Friday, January 2, 2009

Hospitals and health check ups

While it has been recommended that after a certain age one must go for regular health check ups, this is one thing i have been putting off for a while. in an attempt to exhaust the remaining vacation/leave for the year(else same gets lapsed) had decided to invest some time on health check ups..

The Apollo at Greams road, Chennai is certainly state of the art and has almost an intimidating look feel about it..right from the reception/when the application forms are updated to the the various counters where the relevant health checks are done, it seemed to be quite professional but at the same time not very "patient" friendly.

One of the things that really  caught my eye was the number of health conscious people, as more and more corporates pay for their employees' annual  health check up.  There were all kinds of patients, and what was interesting was the influx of Bangladeshi health tourism.(infact Apollo even had some of their boards in Bangla, add to that the industry of small bengali eateries outside on Greams road)

People of all kinds, young, old, children either coming in for themselves or for visiting loved ones. What was really touching was that hospitals and health problems usually bring the family together. For example the elderly gent who was helping this elderly woman(his wife) as they walked in together for their check ups, or the father with the daughter (child, about 8 years), who seems to be squinting and needed glasses..the tension and relief on the faces of worried family members, was heart rending.  As for me, i know I was putting up a brave front, altho am quite a wuss when it comes to Doctors and needles, i was sure as hell glad my mother accompanied me. (bless her)

Now for the hospital..

What was good :
  1. Infrastructure : Facilities, the seating area, toilets/drinking water area etc was quite neat and didn't have the "old hospital" phenol plus Dettol odour. quite pleasant in fact.
  2. Right from the various tests, and meeting various doctors it was quite an experience. As more and more tests were completed i could only heave a sigh of relief that i will soon find out, albeit two days later what the results were.
  3. The doctors in particular had impeccable manners. (why am i impressed? well its because have seen my share of crabby doctors who seriously need a lesson, on at least handling the patients fears, patiently) even While reading out the results(which were normal, FYI), there was always some good advise say for  example on how to address some of these stress related working out and eating healthy etc..very impressive. 

What could be corrected by Apollo
  1. An example, when they know they will have time say for only 100 forms that day, why release more forms ? i had to come in almost 3 days in a row for completing the entire check up..
  2. Some of the staff while being friendly there are also others who are totally uncaring for your fears, or the reason the patient is there(its only a health test no less, but doesn't mean they treat patients like cattle herd) 
  3. Its very important to manage patient(customer) expectations here. Why not tell me in advance that this can take 2-3 days for just testing ? 
  4. There is no briefing in the beginning as to how the tests are done, what comes after what and so on..its like a treasure hunt. Finish one, go to counter number 4, who will in turn as you to go to counter 5 after the test and so on and so forth. 
  5. Counter no 9 was the worst, the one with the Gynaec department. Couldn't the staff be more trained especially while handling women patients who are there for some "obvious" reasons.  I saw my file being forgotten by this dunce of a lady staff, who was busy gossiping with some other fellow staff. Am sure my blood pressure must have shot up just looking at the way the in adept staff was handling patients. NO first come first serve, it seemed they had their own "illogical logic"
Lets just say, its not enough if they wear sarees and dress up like the Trident Hilton hotel staff itself, but the service was less than desirable, and didn't seem like value for money. 


stan said...

Hi D,

glad u are finally caught on to doing health checkups. I do that religiously like an annual pilgrimage. Otherwise i truly believe that 99% of doctors are quacks in white coats or these days in corporatised ties and formal shirts. I have run through the entire range of authorised health centres available to us for checkups and found NM Medical in Mumbai to be the best among the lot. Apollo in mumbai sure had the most grouchy docs and nurses who wouldnt even respond in kind with your cheery 'good morning'. Very robotic in their approach. NM Medical apart from the receptionists who were grouchy, had very pleasant staff. The lady handling my file zipped me thru the various tests and i wound up in two hours flat as promised by the lady. The breakfast as well was sumptuous and delicious.At Apollo my pre breakfast and post breakfast blood test readings were not very different cos their breakfast barely filled a saucer. All in all its a very good thing to get an annual check up done and take some proactive measures with your health. After seeing some recent hospitalisation cases of some folks i know, i have realised that nothing is more important than good health. All your accumulated wealth can be wiped out overnite by some quack doctors and fancy hospitals.

Admin said...

Very nice information. Howp this will be very useful to those who living in India and dealing with hospital. You haven't missed any points.