Thoughts on economics and liberty

A feedback model for doctors

While talking with Vishal Singh of FTI, a discussion took place re: feedback for doctors. I thought this bit should be shared more widely, with the hope that someone might actually start doing such a thing.

Feedback
The main value-add you can provide to the health system is feedback. While hospitals usually get feedback (patients die if they are wrongly diagnosed), the average GP/specialist doesn't get feedback.

Feedback requires two things (a) desire to hear back from the patient and (b) willingness of the patient to give feedback. Both are difficult barriers to overcome.

It is actually in the doctor's interest to get feedback since he will become a better doctor as a result. But doctors' egos come in the way. Patients who have not been cured by a particular doctor are very unlikely to want to give feedback. They just move their custom elsewhere. It is very costly for them (time wise) to give feedback.

One way a doctor can encourage feedback is to have two billing rates. One the general rate (say, Rs.500 per consultation), and the other for those who give feedback within 6 months. Say, such patients can be charged Rs.500 but will get Rs.100 back if they give feedback in a proper form – with all details  properly completed. This way the doctor won't get feedback from everyone (particularly those for whom Rs.100 is not a motivating factor) but will at least get a good sampling of feedback.

Addendum

Just noticed Vishal's comment on this subject, on this blog, and his link to a blog post where he provides a few other suggestions as well:

http://www.livehospital.net/blog/why-doctors-make-so-many-mistakes-and-how-information-technology-can-solve-it

Sanjeev Sabhlok

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