There was a time not long ago, when only doctors were experts in the field of medicine. They assimilated knowledge by reading through heaps and heaps of fat medical books and of course they gained knowledge from their professors. They burned the midnight oil and appeared for various exams and after passing those successfully, they gained their medical degree; this is what made them an authority in the field.

Apart from this, they also attended medical conferences where they shared experiences and medical information with their colleagues; and that is how they expanded their knowledge base. As far as their medical diagnosis was concerned, no one could question it and patients also had complete faith in their doctor’s diagnostic ability. There was never any thought of questioning him; and lodging a complaint against him was an unheard of occurrence.

The change

But all of that is in sepia print- today, everything is in full HD. Medical advances are something that happen at a very fast pace and doctors find it very difficult  to keep up with many of these advances. Most of the leading doctors have specializations in their chosen field, and they have vast knowledge about the field. Very simply they know a lot about very little. For instance, it’s possible that a gynecologist would know a lot about infertility, but he may know nothing about how an autoimmune disease such as SLE is treated.

Proactive patients

In another spectrum, patients are now becoming very proactive; they are better read and know far more about their specific illness and its treatment option. Today, online research has become a norm with most patients and they are hungry to understand and learn more about their disease. It’s also why they ask their doctors intelligent questions while a consultation is in progress.

Some patients will also have gone through various doctors and different clinics. And they know exactly what is involved in the procedure and they are very well-informed. For instance, a woman who has been unsuccessful in having a baby in her first cycles will be knowledgeable about the details of the IVF treatments. In short, many patients do end up becoming experts on their own problem. In my opinion, this is a positive change; however that’s not the way all doctors think.

Keeping doctors on their toes

Many feel that medicine is their exclusive domain and patients can’t really ever become experts in the actual sense of the word. They feel that well informed patients are nothing more than a threat as they feel that these patients are questioning their medical authority. I think a little differently- I feel that when a doctor is dealing with a well-informed patient, it helps him put his best foot forward; this helps them gain more insights and they are able to offer the best treatment options to their patients.

Not happy with the attention you are getting from your IVF clinic? Need more information? Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at www.drmalpani.com/free-second-opinion so that I can guide you!

Authored by : Dr Aniruddha Malpani, MD and reviewed by Dr Anjali Malpani.

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