I was in about 6th standard when my Nanna (Dad) handed me a stethoscope and told me that I’m going to become a doctor. Pretty dramatic, right?! But this is not one bit exaggerated. I was told what career I should pursue like most kids were back then.

I studied hard for MBBS and then for my MD and DNB, both in Pathology. Today, I am the Chief of Pathology and Lab Medicine at the Basavatakaram Indo-American Cancer Hospital. Oncopathology is a very niche area in Oncology.

As things were and are moving very fast in medical diagnostics – cellular to molecular, manual to automation, they are setting very different benchmarks of turnaround time for diagnosis. A pathologist cannot make do by just looking through a microscope; they must do all the digital work, molecular assays, etc. before giving any diagnosis. While working on improving the turnaround time, I realised that I would need a different set of skills – analytics, day-to-day operations, accounting, etc., and hence, I started looking for programmes.

I did a short-term course from a management school, but that wasn’t enough. We, doctors, have a good understanding of the clinical aspects of a hospital or lab, but not the management part of it. However, to manage a hospital, you need to have managerial education, exposure alone is not enough.

By adopting the lean management principle, alone, learnt at ISB’s Advanced Management Programme for Healthcare (AMPH), my team and I have been able to reduce wait time, improve the efficiency of the employees, and most importantly, the negotiating skills have helped me land two proposals worth two crores.

Moreover, the frozen section procedure, which is essentially testing of a sample tissue to be cancerous or not, typically during an oncological surgery, has reduced to 15 min from 35 min. Initially, the doctors, testing lab and technicians were all located at far from each other. In all that transit, we would lose time. The knowledge and ability to analyse and how to overcome such challenges was because of the management and analytical skills I gained at ISB.

For me, as a doctor, it is incredibly satisfying to save patients’ lives by giving them an accurate diagnosis at the earliest possible time. In any cancer hospital, it is an understanding among the doctors as well, that the earlier the diagnosis, the better chances of treating the patient.

This #DoctorsDay, I wish everybody excellent health and would tell everyone that ‘Trust your doctor and the doctor will deliver’.

Know more about AMPH, here.

– Dr S Sudha Murthy
Chief of Pathology and Lab Medicine, Basavatarakam Indo American Cancer Hospital, Hyderabad
AMPH, Founding Class