On May 31st, which happened to be the World No Tobacco Day, I was holidaying in Kashmir, when I received a strange sms. Since I had decided not to carry my mobile phone on my vacation, I saw it only once I returned to Delhi.
The message, which I reproduce verbatim said ‘On the occasion of the World No Tobacco Day Artemis offers Lung CT at Rs. 1500 only. Offer valid only for My 31 2009 only. For registrations, please call’.
Needless to say that I was quite shocked. This is exactly the kind of lazy and insensitive marketing communication that puts off consumers from hospitals and makes them extremely suspicious of hospital communications. Continue reading
A few days ago I received an sms from Artemis Hospital exhorting me to check out their Homeopathy services! This seemed strange as Artemis Hospital is one of the most advanced centres of medical care in North India and boasts of the highest level of medical advancement. It has invested tonnes of money on advanced imaging equipment such as a 3T MR, a 64 slice CT scanner, a PET CT and a 4D Doppler amongst other fancy stuff.
Artemis has highly experienced doctors and surgeons who literally operate on the cutting edge of technology. Amongst all this Homeopathy seems to be a little out of place.
Ask any doctor worth his salt about homeopathy and other alternate systems of medicine common in India and he will be downright derisive or at best will say that he is not sure of their efficacy. Doctors are trained in the science of medicine and surgery and rely on scientific evidence proven in laboratories and tested on animals and humans in scientifically designed and executed clinical trials. For them to accept homeopathy, ayurveda or the yunani system of medicine as effective treatment is difficult. Yet we have a modern hospital offering the services of a homeopath. I am intrigued.
Now, I have nothing against any system of medicine. I am sure the practitioners of any of these alternate systems of medicine have their own methods of diagnosing and treating people and I would also concede that there are enough people who believe in them. However I do know that God forbid, if I ever need serious medical attention I would head straight to a doctor qualified and experienced in the western system of medicine. To me that is a straightforward choice.
I am also against mixing the modern western medicine with the likes of homoepathy and ayurveda. They just do not mix well. I would think twice about referring a friend to a modern hospital, which also offers homeopathy and ayurveda. Somehow, it appears that the hospital and the medical folks do not have enough faith in their own system of medicine. It seems like a tacit admission of the fact that these ancient alternative systems of medicines have something to offer even when modern medicine has failed. This I personally find hard to believe.
Arguments about offering a choice of medical systems to patients are also common place. This to my mind is bunkum. The patient wants a cure for whatever ails him. He wants it fast,with minimal pain and with a certain degree of reliability. He cares two hoots about the choice of medical system. If he walks into a hospital, he has already professed his faith in the western system of medicine. Offering anything else to him is downright foolhardy.
Why would Artemis hire the services of a homeopath and than go about promoting it? I can only say that if they are serious about homeopathy, they can always consider launching a homeopathy institute and call it something appropriate. After all Artemis Homeopathy Institute does sound weird.
Pic courtesy http://www.flickr.com
If you are a surgeon and a CEO of a yet to be launched/recently launched hospital, with a great vision about creating a truly world class hospital, here are some useful tips on how to fail!. If any of you dear readers, find any resemblance to any individual, hospital or real life situation let me assure you that it is just your imagination working overtime.
- Select a set of promoters who know nothing about healthcare, do not know the difference between a CT and an MRI and between an orthopaedician and a paediatrician (sounds the same eh!).
- Bedazzle them with your medical knowledge by constantly sprouting jargon. Display high levels of energy and commitment, while never compromising on golfing holidays.
- Commit an impossible deadline for starting the hospital operations and than as the deadline approaches, keep telling the promoters that the hospital will start on time. On the appointed day do tell everyone that you are ready to start except the damn hospital is not ready and everyone involved in its construction has really taken you for a ride.
- Blame all cost and time over runs on executives from the promoter’s parent company meddling around in the hospital’s affairs.
- Hire a bunch of doctors, who are medical school buddies and friends.
- Also hire a set of professionals, brighter than yourself, give them the freedom to perform and if they do better than yourself, ensure that they get the sack.
- Compromise on everything that you professed to believe in. While you go about doing this do tell all and sundry that these are things you are being forced to do by the promoters, who in any case know nothing about medicine.
- Hire a Chief Operating Officer, whose wattage is 1/100th of yourself and ensure that he is always there to take the rap for everything that goes wrong.
- Have your own surgical outcomes comparable to the worst surgeon in the hospital, however never forget to have a weekly lecture on all things under the sun including medical outcomes.
- Always have a sidekick and confidant along, to perform the surgeries and also to provide a handy shoulder in these difficult and sorrowful times.
- When the going gets really tough, get going, er bolt.
Pic courtesy www. flickr.com