I gently refuse to give opinion if someone asks my ‘quick feedback’ based on just a single report or a single symptom. And give them the option of a detailed assessment.
If they’re family or a close friend, I try getting the whole picture over phone call, and for this they have to wait till I’m free.
For anyone else, they have to call the appointment number and follow the process. If they feel my advice would be valuable enough to justify the fee and the wait, they follow the process. If they don’t, they stop asking me random questions, and keep looking for some other willing soul.
After the consultation, it’s easy if my Assessment agrees with that of the other doctor. But if there’s conflict, there’s no easy way out of it..
As doctors we often get cornered by people we know, in various social settings, asking for our “quick advice” on this rash, or that pain, or in recent times, the abnormal lab report that has been bothering them. 🥴
Without digging deeper, it’s not possible to determine whether they have already discussed this issue with another doctor (and only seeking a “harmless” quick second opinion from someone they trust). Or this is the first time they’ve ever disclosed this to any doctor! 👩🏻⚕️
We don’t want to answer these queries with limited information, as that would be a big disservice to the patient. Most conditions need a painstaking gathering of history, a scrupulous examination, and often some quick referencing of guidelines or other resources. Quick answers are usually wrong in medicine! 🙊
What is the value of 15 minutes of a doctor’s time?
As an urban Family Physician in Gurgaon, I charge Rs 400 for a consultation, with free follow-up for 7 days after that. Home Visits are charged Rs 1000-2000 during day time (depending on distance), and Rs 1500-3500 at night.
Personally, I feel that I charge very less compared to the value I’m delivering to the patients and their families. But I’ve realised, that from a business perspective, that feeling is largely irrelevant.