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.

Impact on healthcare practice by the use of eRx.

A July 2006 report from National Academics of Science’s Institute of Medicine (IOM), says “Doctors’ sloppy handwritten prescription kills more than 7,000 people annually and also preventable medication mistakes injure more than 1.5 million Americans annually.”

If that’s the case in a developed country, imagine the state of medical prescriptions in India where medical awareness is scarce, especially in rural India.

To address the situation and give a push for electronic medical records, healthcare companies and technology firms have launched a program to enable all doctors in U.S. to write electronic prescription (eRx).

eRx in India though not completely new, still is not adapted and is a rarely used practice. Though many undisputed advantages can be gained by using eRx, i.e. check for potentially harmful drug interactions and ensure that pharmacies provide appropriate medications and doses. “Thousands of people are dying, and we’ve been talking about these problems for ages”, says Mitesh Bohra CEO, savetime.com, who has initiated a project in Pune to digitize all doctor information and create ability for a doctor to write prescriptions on a tablet computer. “Today we have the technology to change the way healthcare is practiced in India, so why aren’t we doing it?”, he asks.

Doctor with a Digital Tablet Prescription PadOne of the biggest reasons why it is not in practice yet is because of ignorance and hence doctors haven’t invested in this needed technology. When people become aware of the worldwide fact and use technology the same way as in other sectors, healthcare for sure will be revolutionized.

Focusing on the bright side of this technology- that the patients would not have to struggle in understanding their own prescriptions and also they get it in digital format so their medical history can also be stored.

Automation should eliminate many of the errors that occur when a pharmacist misunderstands or misrecords medication names or dosages, conveyed messily on paper or hurriedly over the phone. For example: a spoken request of Celebrex can be mistaken for Celexa, or a notation requesting 150 milligrams of a drug might be read as 1500mg. In electronic systems, drugs and dosages are selected from menus to prevent input errors, and pharmacists don’t need to re-enter information.

Let’s hope that eRx turns out to be the default practice in coming years and  efforts made by healthcare IT companies such as Savetime help save thousands of lives caused by misinterpretations made by improperly written prescription.

Shashank Rathore

Shashank loves to try out new and different things. His adventurous spirit led him to Savetime where he works on UI/UX and is enjoying the challenges that comes with it thoroughly. Highly motivated and a confident soul, Shashank dreams to be an entreprenuer himself. Listening to songs and high quality of friendship keeps him striving for excellence.

Taking on Negligence, Malpractice and Inefficiencies in Healthcare.

How trustworthy are doctors today? Are they really fulfilling their duties as a lifesaver with full dignity?

Today, individuals are not plagued as much by diseases or illnesses, but by medical malpractice.

A friend of mine who was pretty much fit thought of doing a complete body check up. When her test results came out, she turned blue reading the highlighted, Cholesterol: 300 mg/dL. She ran to her physician with the report. He said she needs to control her diet and stop consuming oily stuff as her cholesterol level has reached the maximum limit. He prescribed her few medicines to lower her cholesterol. Fearful of ill-health, she consumed those medicines and fell sick. She was taken to another hospital where they told her that cholesterol level was never high, instead it went low because of wrong medication. When her family raised this issue with the previous hospital they concluded that there was a small mistake from their end. The reports got exchanged. Really?

How simple it was for them to say it was a small mistake. Was the mental and physical pain the patient had to undergo of no significance? This mistake could have lead to severe health issues for my friend.

Another malpractice that we observe is in the Emergency Rooms (ER) at many hospitals that have become chaotic environments where overcrowding and medical negligence is a serious problem. Many patients are left wounded waiting for hours in the queue in order to be evaluated and treated for their medical needs.  Although most patients who are kept waiting for long periods of time will not see any significant deterioration, some patients may have medical conditions far more dangerous. When doctors and nurses are overloaded with patients, they are forced to rush from patient to patient to manage the crowd, sometimes causing them to misdiagnose a patient’s medical condition. Under this type of workload the medical staff is more likely to be tired, overworked, stressed, and disconnected from their patients. This increases the patient’s medical negligence and they are left harmed as a result. Surgical mistakes are also a big cause of death for thousands of people today. Because the patient is unconscious during an operation, he or she is generally the last person to find out if any medical malpractice occurred. The black market in human organs has become a grave threat to public health. Patients completely rely on the medical practitioners without even realizing that post surgery they return home without some essential organs of their body.

When we approach a doctor we usually have to fill out papers that deal with our personal information, our medical history and anything that the doctor should know about our medical condition. From there, these forms go from the clerk to the nurse, and then finally the doctor. One cannot see a lot of issues with this but it can actually cause more problems than none. Those pieces of paper pass from one hand, to another and in that whole process those pieces of paper can easily be tampered, misinterpreted and ultimately misdiagnosed as well.

Use of right technology not only helps assure that the patient’s information is taken care of, but it also helps the hospitals and doctors in improving their efficiency and the quality of diagnosis. Technology can easily help a doctor pull up a patient’s record anywhere in their office or even share it with other entities that may need it. By using technology, it ultimate helps lower the probability of medical malpractice if done appropriately by making the patient’s  information not only more easily readable, but also very clear and understandable.

To curb this issue of malpractice we need to bring in medical laws that encompass the protection of both patients and medical professionals. Patients should be protected under medical law against medical professionals who cause some form of harm, injury or death to a patient, as well as breaching a level of confidentiality. In addition there should also be a medical law to protect medical professionals who have acted responsibly when caring for a patient, despite being wrongly accused by a patient for medical malpractice or other breach of the law.

Fatima SayedFatima is working as an Associate Support in Sales and Marketing team of Savetime.com. She has completed her Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics from University of Pune in the year 2012. When she isn’t glued to her computer screen, you will find her spending her leisure time with pieces of paper creating origami structures to adorn her house.