MedicalExpo e-mag: What is the My Fertility Diary app? Why did you decide to create your own IVF app?
Aniruddha Malpani: My Fertility Diary is an app I created in order to help infertile patients take control of their infertility treatment. It is the first mobile application available that provides infertile couples the ability to plan and track their fertility treatment. The app places this valuable and extremely helpful information in the palm of the patient’s hand… for free.
It reduces the stress of IVF treatment by helping them plan their life. Infertility treatment can be complex and expensive and needs a lot of coordination and monitoring. Patients have a busy lifestyle and need to know in advance what is going to happen and when, so they can plan around their IVF schedule. They cannot afford to forget their meds or miss their appointments. My Fertility Diary gives them back control of their life during treatment.
My Fertility Diary Google app
ME e-mag: You’ve been publishing every day on your own blog, would you consider it changed your practice?
AM: I’ve been running my blog for more than ten years and we have lots of readers. A lot of my patients appreciate the blog and say how confused they were until reading my blog, where everything became very clear. But don’t forget the positive result I get from my blog is for myself also. Because I need to do a post every day, it disciplines me to put myself on my toes, do my homework, to understand technology, to think about topics that my patients will be interested in and every time I see a patient, I think about their questions. If it’s an important question, I will try converting that into a post so that not only does it help that one patient, but it can help lots of other patients.
ME e-mag: Has your online work (blog, website) helped other doctors?
AM: Yes, I think both my blog and my website have helped other doctors. When we first started our website in 2001, no other IVF clinic in India had their own website. Today no other IVF clinic will start up without having its own website because the reality is that all patients are online already and doctors need to go where the patients are.
ME e-mag: How does your blog impact your relationship with patients?
AM: Many patients will reach out to me after having read a post on my blog and ask questions related to their own particular problem. That’s great for me because it helps me change my perspective and think about the big picture. I learn a lot from my expert patients because they’re really smart. Some of them are reproductive biologists or scientists or doctors themselves and they are taking treatment at some of the leading centers in the world. The most important thing is these patients teach me empathy. The questions they ask me allow me to look at life through that patient’s point of view. I can then take better care of my ‘real life’ patients.
What I learn from my real life patients, I use for my online posts; and what my online patients teach me, I use for my real life patients. I am the only person writing and posting articles on my blog, so I discipline myself and I encourage my patients to provide guest posts so the world can look at what an IVF patient has to go through. I think keeping a diary is extremely therapeutic for all infertile patients, for all patients in fact. I encourage my patients to publish their own blog as well.
ME e-mag: What about the cost of treatment? Information only goes so far and then comes the price tag. How should doctors consider setting prices?
AM: Cost is always a problem and doctors need to make sure their prices are affordable. They also need to make a profit so they can continue sustaining their business of providing a valuable service for their patients. We need to explain to our patients that they shouldn’t look at the total amount they spend, but they need to focus on return of investment or how cost effective the treatment is that they’re getting. While it’s true that treatment can be expensive, it’s equally true that a baby is priceless.