Dr. Jagdish Chaturvedi,
MBBS, DNB Otorhinolaryngology
Dr. Jagdish Chaturvedi, MBBS, DNB Otorhinolaryngology

The Doctor YouTuber: Prescribing Laughter with Dr. Jagdish Chaturvedi (Part-1)

An account of Dr. Jagdish Chaturvedi 's professional journey, experiences, and success.

Welcome to Docscopy section, Priya Bairagi, Darshit Patel and Rukhiya Naduvile Purayil of  MedBound Times had an opportunity to have an exciting conversation with Dr. Jagdish Chaturvedi.

Let's uncover the untold stories and wisdom behind Dr. Jagdish Chaturvedi's remarkable accomplishments.

Dr. Jagdish Chaturvedi completed his MBBS from Sree Siddhartha Medical College and Research Centre - [SSMC], Tumkur, Karnataka, India in 2007 and also completed his DNB in Otorhinolaryngology (ENT) from St. John’s Medical College and Hospital, Bangalore, India in 2011.

He also holds an MBA degree in Entrepreneurship and Hospital Management from the National Institute of Bank Management (NIBM), which he completed in 2013.

He is also CEO of HiiiH Innovations Pvt Ltd.

He has gained popularity as a stand-up comedian through his YouTube channel 'Jagdish Chaturvedi.'


Could you discuss the path you took as a medical innovator and explain how you developed an interest in creating affordable medical devices?

Dr. Jagdish Chaturvedi: During my post-graduation at St. John's Medical College in Bangalore, I didn't set out to invent anything. However, circumstances led me to face a challenging problem that needed a solution. It happened when we were conducting screenings for throat cancer during our rural visits. The incidence of throat cancer was high in these areas, and we used small pen-like mirrors similar to those used in dental examinations to view the voice box. This task wasn't easy, and while some found it manageable, I struggled with it. I feared that I might miss detecting early-stage cancer, leading to advanced disease due to my lack of skill. This guilt drove me to take action and find a solution.

In 2007-2008, smartphones weren't as advanced as they are now, so I bought a small digital camera. I also had a flexible endoscope and devised a way to connect the endoscope to the camera, enabling me to perform video laryngoscopy rather than relying on the mirror. My teacher, Dr. Raveena, was supportive, recognizing the potential for documentation and screening in rural areas. This encouragement spurred me on to develop the concept further, setting me on a journey of innovation.

Often, the perception is that a doctor's role is to follow established protocols, but we can also contribute to improving patient care through innovation. Realizing that creating your own solutions isn't as difficult as it seems, I pursued further training in the innovation process. I participated in the Stanford India Biodesign program, where I learned valuable skills. Since then, I've been involved in over 20 innovations, with around 10 of them successfully making it to the market. It's important to note that not everything we work on succeeds but achieving a 50% success rate in getting products to market to help patients is a significant accomplishment. I've been fortunate to collaborate with talented teams and individuals on these projects.

For those interested in a more detailed account of this journey, I've shared it in my web series called "Starting Troubles," available on YouTube. This series delves into the challenges and triumphs of the innovation process.


How do you manage to balance your professional expertise as an ENT specialist with your enthusiasm for stand-up comedy and acting, and what strategies do you use to maintain a healthy work-life balance?

Dr. Jagdish Chaturvedi:  Managing my work-life balance hasn't proven too difficult for me, mainly because the various roles I juggle don't tend to overlap or conflict. As a practicing ENT doctor and consultant, my primary focus lies in performing surgeries during the mornings, while my OPD sessions usually conclude by the afternoon or evening.

My additional commitments, such as stand-up comedy performances, are typically scheduled for weekends or later in the evenings. These time slots are often when many of us engage in leisure activities like movie-watching or hitting the gym, so integrating comedy into these moments is feasible. Whenever I have comedy shows lined up, I participate as opportunities arise.

Moreover, I'm involved with a few startup companies, but they are already manned by dedicated full-time teams. My involvement mainly includes occasional calls during the week and perhaps one or two visits to oversee product development or testing. This schedule doesn't interfere with my other commitments.

For instance, this interview we're having now slots seamlessly into my routine. I manage my week with a few calls, potential product development visits, and the occasional comedy performance—all without causing any significant overlap or disruption. This arrangement allows me to maintain a balanced and manageable work-life equilibrium.

I've shared in my web series called "Starting Troubles," available on YouTube. This series delves into the challenges and triumphs of the innovation process.

Dr. Jagdish Chaturvedi

Dr. Jagdish Chaturvedi
Dr. Jagdish Chaturvedi

 How do you ensure that the medical devices you create are both low cost and high quality?

Dr. Jagdish Chaturvedi: You see, all medical devices around the world have low costs and high quality. They are priced expensively mainly due to the different markets they come from. Let's take an example: suppose 80% of medical devices are imported from the US and Europe, where markets have insurance coverage, and the value of people's time and effort is much higher.

When these products are imported, their costs are increased 20 to 30 times the cost of development. But, if you were to develop the same devices in India with the same quality, they would automatically be less expensive than in those markets. This is because we have an out-of-pocket paying system and lack extensive insurance coverage. So, in short, the answer to your question is that we don't need to do anything different to make them low cost; it's just the nature of our market.

But if you could manage to allocate resources and ensure the same quality when developing these devices in India, then the pricing could naturally decrease. Consider this analogy: in India, we often reject expensive pens like Reynolds, which might cost 20 or 30 rupees but are likely manufactured for only four or five rupees. On the other hand, a Parker pen, also made at a similar cost, might be sold for 300 or 500 rupees. This difference is due to the way the US market operates – they price based on the experience and value rather than just the product's components.

Similarly, when selling drugs or medical devices, they set prices based on the value that the insurance company saves. For instance, if a simple device prevents a patient from needing intensive care, saving thousands of dollars, the price will reflect those savings. In India, our pricing structure is different. If a product costs 4 rupees, it's typically sold for around 20 rupees, with an 8-rupee margin. We have a more mathematical approach to pricing. So, the apparent difference in pricing structure is a result of these factors. However, if you examine any device closely, they are more or less manufactured at the same cost.

Dr. Jagdish Chaturvedi
Dr. Jagdish Chaturvedi

What are some key challenges and unique opportunities for innovating and developing medical devices in India, as discussed in your book 'Inventing Medical Devices: A Perspective from India'?

Dr. Jagdish Chaturvedi: Back in 2016, when I was under 35, I received recognition for developing a device that had successfully screened over five or six lakh people. This recognition was largely due to the significant impact data we had gathered. Around the same time, my teacher, Dr. Raveen Iyer, recommended that I share my experiences in a book, aimed at doctors who might be hesitant to contribute to research, fearing it could affect their clinical skills.

I initially hesitated because, despite having a few products in the market, we hadn't yet achieved the level of impact we aspired to. We had managed to bring the idea to a point where patients could safely use it, but I felt we hadn't achieved true success yet. Dr. Iyer, however, shared a crucial perspective. He advised, "Jagdish, don't wait for success to come before writing about it. Sometimes success comes so late that it becomes irrelevant. Instead, write about your failures, your journey, and your struggles. This will help others who are also on the path of invention, allowing them to learn from your experiences and correct their course quickly."

Following Dr. Iyer's wisdom, I decided to pen down my insights, and that's how "Inventing Medical Devices: A Perspective from India" was born. Upon its release, it quickly became a bestseller in the medical technologies category. Remarkably, it remains in demand, with a considerable number of copies sold even years later. It stands as a unique book, focusing solely on medical devices in India, serving as a valuable resource for those in the field and inspiring them to overcome challenges on their innovation journey.

Dr. Jagdish Chaturvedi
Dr. Jagdish Chaturvedi

How did you handle the confidence to publish the first edition of your book despite its known issues, and how did you respond to the criticism you received from people?

Dr. Jagdish Chaturvedi: It's fascinating how unexpected successes can arise, even from topics we might consider "boring." Initially, I didn't anticipate anyone being interested in a book titled "Inventing Medical Devices: A Perspective from India." My teacher, however, persisted in urging me to write it, which eventually led to a self-published version, as we didn't have high expectations for widespread readership.

In the vast sea of books available, it seemed unlikely that many would gravitate towards this specific topic. Our confidence wasn't in producing a flawless book but rather in the assumption that few would read or buy it. To our astonishment, the timing aligned perfectly with the rising interest in healthcare innovation, especially with the startup ecosystem flourishing.

As a result, our book stood out as one of the few resources in this niche. Thanks to the magic of Google's algorithm, the book started appearing as a recommendation for anyone exploring healthcare ideas. It gained traction, and people who purchased it began reaching out to me, highlighting the formatting issues and spelling mistakes present in the initial release. Truthfully, I hadn't even proofread the book before putting it out there.

Realizing the need for improvement, we took the step of recalling the copies and engaged a professional editor to refine the content. It's a prime example of how we often don't truly understand what people are eager to read until it's out there. This experience taught me the value of staying open to unexpected opportunities and continually refining our work based on valuable feedback from readers.

Stay tuned for the second part of this interview!

ENLIST yourself in MedBound's global directory of medical and healthcare professionals. Claim your space today. https://www.medbound.com/find-people

Managing my work-life balance hasn't proven too difficult for me, mainly because the various roles I juggle don't tend to overlap or conflict.
Dr. Jagdish Chaturvedi

Related Stories

No stories found.