Monday, May 25, 2009

Crisis in Healthcare industry

As this sector deals with life - every life saved translates into big publicity and every life lost translates into lot of negative publicity very difficult to erase.

Crisis in this sector is usually classified into the following
1. Death of patient
2. Sexual harassment charges
3. Medicine overdose
4. Duplicate drug

There are many situations where crisis can take place, but above mentioned are few of the important ones.

Incase of any crisis the thumb rule is:
1. It is very important to understand the crisis, talk to all the parties involved.
2. Inform the spokesperson and people affected to maintain a common statement for media. In the meant time setup an enquiry committee.
3. Keep media informed about the latest reports only after approval.
4. Get assistance of legal department/consultants.
5. Understand what media wants and diplomatically solve all the queries.
6. There are many aspects to deal with crisis so it is necessary to hire a communications agency.

Here I will quote a case study to better understand crisis
Molestation charges against male doctor by female patient during checking and no female attendant is nearby. And the doctor is not guilty, but how to prove it?

What, I have highlighted is an extreme crisis situation which can tarnish the image of the doctor as well as of the hospital. Here, it is important to understand the doctors’ side and the patients’ side of the story. Can schedule meeting with a psychiatrist of both the parties, whose reports can help to understand the reasons behind such incidence. The legal dept and the hospitals spokesperson should keep all channels open and interact with the media (the information shared with the media should be approved by the mgt). As far as possible the culprit should not speak to media and have faith in the hospitals management. If the patient is wrong their will be loopholes in her story which can surface during interrogation. It might happen that the patient was sexually starved and was trying to advance towards the doctor and he might have objected resulting in this claim. The other possibility can be that doctor was checking her heart beats and by mistake touched her breast. Only after discussions this type of case can be solved.

Once the case is solved both the parties (doctor & patient) should speak to media and convey the right message. Keeping media informed helps to gain positive respect from media which helps in the long run.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The rise of Homeopathy

Homeopathy medicine which can be referred as the third front in medicine after Allopathy and Ayurvedia is regaining its credibility in the recent times. The patients themselves have turned towards homeopathy after using allopathy and ayurvedia over the years.

Homeopathy was discovered just over two centuries back by Dr. Samuel Hahnemman, a German. But somehow the way this particular medicine follows was very time consuming and this became the main reason for drift in patients towards other type of medicine. Also, the media hardly recognized homeopathy and that it can cure patients of diseases. Homeopathy was also not able to prove itself with enough studies to ICMR or FDA, which hampered its further credibility. In medicine credibility is the most important feature and media helps to a large extent to establish it in the minds of consumers/ patients/ caregivers. Since allopathy was able to cure faster, the results were faster to experience, this form emphasized allopathy as a credible form of medicine.

But now the patients are more aware and they understand homeopathy as natural form of medicine i.e. it helps your body to fight the disease by using the same symptoms which was the reason behind disease. Homeopathy uses the law of similar for treatment. Small doses of the disease causing bacteria are given to the patient so the patient creates immune system for that particular disease and fights against to cure the patient. The same treatment style is used when treating any patient on bite by a poisonous snake, the medicines used to treat venom are manufactured using venom.

So homeopathy hardly harms our body or has any side effects, since the medicine is manufactured using the same symptoms which is causing the trouble..

Recently couple of doctors has taken initiative to promote Homeopathy form of treatment, and their efforts have seen the light of the day. Now the number of homeopathy clinics has increased to cater the new informed patients. These patients are opting for Homeopathy, post their experience of allopathy medicines which cause side-effects. Whenever we think about Homeopathy the first name which comes to our mind is Dr. Mukesh Bhatra, he is on the fore-front of the brigade to inform patients about homeopathy through his extensive columns in various media channels. There are other doctors like Dr. Rajesh Shah who reached out internationally through web to create awareness about this form of medicine.

Some reference websites

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Why doctors should opt for vernacular media?

Well, everybody knows that we require treatment from doctors as we grow older. It is also known fact that most old/aged people prefer vernacular media or newspapers, rather than any other media. Even the people late in 40s prefer vernacular media to keep themselves updated happenings. This can also be found from a small survey done at the doctors own clinic, where the doctor’s receptionist can ask the patients about which types of newspapers they read.

Vernacular media/publications are more reader oriented and they have more editorial content than their English counter-part. The vernacular publications provide the readers a taste of their own and culture. They give have special sections for readers on culture and old age medicines/therapies.

The vernacular media has lots of space for health news. As a matter of fact the vernacular media content is more for the reader to use, so they have a dedicated section for health and wellbeing related news.
It is quite easy for doctors to get featured in vernacular media as they have very limited amount of news to feature. They are most happy when any doctor promises them to provide a series of articles. A series of articles in vernacular publication better than on of small quote in mainline English media.
A doctor can easily establish a good rappo with editor or the chief of bureau of the particular vernacular publication. With this the doctors can pitch him to come on the advisory board for health news for the publication; this will help to get featured in the health pages. The publication benefits from having a doctor journalist on board and the doctor benefits news coverage.