The greatest wealth in the world has not been created by inheritance – but by investing!

It is only this generation that can make this comment. We are lucky to be living in times when we can make this statement. Let us take examples of Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, L N Mittal, Azim Premji, Ambani, …and I could go on.

If you are wondering what this means for doctors, read on!

Very rarely do doctors seek advice on investing in their own ‘profession’ – and try to make it a business. They seek outside wealth creation in investments. Clearly wealth creation from your own ‘profession’ – being converted into a business is a great thing to do. Is it possible for a doctor to do so? I think yes.

Ask Dr. Prathap Reddy – the founder of Apollo Hospitals.

If you are a doctor earning well it is time you tried converting the profession into a business. This means you are earning not only on your skills as a doctor, but also on the ability to leverage the skills as a doctor-cum-businessman. What are the steps required for this metamorphosis from a larvae to a butterfly?

Well the following steps would be nice:

1.    Decide on how to grow the business – geographically (chain of small clinics with your brand name?) or by creating a hospital.

2.    Once you decide to set up a hospital – look for a good location where you can one day grow to be a really big hospital.

3.    Make a business plan – make your strategy, invest in resources, work the strategy and just do it!

4.    Be ready to let go of non medical functions to a partner with good management skills. Such a

person should be brought in early in life so that the business can grow.

5.    Spend time on good systems, people, marketing, brand building, etc.

6.    Keep in mind funding sources – angel investors, venture capital and then listing. It is clearly the best way to create big wealth.

8. Create a team – dentists, gynaec, opthal, …create your own team and offer management services to many hospitals lying under utilized.

7.    Creating a big business has to start with a nice idea, perhaps a couple of like minded people to team up with you and the guts to launch the business.

8. Make sure that you create an administrative team, a sales team, a marketing team, PR, brand building – remember that in today’s world all these are just as important as the main MEDICAL profession.

You are not mentally, physically, financially ready for this step? However, you wish to do that in the future? Till then work hard, earn money, pay taxes and invest aggressively in Mutual fund SIPs, pharma companies that you are comfortable with, etc. Then work on the business plan to do the above business. Stop buying properties and some stupid shares just because you got some advise.

Once your capital is ready, take the plunge. Do not keep waiting forever.

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  1. Doesn’t that create a conflict of interest?

    From my understanding a doctor is supposed to be doing a public service and earn appropriately for providing the service, so that he can live his life comfortably as well.

    But as a businessman with VCs and Angel Investors, wouldn’t this probably turn into an exercise to maximize the profit for your investors and yourself?

    In some ways, I now see why the well-being of the patients is considered as secondary. The hospitals or doctors try to extract the maximum from the patients or insurers (many a times with exaggerated or false reporting) without feeling guilty, as they think .. Unke baap ka kaunsa paisa ja raha hai, we are just getting it from the bloody insurers.

    What they forget though is that as a consequence this ends up increasing the premiums for all the participants, as they are running a business for profit too.

    Anyway, it will be naive to think that doctors now enter the profession for the passion of it, they are anyway into it for the sake of money. So what the heck, lets make it a business and loot the most vulnerable, who have no choice whether to take this service or not.

  2. Doctors are supposed to devote their life doing the public service ( which anyways most of them are already doing ) , while the MBA s , IT and other nth type of Engineering graduates , Bureaucrats , Politicians , Babus and so on , have got birth right to remain self centered , to lead a highly materialistic selfish life , to buy the most expensive , latest gadgets and to take foreign vacations as frequently as possible , without any responsibility towards Society. 90% of doctors are still highly underpaid in comparison of the time , effort , money they have invested .
    Every body has got budget for expensive car , holidays , Mobile , TV etc , but no budget for their own health care . and when they have to pay for it , they start crying and claims to get looted .

    What a double Standard and height of Hippocracy !!

  3. Prasoon,

    To each his own experience I guess. If you see 6.5 Lac of bill for a Femur bone hairline crack. Or when you have to literally beg/fight with a hospital management after a month of stay without any remedy so that you can take your loved ones to get an external Doctor recommendation, then maybe the viewpoint of Selfless or Genuine doctors changes.

    I had worked for an year as an Medical Representative and trust me the experience was enlightening. So much so, that I refused to sit for any Pharma company during my MBA even if I was the only one in my batch with relevant experience.

    PS: Just to state that my Brother is a doctor and 100% agrees to your view and as for me, I am totally out of Pharma Domain.

  4. Hi Shobha , sorry to hear about your personal bad experience .

    But you would agree that isolated bad/good experiences , could be used to make generalized opinion .

    Regarding hairline fracture : Bone could be either broken ( displaced or undisplaced : all are equally bad ) or non broken , but the term hairline fracture , i could not find in any medical literature .

    Regarding femur fracture ( as hairline fracture you like to describe ) reason may be mostly a violent trauma ( generally in young adults ) or may be because of a life endangering cancer . for which cost of treatment ( with ofcourse , only best of the efforts guaranteed ) could escalate into lacs of lacs rupees .

    Anyways , Doctors bashing could be done some other day , The point Subra sir , want to raise , is very genuine and could be a road map , atleast, for future endeavor .

  5. Hi Prasoon. The day the medical profession is associated more with a commercial motive than the Hippocratic oath (modern versions anyway), it should not be called the ‘Noble profession’. If you think medical professionals have a ‘right’ to earn money like their engineering/management brethren, then probably we should take commercial quotes from various medical establishments before taking treatment. After all, money first, right? Other professions offer ‘warranties/guarantees’, do you think this should be applicable to doctors?
    One wonders why the medical profession is highly coveted, justifying the high donations/fees.

  6. One of the highly thought provoking set of comments I’ve seen in a while!
    Finding a good family doctor is really tough. Once done, I want to go to him/her wherever they consult – in corporate hospital or own clinic.
    I’ve gone to lot of doctors in the past (for my relatives too), most of them are money-minded and prescribe costlier medicines, especially the ones in corporate hospitals.
    As for Subra Sir’s post, I think this is contradictory to an earlier one he wrote (last week I think) – if you get sick, go to a small nursing home/AP clinic, where they focus on profession alone. Both blogs may stand good though!
    But yes, almost all corporate hospitals overcharge, especially in case of insurance coverage.

  7. Two days back when I read the first comment of Harpreet, I too wanted to counter it exactly like Prasoon did. Both Harpreet and Prasoon have relevant points. But both of them cannot be generalised. If there are corrupt doctors and hospitals, there are good doctors and hospitals (even corporate ones). Similarly if there are self centered engineers, MBAs etc, there are people of the same communities working selflessly towards betterment of the society at large.

    The question to be asked is why have such selfish attitudes started in a once noble profession like medical profession. The day the private sector was allowed into this field the situation started going out hand. The govt hospitals were never improved. The situation there went gradually from bad to worse and slowly the common man started drifting to private hospitals.

    Then came the demand. Even the poorest of the poorest today says “doctor sahab, acchi mehengi dawai likh dena”. If the attitude of any common man is such, then surely the condition is going to be worse. No one wants to buy generic medicines but everyone wants to complain that medicines are costly

    The day medical profession was covered under CONSUMER FORUM, we declared that it was a business. So the private hospitals said if you want it be covered similarly like other businesses so be it, we shall also work like a “BUSINESS”. They started increasing their rates for the services and started exploiting the situation. They started engaging famous doctors at high salaries to increase their business. Now they had to save for the occasional Consumer forum compensations too.

    What can be done about this situation?
    We have to understand some things. Firstly that medical care and medical cure are different. Eventhough with all the advances in medical field this is still a field with many uncertainties in result. CARE should be expected from the hospital or the doctor but not CURE. 2+2=4 is not correct in this profession. There are too many factors influencing the result of a therapy. We should try to understand the situation and stop blaming the doctor for every result. Please visit a doctor at the first sign of ill health not at the last moment. This way we can help the doctor to the treat us with better results and for less cost. The more delay we do in reaching the doctor, costlier is the therapy and less predictable are the results, and more dissatisfied we are.

    The Private hospitals and the doctors exploit today because of their demand. We should stop them from doing this by going to govt hospitals instead. I understand that these govt hospitals are ill equipped but atleast for consultations we can go to the govt hospitals. Today even a poor man doesn’t want to go to a govt hospital to meet a specialist, but he is ready to go to a private clinic to meet the very same doctor. If this is stopped then the situation can be controlled to a large extent.

    The pharma industry is exploiting because we are letting them do this to us. I have never seen a long queue on a generic medicine shop, but many people can be seen in a private medical shop. We have stop believing that high price means a good medicine. This why the pharma industry loots us. Start buying medicines from a generic shop. They are equally good. Ask your doctor not to write the trade name of the medicine but to write the compound name. This way you can save a lot of money.

    The corporate hospitals are also of different levels. There are hospitals who do a bypass surgery for 1.5 lacs and there are ones which do it for 7.5 lacs. Choose your hospital wisely. Costlier hospitals cannot give you better results than an average corporate hospital. Even though Cardiac surgery is being performed in our city since last 17 years, no rich people want to get surgery done here. They all fly to “BIG” cities to get operated there thinking that they shall have better results. This is a false expectation and thus we get dissatisfied early. In the example regarding fracture patient getting a bill of Rs 6.5 lacs, I think the situation would have been better if they had gone to a good govt hospital or an average corporate rather than costly hospitals. We cannot go to a five star hotel and crib about being charged Rs 500 for a cup of tea. I do not ask you to get your treatment from any small nursing home, but find an average hospital and get the treatment there. I assure you the treatment will not be different and cost would surely be less

    Next let us start making other professions too accountable for our well being. Majority of the infective diseases today are due to lack of proper sanitation facilities a field where doctors are not involved at all. It is the engineers and architects who are responsible for these. They too have responsibility towards the well being of the common man because the degree s/he has attained was paid by the common man’s tax. Majority of the accidents today are because of ill planning of roads and deficient traffic control. Let us make them accountable too towards our ill health. The traffic department has a responsibility of smooth operations of traffic, but we never raise a voice if the traffic policeman is not at the required place. Rather we are happy since we may not be caught.
    Lastly lets be responsible for our own health. Lets eat properly, sleep properly, exercise properly and be safe of road. You will never require a doctor or a hospital itself.


  8. Subra,

    please do not advice this…Doctors are looting people…taking money from everyone…writing medicines dictated by sales rep of medical companies. doing everything that they can to improve their ROI…Can you stop asking them to become business man…

    Let us stop looking at business and profits at everything…

  9. As Kishan said “Ask your doctor not to write the trade name of the medicine but to write the compound name”

    When this was implemented (or made mandatory by govt., heard this was there was mandatory in US) half of the evils will get set right

  10. Very well Summarized dr Kishan !

    I can just take pity on a person , who want guaranteed cure/ warranty for their ailment like they seek for their car , mobile , or other man made gadgets .
    Otherwise , kins of doctors must have not died .

    i am in total agreement for writing generic medicines , but at the same time , medical stores should also be made to sell only generic medicines and Patients should be , too , buying them .

  11. Arent doctors humans? If doctors keep serving for free for their whole life, will the govt or society pay their utility bills house rent, fuel charge, car emi, children’s education, children’s marriage, pilgrimage trip, health expenses, groceries, etc ?

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