The Noodles consultation & the ‘Google’ Patients

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Why do doctors have trouble with the ‘Google’ patients ?

The answer has both an intuitive well known part and less well known part.

  1. Busy doctors have little control over consultation time in busy OPDs — if they spend more time with a patient, then the other patients can’t get their consultations done on time. This is only partly related to doctor scarcity. The patient flow to the doctors in a city /town is skewed. It’s like Pareto principle on steroids. 5 to 10 % of “top” doctors see more than the bottom 50 % — and everyone, including the Google patients wants to go to these doctors.
  2. Busy doctors can’t afford the Google patients

Why would a doctor not be able to afford ‘Google’ patients ?

What can be done?

Several options exist for both doctors and patients , but chances of any of these working are slim. Most of these take the spontaneity out of the doctor-patient interaction and neither doctors nor patients are ready for that.

  • Fair usage policy on doctor’s time
  • Guaranteed minimum time for the patient
  • Printed FAQs as a differentiator / value added service
  • Counsellor to reduce the drag on doctor’s time — the counsellor can be paid a fixed monthly salary, split among the patients who need such services
  • Separate ‘doubt clearing consultations’
  • Patients can choose to forgo social approval/validation and seek a younger doctor who is less busy, but appropriately qualified
  • A check-list of 2–3 questions which can be answered in a short time, in a chit.



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Physician.Endocrinologist. Jipmerite. Data science enthusiast.