep a track of their illness.Try asking a patient who is used to the EMR about their past medical history and all u get out of him/her is a blank stare 🙁

  10. We changed a doctor because his secretary was rude. The secretary would come up with several new rules by himself while taking up appointment, phone calls, allowing patient to enter doctor’s room. It used to create chaos and he was very inefficient in handling it. We complaint about him to the doctor. As neither the doctor change his secretary nor the secretary changed his attitude, we changed the doctor.

  11. insurance companies trying to negotiate volume discounts is one of the best jokes I have heard!! That was supposed to be the TPA’s job- now either the TPAs have failed or the hospitals/doctors dont care. Its common for hospitals to ask if a person has health insurance before billing – obviously higher rates if you are insured.
    BTW a preliminary dental check in Singapore costs SGD 80 whilst a full root canal with cap can cost as much or as little as INR 3-4,000. You do the math.
    Secondly if insurance companies stopped cosying up to loss making (between 150%-300%) Corporate customers, the average person could get cheaper health insurance.
    Perversely its the retail sector common man who is subsidising the Corporate – who can afford to pay higher premia.

  12. @Ram: Tell me about it. We once got a number of a Psychiarist in Kolkata – on calling her, she asked us to call her secretary to schedule an appointment. The secretary asked us to come to the office personally to make an appointment for a future date. We told him we are in Bhubaneswar while the office is in Kolkata & he said – ‘that’s your problem, not mine’. On calling his boss again, she didn’t pick up the phone. If these guys are really so good, perhaps I would not have been able to afford them anyway!!!

    @Arjun: I’m sure he wasn’t discussing cricket or vegetables during the call. But I’m also sure that none of the calls seemed to be of emergency kind. I would still consider it unprofessional that the time assigned to me (after waiting for hours) cannot be given in a dedicated manner. I would much prefer that they charge per hour or minute, as long as the time belongs to me (& my case)…

  13. If the donation for a medical seat in a decent college stands at 30L to 60L and the fees at 9L/year, will the medical profession get the respect it used to in olden days. I have adequate knowledge of the Health insurance as an A/A but know for certain from personal experience that once a patient gets into the medical / hospital circuit ( chakravyuha) it is difficult to come out w/o a lighter pocket.

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