It might sound odd to non medicos, that I’m requesting Indian doctors to charge more. The general perception among public is that Healthcare should ideally be low cost to people and affordable for poor. When compared to developed countries like USA, many feel India has this positive aspect of cheaper healthcare.
Yet I request Indian doctors to follow the American model and hike their fees. If you’re charging ₹300 then charge ₹3000. Make it 10 times over night, or even more. It’s absolutely not against the law to do that.
Believe me, if that happens then India will scale much greater heights than ever.
Patients’ behaviour will improve
If you’re a doctor then some patients will ask “why are you charging money?”. Even if you’re charging as low as ₹200 (less than USD 3) per visit. They won’t ask about the electricity and water bills that you have to pay. They won’t ask you about rental expenses. They won’t ask you about staff who demand salaries on time and a hike every year. They won’t ask about inflation. They won’t ask about hardware companies selling devices at profitable rates. They won’t ask how much money your parents spent on your education. They won’t ask you about family members aspiring to have a lifestyle at par with their peers. They will simply ask why isn’t their doctor treating them for free. Because the fees is so low people take it for granted. On the contrary, people don’t ask expensive brands like Mercedes and BMW to give free things. They happily pay what is asked and feel proud doing so. Hence, charge such a high amount that people won’t bother asking for freebies.
It’ll reduce vicious cycle of commission
Some humans in medical profession (not all) prescribe medicines from selected brands based on “targets”. Some humans in medical profession prescribe more number of tests to patients so that they’ll get referral amount. Why? Because they’re earning less from their regular income. They’re unable to hike their rates, for several reasons. So let them earn so much from their regular income that they won’t retort to these external things. Let people take only those medicines and tests which are essential.
Improve health of a patient
Because it’ll be expensive, patients will try to come fewer times to a doctor and will take better care of their health. That way they’ll take each prescription and advise more seriously. Same way people let scratches happen on cheap Nokia phones and take utmost care of their expensive iPhones.
Lesser brain drain
I have seen people in USA buying things like house with botanical garden area and private jets, which their Indian counterparts can’t imagine. If Indian doctors earned this much amount here, then neither will they go abroad to practice nor will our rich people go overseas for treatment.
These days, people of young age like going to restaurants with plush interiors. They don’t care as much about basic raw material or savings – they just want good ambience. So that they can click selfies and upload on social media. Going to cheaper places doesn’t appear cool. This is a stark contrast from my parents generation, for whom eating out meant a place serving fresh meals. They didn’t care much about interiors. Not judging anyone, the current urban Indian youth wants good interiors. They’re willing to spend ₹1000 for a plate of golgappas in a 5 star hotel, even if they get the same thing elsewhere for cheap. Hence doctors should do the same. Make their hospitals a 5 star selfie spot. Youth will look forward to coming there and clicking selfies. For that, doctors should increase their fees exponentially.
Most of our society looks down upon doctors who spend money on themselves. They don’t expect them to buy a Mercedes or take vacations abroad. This has a toll on some doctors as they can’t publicly display the results of their hard earned money. Hence, if it became acceptable that doctors are meant to make money, then they won’t be judged. Then every doctor will be able to freely display their wealth and also security systems at home. In fact, the more society tries to suppress a doctor from displaying their wealth, more they’ll want to show it. So give them the freedom to do it.
These days, it’s a matter of stress for doctors, when a patient does self diagnosis on the Internet. The patient reads some random articles via Google and then argues with prescription given by doctor. The patient feels his few minutes of random research is more insightful than several years of experience held by the doctor. Some patients also come for time pass, whereas they should be coming only if they seriously need a check up. Because the doctor charges very low, patients take it for granted. If instead of ₹200, a doctor was charging ₹20,000, then the patient would have dared not argue. They would have thought that the doctor is charging so much, so they must be right.
More number of doctors
Experienced doctors are flooded with a lot more patients than newer ones. One reason is they continue charging much less then younger ones. If they charge more, then others will get a chance as well. So there will be more number of doctors graduating and it’ll be a level playing field for new entrants as well. Instead of engineering, parents will force their kids to take up medical. Then even the fresh graduates will have a chance of finding clients, due to less rates, just like software engineers.
More time for family
As each doctor will have similar number of patients due to standard deviation, their working hours will reduce. So, they’ll be able to devote that time to their family. This will boost the economy as they’ll get time for shopping, eating out, buying luxury goods, etc.
Just another profession
It’s time people realised that doctor is a profession, they are not gods. I do not know a single doctor who calls herself /himself as god. Just as how a cricketer gets out on zero, same way a doctor too makes unintentional mistakes. If people realised that a doctor is here to earn money and try their best, then they won’t break hospital windows after death of a patient. Because for someone who is not a god, the outcome is not in their hands.
It will improve things
People will start driving safely on road, fearing high cost of treatment. Parents will force kids to spend less time on mobiles, as they won’t be able to afford eye care. Like in Singapore the treatment is so expensive, people make efforts not to fall sick. People who will feel “why deprive the poor of affordable healthcare?” will have to start improving levels for their upliftment. It’s not the responsibility of doctors to end poverty, isn’t it? We may finally see cancer getting eradicated, thanks to investment in research (I pray no one goes through cancer). And we may see the end of inventing diseases, just so that people will buy their antidote. Because such companies will know that people won’t be able to buy en masse. After all such disease inventors are also humans with feelings for others. We may see people’s bodies getting stronger due to taking less medicines, and getting back to ways of holistic health.
Because cheaper doesn’t always mean it’s better. If only we could value the importance of having a human body.
Yaju at 11:48 PM
G BJanuary 20, 2020 at 3:14 AM
Agreed Dearest. This is the need of the times. Healthcare in India is compared to peanuts, Compared to most countries where medical insurance is a high percentage of income and over all very expensive, India needs to revamp healthcare keeping in mind the needs and health of doctors. Agree with you totally. Cheers to well presented thoughts..
And I’m honestly waiting for a lot of critisism coming up!