Practice of Medicine: Story of Two doctors, Two Realities & One Profession. 

Two dynamic young doctors – Dr Jay & Dr Keshav, got admission in a renowned medical institute in the old city of Vellore for their post-graduation studies. Growing up in different parts of the country, Dr Jay & Dr Keshav had different approaches to their patient care methodology. While Jay grew up in the suburbs of South Bombay, Keshav saw his family struggle with electricity supply in their agricultural field in the remote areas of Gadchiroli.

These academically brilliant minds found solace in each other’s company while in medical college. Fast forward to 2022, both have completed their Masters in General Medicine and are ready to take on their lifelong mission of helping people in dire need of their skills.

Dr Jay & Dr Keshav had an immense influence on each other’s lives, so much so that when Dr Jay wanted to open his first clinic, he chose a remote area in Gadchiroli, not far from Dr Keshav’s childhood home. His motto was simple: nobody should suffer to get healthcare as much as his dear friend Dr Keshav did in his early days. Meanwhile, Dr Keshav, inspired by Dr Jay’s lifestyle, moved to Bombay to bid goodbye to his financial worries; once and for all.

Practicing in his new clinic in the well-educated suburbs of Bombay, Dr Keshav was astonished to see how well-read and aware people of the city were, yet they would abuse their health intentionally or unintentionally with their city-based lifestyle. Most of the time, his patients in the city would have a pre-consultation with Dr Google before meeting him. For the first time in his professional life, Dr Keshav recognized the importance of online brand creation and digital awareness about his clinic amongst patients.

On the other hand, Dr Jay struggled to give necessities like continuous electricity in his clinic. He was in pain to see patients around his clinic, taking their health so lightly. His proposition of creating awareness amongst the people for “wellness living” has failed miserably.

Against popular belief and trying various platforms to keep his clinic lights on, Dr Keshav understood that all such platforms gave a temporary boost to his patient flow and eventually, the inflow decreased to a marginal level unless he paid to “Advertisements” in these marketplaces. Moreover, most of his patients who came via these platforms were prompted with too many details about the disease to sell devices or other services, which made his patients self-aware and forced them to internet search their issues before coming to him for consultations. Dr Keshav almost faced legal action once when he signed up for a cheap and free clinic management platform to manage his patients, and the software-cum-advertisement company sold the private data of his patients to the highest bidder for their own profit greed.

All this while, Dr Jay recognised the major health issues in the region were very different to what he saw his friend Dr Keshav deal with. Dr Jay had his own set of issues. While he had a very active Instagram page with more than 45K subscribers, found no impact of that on his clinic business. In the rural location, his patients struggle to find the correct pills from the medication envelope he was used to giving them, himself. He saw most of his patients going to the old Ved Ji near the old Bazar road in his village for all health ailments instead of coming to his clinic. Yet, all these problems did not even bother Dr Jay. His main concern remains the fact that patients near his clinic found his consultation fees to be very high, and for every step, his rates & fees structures were being compared to the wrong side of the governmental institutes, many of which did not even come close to the quality of services he provided.

Later that year, while both struggled to keep their work-life balance intact, their alma mater invited them to the annual alumni meet. Unaware of their individual struggles, they both confided their care giving problems to each other. That evening was the awakening moment for each of them. They found their old long lost passion for care giving. It was like walking back to their college days, where they used to talk about fixing healthcare issues in India. Even though their challenges were different because of their practice locations, their collective goals were the same – Better Healthcare for All. The eureka moment was when they discerned that their most problems could be solved with technology. They both skipped the alumni dinner party, rushed to the old dormitory stairs, sat with pen & paper and decided to conceive a solution to their every problem.  

They both were stunned to see the solutions were ever so simple. To build patient trust, Dr Keshav suggested Dr Jay write prescriptions in local languages so that the people around his clinic would understand better, while Dr Jay advised Dr Keshav to give timely medicine and appointment reminders to his patients. Furthermore, Dr Keshav was happy to find that the only way to beat Dr Google at his clinic was to keep in touch with his patients even outside his clinic, as suggested by Dr Jay. On the other hand, Dr Keshav strongly advocated Dr Ram use much more affordable rapid test kits for quicker and cheaper diagnosis instead of much more expensive and hard-to-run pathological tests.

Collectively, while Dr Jay needed satellite clinics in remote locations to create awareness about his care giving methods and reduce travel costs of the patients in that area, Dr Keshav needed these satellite clinics in various locations to increase his patient reach in the competitive urban setup. However, they both agreed that these satellite clinics would only work if they were manned by paramedics and connected to their central locations, facilitating assisted telemedicine to everybody. It was a fun night for these two medicos who were divided by their needs and environment of practice but connected by the end goal. 

From studying the existing fragmented healthcare system to modern-day data breach issues, these young professionals concluded that only an integrated healthcare system would lead them to a better healthcare future. A single-platform system to equally benefit every stakeholder in care and thereby take responsibility for their roles. An integrated platform that will not only enhance the personalization of care with better care coordination but will also curtail the manual processes to keep their staff busy in patient care and not in documenting and managing paper records.  

The next morning, both left that passionate ‘TED Talk’ between themselves, hoping to find a one-stop solution to each of their problems. Probably, one day they will be able to achieve their dream of providing equitable health for all. 

Readers, this could be you waiting for your perfect solution, but if you have read this story and related practice issues of these young doctors, it is your time to start using HArbor.