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Sharon Lobo

IWB Blogger

Dr Shalini Ratan Wants To Bridge The Communication Gap Between Patients And Doctors

  • IWB Post
  •  July 2, 2018

Dr. Shalini Ratan is a behavioral sciences enthusiast with a spiritual inclination. She is a doctor who found a gap in the patient-doctor communication and now strives to bridge that gap with her venture.

Nirvan Life Sciences aims to bring transformational change in the thinking, communication, and action of the healthcare industry. They provide medico marketing solutions for healthcare companies and educational programs for medical professionals.

When she’s not at work, she’s either contemplating on various aspects of human behavior or trekking in the mountains. Dr. Shalini has a travel bug and believes that getting out of your comfort zone is a great way to expand your mind.

Tell us something about Nirvan Life Sciences and how did you come up with the idea.

I noticed that doctors are not trained in interpersonal skills. I have been doing very few programs, in fact, because the market is not ready yet, doctors are still not aware of the kind of communication skills that are essential for dealing with patients. So, I have started writing about the need for my services to create awareness. Also, I consult for marketing medical services.

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Is there any startup out there that provides research and knowledge on patient behavior?

I am not aware if anyone else is doing the same thing. These programs and services that I offer are designed by me. Since I’ve worked in the pharma and medical industry, I found this communication gap and decided to work on it.

How did you get interested in studying human behavior?

I have always been an intuitive person. Whenever I read psychology articles or articles about human behavior, I always understood them well and always thought about more than what was written. Also, my struggles have helped me understand myself better, and when you know yourself better, you can easily understand other as well. I haven’t studied psychology; I think the passion and liking for the subject were always there.

You mentioned that self-awareness is important, tell us what can be done to achieve that.

I am more spiritually inclined, so the most important thing on the path to self-awareness is introspection and getting clarity about your thoughts. One must focus on being more patient and reducing the number of thoughts and increasing their quality. This helps to unclutter your mind and makes you self-aware. This is an inside-out process where the instigator is inside, and then there are techniques like NLP which are outside-in processes wherein the external sources will instigate you to achieve self-awareness.

What are some of the challenges that the healthcare sector in India must overcome?

I think the corporatization of the healthcare industry has created a lot of chaos. Bringing in people who are not from the medical field and are just business oriented in the management of the hospitals has led to hospitals adopting the profit-oriented approach. Nowadays due to information overload, patients have a lot of knowledge about all the things whereas doctors still tend to function traditionally by communicating very few details about diseases or medicines. This has led to a communication gap between the patient and the doctor, damaging the patient-doctor trust and relationship.

There’s a lot of comparison between allopathic medicine and Ayurveda, what are your thoughts on the same?

I won’t say one is better than the other. Whether it is ayurvedic or allopathic or homeopathic or any other, the effectiveness of the medicine is very subjective and depends on each person’s body constitution. It also differs according to the kind of diseases or illnesses a person is suffering from. Instead of comparing all the fields of medicines with each other we must focus on enhancing the effectiveness of the medicines from all the fields so that we can overcome the acute health problems and help people to lead a better life.

What challenges did your organization face while starting out?

 I wanted to scale up on my own without investors because most of them looked at businesses as a profit-making machine. Though my company is a for-profit organization, I have a purpose which is much larger than making profits. Another challenge that I faced was convincing doctors to attend workshops for interpersonal skills. No one had told them earlier about enhancing their communication skills, and it took some time to convince them to avail paid services.

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What are some challenges that entrepreneurs in the healthcare sector face?

I think the primary challenge is concerning content. I had to create my own content when I started out, and I still do that. Basically, there’s no reference point for building your content. Another challenge could be changing the traditional mindset, like I faced with the doctors.

Rural population in India still doesn’t have proper healthcare facilities, how can we overcome this?

I think the main challenge is taking the facilities to rural areas. First, we need to overcome the problem of providing the services and once we are able to do that we need to bridge the communication gap regarding these advanced services. For example, a rural person suffering from a stomach ache might not understand the importance of getting an ultrasound done for it because they have never made such diagnosis for any illnesses. There are many other challenges, but these are some on the top of my head.

How do you plan to expand Nirvan Life Sciences?

I don’t have a solid plan for expansion. I am expanding at an organic pace, the more trainers, the more workshops are conducted.

Tell us about how you rejuvenate and de-stress yourself.

I spend some alone time to introspect because I am spiritually inclined. Also, I moderate my lifestyle and avoid any kind of overindulgence. The most important thing I do is I travel a lot. It helps me to break my comfort zone, and that actually brings a breath of fresh air in my thought processes, and I come back more energized and peaceful.

This article was first published on January 8, 2018. 

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