In a unique event on July 23 at the Hotel Taj Bengal organised by Dr. Sarfaraz J. Baig, who was also the moderator, it was discussed amongst eminent panellists on “how to choose a doctor?”.
Indeed, nobody ponders to think about it. The majority of us go by recommendations from our family doctor, relative or friend. This was what was echoed by panellists. Some believed, that a certain amount of research and a doctor-patient connect is essential before initiating treatment.
Vivek Gupta, MP Rajya Sabha and Editor, Sanmarg, believed that he would trust the judgement of his physician to rate the competence of the specialist.
Jimmy Tangree, producer of Friends FM, stressed that good communication skills in a doctor were important to him to make his choice.
Shreya Pande, actress, said she believed in her colleagues more than Google in selecting her doctor.
Nandita Pal Choudhuri, social entrepreneur, felt thatthe
cost should be reasonable to allow the masses to select a
Shubhra Shah, author, underlined the importance of
polite and compassionate behaviour in a doctor as a pre requisite for selection.
Mansi Poddar, psychologist, believed that doctors are stressed and overworked and that is one of the reason why they may appear too blunt or even robotic in their approach sometimes.
Mr Pradip Tandon, CEO, Belle Vue, emphasised that for better outcome, patients should select specialists and super specialists that is now available in most hospitals.
Alokananda Roy, dancer and philanthropist, reminded the house that doctors are humans after all. She said that patients should be patient wth their doctor and kindness inthe society will go a long way in improving doctor-patient relationship and treatment outcome.
Dr. Sarfaraz J Baig wrapped up the session by explaining that medicine is an inexact science, diseases and treatment are complex more often than not.
He stressed that patient should make an informed choice by doing some research and then take a leap of faith.
He recommended that patients s should not fall for advertisements and stories on the social media.
Instead, they should focus on ABCDE.
Cfor competence and core team
If one needed a specialist, one should check on how available the doctor is, especially if one is treating chronic diseases such as obesity and cancer. In a study from Harvard, it was seen that a doctor's behaviour was more important than his competence when it came to making a doctor’s choice. Competence can be checked by seeing if the doctor has publications or speaks in conferences. Authenticity of degree should be checked in the current age. Expertise or specialisation is the new mantra for good outcome.
Dr. Hari Prasad Kanoria, industrialist and philanthropist, summarised that we all need to be practical in our approach to choosing a doctor.
— The author is a surgical gastroenterologist and a specialist in bariatric, complex ventral hernias and GI cancer surgery. He is also the Director of the Digestive Surgery Clinic of Belle Vue Hospital, Kolkata.