We have always been intrigued and interested in reasons for the high barriers to accessing healthcare for the average patient. By the average patient, we refer to the millions of people who live in India’s cities for whom, accessing healthcare remains a challenge.
This doesn’t include high-profile individuals who may be able to access their India’s own version of concierge five-star healthcare. For the others, whether it is a young working woman caring for her cancer-stricken mother, or a 45-year old working executive managing diabetes and hypertension, accessing a health service remains a challenge.
In our next few blogs, we share some real stories, illustrating the challenges of healthcare access across a variety of scenarios. These stories are the real inspiration behind what we are trying to do at Mirai HealthTM.
I am the proud son of a cancer survivor. After surgery for his cancer in 1997, my father has managed a healthy lifestyle through a combination of medications, grit, determination and a healthy lifestyle. We also conduct a simple blood test every 6 months to assess if his cancer is progressing or not.
A few months back, I got home from work around 6 pm to find my father report that his blood test result was elevated this time. This was cause for some concern. Clearly, we had to meet his doctor (with whom we had a 17-year relationship) but weren’t sure what time to call. Evenings are a busy time, it didn’t seem urgent enough to call the doctor after 8 pm or before 9 am and in the mornings he’s generally busy with surgeries.
My father was otherwise healthy so the need to call the doctor was neither urgent nor emergent. So while this played on my mind, I waited almost 16 hours (to call him the next day at 10 am). The doctor asked us to meet him at 2 pm in a hospital on the other side of town. That would mean a 5-hour trip for us so I asked him for options. He asked us to meet him at 5 pm at another hospital. I would have to cancel a very important meeting to meet with our doctor. However, I did not want to stretch the scheduling conversation so I agreed to meet him at 5 pm that day. I had to cancel my other important meeting.
The point of this story is the considerable waste of resources in a task as simple as finding a convenient time to meet a doctor. Not every time do we have medical issues urgent enough to drop everything and meet the doctor whenever and wherever he is available.
In the 16 hours I waited to call my doctor, I booked online air and hotel tickets for a business trip to Singapore. And I did not need to talk to anyone for that!
I also reflected on how the conversation was such a waste of time for my father’s doctor. He did not need to be on a phone to provide me convenient options. He could have delegated it to an assistant, but let’s not discuss how useless those conversations are! He could have used that time to see other patients, or prepare for his next surgery, or just relax after his morning surgery.
There are probably thousands of such inefficient and wasted conversations everyday between doctors (and their assistants) and patients, in Mumbai alone. And for every conversation, there are likely 3 others that don’t start because patients are turned off by the high barriers to access, especially when their health issue is not urgent or emergent.
So the challenge for us was this: how do we replace these inefficient conversations with a simpler, easier way for patients to access their doctors? Our solution was to develop and launch Mirai ConnectTM, an online patient relationship management platform that makes it easier for doctors and patients to communicate with each other.
Our focus through Mirai ConnectTM is to provide convenience, access, and transparency for doctors and patients in their interactions with each other. If you are a patient, you can go online, look up your doctor’s calendar and book an appointment based on what’s convenient for you. No more awkward, unnecessary conversations on the phone! Mirai ConnectTM allows doctors to offer the ease of scheduling to their patients.
We also recognize that doctor’s schedules may change due to emergencies, so our platform (and its Android and iOS apps) allow doctors to keep patients informed about changes in schedule on an ongoing basis. A couple of clicks on their phone and all scheduled patients on that day know their doctor may be delayed for 30 mins due to an emergency.
We’d love to get more feedback on Mirai ConnectTM. If you think this is a solution that could provide more access and convenience to your doctor, let us know your doctor’s name. Our team will contact them to activate access to the Mirai ConnectTM platform.
We hope that when you need to see a doctor, you don’t have to worry about access, scheduling, convenience or anything else. The only thing on your mind should be accessing the best doctor and the best care of your loved ones!