Building the Patient Community – Join us, Join the Revolution

A lot has been said and written over the years about the state of the patients in India and about the Medical Industry as a whole.

How patients suffer due to non-availability of doctors in remote areas, negligence of doctors, due to adulterated drugs/bad manufacturing practices, not being able to afford the medical costs, etc.

Every day when you open the newspaper or switch on the news channel there is some or the other story about the patient’s plight, government ignorance towards medical malpractices and such.

Near home or another scenario is a friend or family member falls sick and suddenly we need to find the doctor. And the word doesn’t stop at that, we don’t only need to find the doctor but there is a need to find the ‘right‘ doctor when it comes to our near and dear ones. How many times you think before taking your old parents to a doctor? How scary is it when you have to take your two year old kid to an unknown doctor for vaccination?

Will the doctor be good? Will he treat my parents with compassion? Will he put my kid at ease before the vaccination? Does the doctor specializes in treating the condition for which we are reaching out to him? How much will the doctor charge? Will there be unnecessary tests that the doctor will recommend? and hundreds of other such questions come to our mind. Probably the most important of them “Will the doctor be able to cure me soon?”

So faced with many questions before choosing a doctor to go to, the only solace we can find is if some of our friends, or family have been to the doctor before and if they can share their experience with us. How many times have we ask or have been asked this question or a similar one “Yaar kisi acche ENT ko jaante ho kya?” And if even one person knows a good ENT and suggests, that’s the best that you can expect as of today.

Though the patient community in India is huge it is also unorganized. The information flow except for the traditional word of mouth is absolutely nil. Even with the advent of social technologies and leaps in communication media in the country, there is a dearth of information and interaction within the patient community.

And due to the lack of information the patient community suffers. A person who is looking for the ‘right‘ pediatrician for his kids ailments finds himself alone with no information and tries out his luck similar to a gambler in a casino, with whichever doctor he finds. He has no clue if the doctor is well qualified, if he is affordable, compassionate or what are the experiences of other people with him.

The time has come when “We the Patient Community” should rise, should get together and start a revolution to end this era of information drought, fight against the malpractices, painful experiences with the existing medical system, help bring to justice the wrong doers because of whom we or our loved ones have to suffer sometime or the other and most importantly we help and collaborate with fellow patients to make their lives easy and arm them with information to take the right decision when it comes to doctors or any other medical service(s).

Savetime.com is trying to support this revolution by building the first ever platform for patient community where patients can interact, share their experiences, favorite doctors, help out fellow patients and contribute in many other ways to the community.

Your participation in this is requested. To start with you can go to Savetime.com, search for the doctor you have been to and share your experience in the ‘recommend‘ section for community to benefit from it and being able to take the right decision. And if you consider your doctor to be the ‘right‘ doctor for you, do mark that doctor as right as well.

As this age-old video brilliantly displays the concept of ‘ekta‘ Oneness, or Solidarity, we will also need to practice the same. We will need to be ‘One‘ in this journey, help out each other, fight against malpractices, injustice as one then only we would be able to make a difference.

Abhinav

Abhinav is CTO at savetime.com. Besides the work he likes to be involved in several different exciting things.  Technology interests him but more than that the usage of technology to solve real world problems excites him more.  Working with teams to achieve difficult targets and in the process helping individuals realize their full potential is one of  his skills. He is an ardent blogger and social media enthusiast. When not working, he is either blogging, reading or bicycling.

EMI – the entrepreneurship killer

“EMI hua kam tau ghoomne chale hum” – the SBI home loan ad which is running rampant during the IPL matches is an embarrassing testament to the state the new Indian generation is headed towards. The dream of owning a home some times changes one’s life to a level that we often wonder whether we are working just to pay our loans or worse, making money for the housing finance companies. The monster called EMI has grown so big that taking a family vacation has become an after thought despite of manifold growth in purchasing power of an average middle class family.

“Ghar ka EMI dene ke baad kuch bachta hai kya?” – how did we get to that state in the first place that we can’t afford anything else after our EMI  – Peer pressure? Our desires and dreams getting us to stretch ourselves? Risk taking attitude? Investment in an appreciating asset so you can have a pot of gold at the end if you sell it?

Oh wait a second…aren’t some of these attributes similar to what ticks an entrepreneur as well? Isn’t entrepreneurship about dreams and desires getting us to stretch ourselves, about taking risks, about that end state where you attain a pot of gold in the form of growth and success and in some cases through handsome exits?

So, does this mean there is an entrepreneur in each of us who is getting killed everyday because we chose to mortgage all those great entrepreneurship traits in one lock-in called “EMI”? This is food for thought for all the folks who have a spark somewhere in their belly for start-ups/entrepreneurship and feel stuck.

I have gone through this EMI experience myself only to realize that its not worth trading my start-up attributes with a home where I feel “house arrested” every day. I have chosen to nip it in the bud and not let it grow to be a monster that I may not be able to handle. As a happy renter for last 15 years, I would rather make owning a house an easy by-product, when I  build a successful start-up.

Life is short, there is never enough time to realize one’s dream. I have chosen to save my time. I have chosen to run savetime. Are you saving your time?

Mitesh Bohra, CEO & Co-founder

Mitesh is CEO, Co-founder at savetime.com. He has been working in the industry for over 16 years and this is his 3rd startup after InfoBeans and Infosignz. Mitesh is a BE in Electronics from India and has dual MBA from Columbia Business School, New York and Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley, California.

How to Communicate Effectively with Your Doctor

Doctors today get very little time with patients to tease out every detail. Prepare carefully for meetings with doctors. Especially if you want to be sure your doctor has all the important information about your problems and has the necessary time to answer all your questions. Better communication between patients and doctors helps the doctor understand the patients condition thoroughly and leads to better treatment outcomes.

Whenever you are going to meet doctor think about what you want to accomplish. Make a list of what you want to talk about. If there are multiple issues, prioritize them. Don’t forget to carry your medical records, any charts, test reports and other important information with you.

Write your questions down to make the conversation easier and complete. It’s easy to think what you’re being told will sink in and you will remember, but the details can fade away quickly. Especially when there has been significant discussion. Rather than take a chance on missing something out write your notes down right after the discussion.

Your doctor is the person who should answer any of your medical questions. But other questions, such as directions to a testing center, or the time of your next appointment, or where you should park your car, can be asked of the clinic staff. This way you will make best use of the important medical aspects of your care.

One final recommendation is to repeat back to your doctor what you’ve understood and instructed to do. If you can recite back what you were told, it’s more likely that you understand and retain that information once you’re out of the office. Do all you can to remember doctor’s orders so that you can follow them as intended.

PramodPramod is an Android developer working for savetime.com. He did his MCA from Indira Gandhi College, Solapur. He is very passionate about coding standard, gorgeous design, and how the two intersect. Love to learn new technologies. He is a passionate, optimistic & dedicated person who takes up responsibilities with utmost enthusiasm and see to it that he completes tasks and assignments in time. He enjoys music, watching movies, selectively read books mostly fiction & fantasy– Angels & Demons, Narnia. He love’s swimming and kabaddi.

Health check ups at Companies, the Good & Bad.

We tend to ignore medical check ups when we have no illness thanks to our busy work schedules. Working the entire week, stretching out late nights at work, living in remote affordable localities are some of the reasons why we opt to relax over the weekend rather than going out and getting a medical check-up done. Being cautious is something that we always tend to ignore. Increasing competition in all industries is forcing companies to keep their doors open to customers 24*7. This creates the necessity of people working at nights. Changes like these in our normal lifestyle encourages health problems. It is only when there is an illness, we start looking for doctors and laboratories to get medical tests done and cure our health problems.

To overcome this ignorance, having regular health check ups in companies can help immensely. Regular check ups enable us to diagnose serious health ailments at an early stage, saving us from aliments and also the costs needed to cure the illness. For example, visiting a dentist need not be necessary only when you develop a cavity of for a root canal. It could be for just a gum check or cleaning of teeth. Bleeding gums while brushing, flossing or if you experience a persistent bad breath are early signs for bigger dental problems. If you sense a cavity, filling it early will save the amount on a root canal treatment. What you have avoided is a major dental problem and definitely the cost involved.

Most ailments requiring surgery do not occur overnight but build up over a period of time. In many cases such ailments can be detected early through regular check ups. You can save as much as 50% on healthcare costs with regular check-ups, exercise and balanced diet. The idea is to avoid severe health complications which could also take a toll on your physical well-being as well as financial health.

Our lifestyle and food habits have a significant impact on our body and health. Some of the most common aliments that affect people are blood pressure, diabetes, hypertension, obesity and so on. Getting these check ups done on a regular basis will help diagnosing such problems at an early curable stage. Getting them done in companies ensures that employees do not neglect these important regular checks needed. “Health is wealth” is a good saying that we all know. Good health of employees ensures good productivity which in turn ensures the company’s productivity and success.

Unfortunately, given the broken health care system we end up paying hefty amounts to some doctors who prescribe unnecessary medicines, tests and even suggest operations which are not required. This causes tensions and burns our pockets for no reason. Companies organizing regular health check-ups by recognized and trustworthy doctors, clinics and hospitals can prove beneficial to its employees. It will create an awareness among people about it’s importance, help them to remain fit, diagnose health problems at an early stage and make sure that we follow the saying, “Prevention is better than cure”.

Ravi, savetime.com

Ravi is a young passionate, optimistic and dedicated IT engineer and an ISTQB Certified Software Testing professional. Ravikishan takes up responsibilities with utmost enthusiasm. He is always willing to walk an extra mile to achieve his targets with an immense amount of perseverance to fulfill his dreams. He loves adventure travel, listening to soft music and playing football.

 

Healthcare and Technology

In the year 2010, 21-year-old Ravindra Mokashi, a resident of Vada village in Thane district, was stricken by an almost debilitating pain around his mouth and throat. Ultimately, swelling in the area combined with an inability to swallow even a morsel of food, forced Mokashi to make the long trek to the Thane District Hospital in Thane city. But doctors there were unable to identify what appeared to be a growth near his throat.

It was then that they consulted specialists at KEM Hospital Pune with the help of a telemedicine centre that had been set up at both healthcare centres less than two years ago. Doctors in Mumbai, after studying Mokashi’s case, diagnosed him with a rare condition, schwannoma of hypoglossal nerve, a benign tumour. “We didn’t know if the mass was a normal occurrence or not. So we consulted doctors at KEM. The verdict was that the benign growth had to be operated on immediately,’’ said Dr V Kalwanda, Thane District Hospital. Mokashi underwent surgery on February 15, where doctors removed an almost four-cm-long mass of tumour.

Source: Times of India

This is just one of the case where telemedicine has helped a patient. In Pune since the start of telemedicine in KEM hospital, rural Maharashtra has benefited from it in several ways. Such stories can now be found in other states such as Rajasthan, Assam, Bihar and all over India.

Telemedicine now makes a mockery of distance and provides a timely and expert doctor care to the people residing in the remote parts of the country.

Our healthcare system even helps out several African countries with telemedicine. In a closely monitored project by our previous President APJ Abdul Kalam, India helped connect several remote areas in African countries and provided the people there with much needed healthcare at affordable rates. In addition the ill-equipped and under staffed hospitals of such African countries can now discuss medical cases and even perform critical operations under the supervision of expert medical counterparts sitting in India.

Technology has advanced in order to deliver healthcare in more ways than one. Now people are no longer stuck up with what their doctor tells them.

The first thing an internet-savvy youth does when he is facing some form of physical pain or discomfort is put the symptoms on a search engine to find out what is ailing him. Information exchange has become so easy that medical reports of an Indian patient are sent to specialist sitting in U.S. or Europe to get a second opinion.

Patients today are not satisfied by just simply following what their doctors tell them. They seek second opinion, they search for possible causes, they investigate medicines and their side effects that a doctor may have suggested. Patients also pose different question to their doctors about their medical condition and treatment they’re undergoing. Ease of access to information has empowered them to take informed decisions and presented them with more suitable choices.

Alternative medicines are getting lot of focus with the advent of technology in healthcare industry. This has kept the medical fraternity also on their toes, to diagnose better, to suggest better options that include non-invasive and other safer methods.

Websites with information on medicine and alternative medicine have mushroomed in past few years. Mobile apps can help you track your medicine schedule, can keep a track of your vitals, medical reports and much more.

At the minimum every nook and corner of the country is equipped with a phone, every other person in the country now carries a mobile. Even this piece of technology has made remarkable strides in providing and receiving healthcare. With this easy mode of communication, patients interact with their friends and relatives at different places to get more information about the cures to their ailments or specialists available in different parts of the country.

20 years back this was not the case, a patient was at the mercy of doctor and his treatment and in some ways this is still the case. Technology has changed this picture for the better and continues to do so. In the years to come it will help each and every Indian receive better medical care at affordable rates.

Savetime.com is also another small step in this direction.

AbhinavAbhinav is CTO at savetime.com. Besides the work he likes to be involved in several different exciting things.  Technology interests him but more than that the usage of technology to solve real world problems excites him more.  Working with teams to achieve difficult targets and in the process helping individuals realize their full potential is one of  his skills. He is an ardent blogger and social media enthusiast. When not working, he is either blogging, reading or bicycling.