Chapter 5: How I prescribe Information Therapy
My patients, Mr and Mrs Gupta, are sitting in the waiting lounge of my clinic, awaiting their turn. The usual gamut of magazines is in front of them. But do these serve any purpose? Instead, my receptionist gives them a comic book about IVF, so they can learn more about their treatment options. This puts them in a better frame of mind, and many of their doubts get resolved even before they come in. The beauty of Information Therapy is that it can be used in many innovative ways!
I proactively use Information Therapy to clear doubts and answer questions. This helps ensure that everyone is on the same page. Since I provide this information, patients are reassured that I am open and transparent. They know they are in safe hands, since they can see that I am well informed and knowledgeable. The fact that I am an expert in my field makes them put their faith in me.
Information Therapy needs to be embedded in clinical workflow, and we start providing Information Therapy well before the patients come to us for a consultation. We do this online, using many channels, including our website (www.drmalpani.com); videos on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/user/aniruddhamalpani); and social media, including Twitter (http://twitter.com/#!/drmalpani) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/Dr.Malpani).
Web-based information prescriptions have major advantages:
- I can update the information quickly and easily.
- The information is accessible to all my patients around the world. Using Google translate, patients can read it many different languages!
- The information can be presented in an interactive and engaging manner through the use of animation and videos (www.ivfindia.com).
- Delivering the information does not cost me anything.
- Patients can absorb and review the information at their own pace and for free!
Isnt all this expensive? Who has the time to do all this? Yes, it is expensive and time-consuming, but the beauty is that once you have done it, you can use it many times, for many patients, and over many years! Create once, use multiple times is a very cost-effective proposition. Updating and maintaining content is much easier once you are familiar with the process.
The internet has become an important source of health and medical information. However, a significant amount of health-related information on the Web is inaccurate, unreliable, or untrustworthy. By creating our own content, we can direct patients to information that is of high quality, appropriate to their condition, and consistent with our approach to treatment. This helps them to save time and stops them from getting confused or misled. Patients still depend on doctors to provide the most credible answers to their health questions.
All our educational materials help to ensure that patients have realistic expectations of their treatment. While it is true that our success rates are excellent, it is also a fact that the outcome of any IVF cycle is always uncertain, and patients need to be prepared for failure. Reading about this in black and white helps them to understand the limitations of our technology.
Patients often forget a great deal of what is told to them. This is why we give them a DVD to take home, which they can review at leisure . often with other family members. This helps to reinforce my message, and it also ensures that we stand out amongst the other IVF doctors that they have visited. During and after the IVF treatment, we encourage patients to remain in touch by email. I find this a very efficient way of answering questions. This way we dont have to play telephone tag . and since everything is in writing, patients dont get confused or forget things. We also have a FAQs page on our website, while helps us to proactively reassure patients and put their doubts to rest.