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‘We strive to transform healthcare with technology and make quality care affordable’

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Rana Dasgupta, CEO, Apollo Gleneagles Hospital, Kolkata, in a exclusive interview with
Sanjiv Das, talks about the future goals of the hospital and its initiatives to revolutionise healthcare in Eastern India

What role would Eastern India play in furthering the progress of the healthcare industry?

Healthcare sector is maturing in Eastern India both in public and private sectors to handle super speciality treatment and care like heart transplant, liver transplant, reconstructive surgeries etc so that these patients need not travel to other parts of India. The region is also playing a leading role in deceased donor transplant programme spearheaded by the efforts of the Department of Health and ROTTO. The state-of-the-art medical technology is also available now in this region.

What strategies are being adopted by your group to tap the growing opportunities in the healthcare sector?

In terms of the overall healthcare sector in India, an industry report valued the sector at around $ 100 billion in 2015 and is expected to touch $ 280 billion by 2020, at a compound annual growth rate of 22.9 per cent. Nearly 65 per cent of overall sector includes hospitals, nursing homes, diagnostics centres and pharmaceuticals.

The major drivers of healthcare growth are:

  • Awareness and acceptability due to rapid urbanisation and consumerism
  • Affordability coming from rising incomes and insurance coverage
  • Access in terms of number of facilities, investment through private, PE and VC sources and Innovations – telemedicine, e-consultations etc
  • Rise in demand through rising non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, chronic respiratory disease and cancer and of course increasing population
  • The life expectancy in 2014 was 66 years The target is to make it 80 by 2030
  • To provide that through traditional healthcare delivery models we need: – additional 3.5 million hospital beds, and 2.5 doctors, five nurses per 1000 population
  • We in turn will need more nursing and medical colleges to provide additional three million doctors and six million nurses.

Apollo Gleneagles Hospital is thinking out of the box and coming up with path breaking innovations Clinical and Technological

  • Clinical pathways are defined treatment plans based on international standards for procedures like transplant, knee replacement which are aimed to maintain the timelines, ensure early interventions in case of deviations thereby ensuring timely discharge and good clinical outcomes.
  • Minimally invasive techniques in cardiac surgery, orthopaedics, general surgery, ENT , oncology are ensuring reduced length of stay and early recovery .
  • Technological innovations like robot aids surgeon to reach regions where hand cannot reach thereby reducing incision length ensuring reduced length of stay and early recovery
  • Stringent monitoring and surveillance of infection control practices through dedicated teams leading to reduced infection rates vis-a-vis rational use of antibiotics.
  • With use of interventional radiology (both technology and skill) less invasive procedures are being performed with targeted precision and equal efficacy
  • Use of Cell Vizio and other advanced endoscopic techniques have revolutionised the treatment in gastro sciences by enabling minimally invasive biopsies and other procedures
  • Following the tenet that prevention is not only better but cheaper preventive health packages including specialised packages like healthy heart, sugar packages, cancer screening packages have been introduced with extensive awareness campaigns and community activities.
  • Mobile medical units for screening cancer in rural areas is a major project where till 3.5 lakhs people have been screened till date
  • Genetic screening to determining malignancies with genetic predisposition like breast, colon and ovarian cancers to name a few
  • Foetal diagnostics and counselling to determine abnormalities in the womb itself

Healthcare is increasingly moving towards a tech-driven future. How is your group investing in technology to become future-ready?

In the last five years, mobile penetration has increased by 3 per cent; smartphones by 27 per cent; Internet usage by 22 per cent, which has opened new avenues for access , prevention , monitoring and revolutionised the clinical data management process.

At Apollo Gleneagles, we strive to transform healthcare with technology and make quality care affordable. In current scenarios of highly fluid environment of both healthcare and technology, we have set our priorities on two things.

  • Becoming Customer – Obsessed ( Personalised Care)
  • Digital Transformation and Productivity (Increasing productivity efficiently through digital transformation).

Some of our digital initiatives are:

  • eHIS ( ERP for Hospital operations which has more than 30 modules like LAB, bloodbank, emergency , WARD, doctor, OP, MRD, etc.)
  • Pharmacy application is integrated for quick dispatch of drugs with improved accuracy along with in built protection for allergy and drug-reaction
  • PACS – This transmits radiological images instantly which expedites diagnosis and start o treatment
  • eDoc is the digital gateway which is being converged with Ask Apollo for netizens to avail the services through online booking
  • CME on Cloud where continuing medical education is being conducted through digital platforms. Live workshops are done where there is a two way connection between the theatre and the conference hall. Demonstrations can be given and questions asked both ways enhancing the education and knowledge development process.
  • Telemedicine – Further value addition to age old telemedicine through partnering with corporates and government
  • Mobile telemedicine medical units
  • Apollo Prism – Patient controlled E Health Record
  • Ask Apollo – Website where patient can connect to doctor and also upload medical reports and records
  • Apps for access of medical records
  • Tele ECG facilities

Artificial Intelligence and Big Data – IBM Watson for Cancer second opinion and predictive analysis and collaboration with Microsoft for cardiology risk assessment to develop India-specific patterns for disease detection and cure.

What are your goals for the upcoming fiscal and what are your action plans for it?

  • Enhancing access through digital applications
  • Qualitative change in patient experience through a culture of excellence and ensuring personalised service
  • Focus on digitalisation of OP and IP processes to ensure seamless patient experience and management of records and health data
  • Management of NCDs through preventive measures such as health check ups, disease-specific diagnostic packages, awareness campaigns , in house support groups and community connect.

[email protected]

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  5. Oliver says

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