Today, Curofy connects you to Dr. Aniruddha Malpani, an IVF specialist, angel investor & entrepreneur. This multi-faceted doctor took out time from his extremely busy schedule and spoke to Curofy about his professional journey and the various ventures he has been a part of over the years.

Curofy: Your professional journey has taken you from being one of the most successful IVF specialists in the country to being a tech-savvy doctor and angel investor. Please tell us briefly about your journey and achievements.

I think that all of us as human beings evolve as time goes by, and I think of myself as having a portfolio of careers, starting from being an IVF specialist to an information therapist to an angel investor, I continue practicing on a daily basis and I enjoy taking care of my patients. I think we are good at what we do, we have a high success rate and it is fun helping patients to complete their families. But as time goes by, interest changes and horizons are broadened, and therefore I have learnt a lot by trying to advocate for the patients because I think our healthcare system is itself becoming a little ill, and putting patients first is one great way of solving the problem.Angel investing has been a great ride. You get a chance to talk to young founders who are very optimistic and they need to be as they’re trying to improve the world, and this is why their sense of optimism can be contagious as compared to talking to doctors who can often be quite pessimistic and cynical, as things aren’t going very well for the medical profession In India as we all know.

Curofy: Obs & Gynae is usually considered to be a female dominated field. What made you choose this as the career option?

It’s only in North India that obstetrics and gynecology is a female dominated field. I think in most of other parts of the world, most of the famous gynecologists have been males and there really hasn’t been an issue at all, and even in North India the heads of department of gynecology and the professors in lots of medical colleges are still men. I think gender discrimination is still very much alive.
Curofy: IVF has come up in a big way due to the rising incidence of infertility and IVF centers are opening up in all nook and corners of the country but it has been observed that there are lack of guidelines used in the work up and management of these patients. Do FOGSI or IVF society of India have standard guidelines? If yes, why don’t all centres follow the same?

Yes, IVF has come up in a big way, and I think this is a problem because a lot of IVF clinics are now exploiting patients, and taking advantage of their ignorance. It’s all very well having regulations and guidelines and the ICMR does have them, but I think that especially in a country like India where it’s very hard to implement these, I think they have a very limited role to play, and this is why our focus has always been on educating patients. If the patients can learn to ask the right questions, so that they can learn to differentiate between a good doctor and a bad doctor, they’ll be able to prevent themselves from the bad IVF doctors. This creates a win-win situation because good IVF doctors will be able to attract more patients and bad IVF doctors won’t be able to take patients for a ride.I think patients need to learn to look after themselves. They can’t expect FOGSI or ICMR or the government to do this for them. I think it is right that the Indian doctors do practice evidence based medicine, and I think this is true because of, perhaps the Indian education system where you had a professor who gives you a lecture who stands on a pulpit, and his word is law, and he is the fountain of wisdom, and even in school we basically crammed what the teacher told us so that we could get higher results on the test.

Curofy: Indian doctors have often been criticized for practicing “eminence based medicine” rather than “evidence based medicine”. What are your views about the same?
Times need to change and I think they are changing, and we are learning to be more critical, and demanding evidence rather than just an individual’s opinion. Having said this, I think that as an individual senior doctor’s unbiased expert opinion is still extremely valuable. A combination of both evidence based medicine and the expertise of senior doctors who are well read and well informed to be able to provide the best care to our patients, these are complementary and not competitive. The only reason doctors become doctors is because we like helping people, and you can only help people whom you trust and respect, and who trust and respect you back, and this all comes down to having a healthy doctor-patient relationship based on openness.
Curofy: You have always been a strong proponent of good doctor patient relationship and in it is of paramount importance in dealing with infertile couples. Please share your experience with young doctors.

I enjoy treating my patients. They teach me a lot, they ask me great questions, I answer them, they keep me on my toes, and lots of them are extremely smart and well informed. Thanks to google, there are often the areas where they know more about a particular problem than I do, and I’m quite happy to allow them to educate me.A feeling that, unless doctors learn to respect their patients they are just going to find it increasingly harder to practice high quality medicine. I think that we need to tap into our patient’s expertise and if we do so, it’s going to be better for them as well as for us.

A healthy doctor-patient relationship has been the bedrock of good medical practice for thousands of years, and in fact in the past when really the doctor didn’t have a very effective therapeutic armamentarium and very few medicines which could actually do good, it was primarily his presence and his reassuring words which helped his patients to get better. The presence of the doctor is still an extremely important and potent therapeutic tool, and young doctors need to remember this.

Curofy: HELP (Health Education Library for People) is a novel venture. How did this concept come up and what services are provided by HELP.

I started HELP because I’m a second generation doctor, and I wanted to show that there is a lot which can be done to empower patients with information. So, HELP is an actual, real life, physical library which is free, and our hope and dream is still that every hospital will have a patient education resource center where patients and their relatives can learn more about their medical problems without necessarily eating into the doctor’s time, thus creating a win-win situation for the doctor who saves his time, for the patient whose questions are answered, and for the hospital who then gets the reputation that they care about their patients. This will actually help them to attract even more patients because patient’s visitor is also going to be a potential patient in the future, and if they have a good experience in the hospital, they are likely to select that particular hospital for their medical care when they fall ill.HELP has now also become digital and there are also lots of clever digital solutions we now provide to health insurers, to hospital, to pharmaceutical companies, so that they can actually prescribe information therapy to their patients online.

Curofy: You are a tech savvy doctor. What are your views about tele-medicine and doctor to doctor networking apps in today’s healthcare scenario.

I’m a big believer in using technology because it’s a great way of amplifying productivity and efficiency. I think what’s happening is that patients are moving online and doctors have to follow. If doctors don’t go to where their patients are, they are going to start losing out on all their patients, and they can’t afford to do that.This has to be good because going online forces doctors to be open and transparent and minimizes the information asymmetry between the doctors and the patients.

Helping doctors to reach out to other doctors for second opinions, for any clinical problems is a great way of helping doctors to practice high quality medicine and it’s great to see Curofy doing such a good job with doctor networking and doctor interaction, so that doctors no longer feel isolated, helpless and alone, so that even if a doctor is practicing in a small town, he knows it’s possible for him to get an opinion from an expert in a large city, an opinion which he can trust.

Meet the Expert series connects Curofy users to top doctors, who have excelled in their field of work. The aim is to enable a channel for our readers to learn from their experiences and ask meaningful queries to them related to their career or a critical case.

Click here to ask any query to Dr. Aniruddha Malpani

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