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When a doctor becomes a patient

Let me introduce myself. My name is Aida Salam. I have been a doctor in Malaysia for over 10 years. I had spent my first 5 working years in Clinical Medicine and now serve as a Healthcare Administrator within the Ministry of Health. I have seen the workings of the Malaysian Healthcare System from the perspective of a doctor serving patients, as well as a doctor who helps ensure that the healthcare system/ services run effectively and efficiently.

Recently, I became seriously ill and had been on the receiving end of the healthcare services, both public and private. I started frequenting hospitals as an inpatient and outpatient. Though it was unpleasant, it was an absolute eye-opener. As I took in the new experience, I noticed things that I (as a doctor) had never noticed before. I realised that I have developed a different perspective, a patient perspective, on the state of the healthcare services. Decidedly I wanted something good to come out of it.

I realised that the insights I gained from being a patient, though at times seems trivial, were too valuable for me not to share with others in my profession. I have had the privilege of being treated by some of the best doctors and nurses in the country and I would like others to know what they have done well, even if it appears to be menial, so that it can be replicated. I have also had some not-so-amazing experiences from which ideas for improvement can be drawn to make patient experiences better.

I imagine that it would be very useful too if my posts are able to generate awareness among patients regarding their role in improving their patient experiences. Often we forget, that as patients, we have to play an active role in clinical encounters in order to ensure that we experience better care. We are responsible for our care as much as the doctors are, if not more. To that end, I would like to encourage other patients to share their experiences in the comment section for further discussion.

Also, i humbly hope that this blog could be a platform for the general public to discuss issues pertaining to the Malaysian Healthcare System so that improvement suggestions that will enhance patient experience can be made. Although there are formal feedback channels available, an informal and independent platform to do so openly and honestly is much needed indeed. Therefore, I would like to extend my invitation to everyone to participate and contribute in the discussions within the comment sections.

Lastly, I would like to note that I will try to keep my content around general ideas and concepts that may help doctors, patients and healthcare administrators improve patient experiences rather than focusing on details. Detailed experiences will only be used to illustrate an idea if deemed absolutely necessary. However, I will try not to reveal sensitive information that will break patient-doctor confidentiality, unless I have permission to do so.

Let the journey begins…

Photo by Shopify Partners from Burst

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