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‘MHD has a pricing strategy based on competition benchmarking with a scientific approach and methodology’

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Pramod Alagharu, CEO, Manipal Hospital Dwarka shares insights with Prathiba Raju on the 400-bedded multi-speciality facility which focusses on patient centricity as its core value

You were previously the Regional COO of Manipal Hospital and now in your new role as CEO, what do you aim to achieve?

The Manipal Group has been trying to enter the Delhi market for quite sometime now and with this new hospital we have entered the northern market. My role has been clearly mandated and it is to bring in ethical practices, clinical excellence and patient centricity which is the Manipal culture. These values and practices will be followed at the new multi-speciality facility in Dwarka (Delhi)as well. Also, we want to be transparent in our billing process. In Delhi, patients in general have a lot of trust deficit with private hospitals and see them as profit-making business. Here, we are trying to change this mindset and the first step is by bringing predictability in billing. At MHD, the pricing strategy is based on competition benchmarking and we have a scientific approach and methodology towards it. Nowadays, more and more patients are looking for close-ended packages and we are working towards it as the patients are more satisfied with this method. This multi-specialityfacility in Dwarka is supposed to be the next flagship hospital after Bengaluru. Moreover, we would like it to be seen in the tertiary and quaternary space. The facility has all the state-of-the-art equipment and best clinical talent. One of our strengths has been education and we have a strong alumni base not only in India, but also abroad. Therefore, we have robust clinical research and teaching programmes. For instance, we have a DNB programme in Manipal hospital Bengaluru, which benefits a number of clinicians. Similar teaching programmes will be started here as well.

Delhi is saturated with corporate hospitals. So how different would be MHD? What would be your USP? Will Dwarka as a location help you?

Dwarka is one of Asia’s largest residential township which has a lot of elderly people who require a good healthcare facility. To serve this huge population at Manipal Hospitals Dwarka, we have 55 specialities and sub specialities with highly credible doctors and medical services. We don’t have to refer a patient outside as the hospital has all the facilities, particularly the critical care and emergency. For example, we have systematic emergency medicine speciality, which has round-the-clock senior manpower who can tackle any kind of adult or paediatric emergency Lab services are available 24×7. The hospital also has a strong pre-hospital care service— currently we have a comprehensive ambulance fleet which caters to paients from across Delhi/NCR . We have a large fleet of ambulance services in the hospital. We get a call on our call centre (40407070) and it immediately gets diverted to the doctors who address the needs of patients by real-time monitoring. In serious cases like stroke and heart attack, the doctor accompanies the patient in the ambulance and starts treatment. Even our cath lab functions round-the-clock so we can give immediate care to any cardiac patient. Apart from this, we have robust digital technology – the whole premise is Wi-Fi enabled, with the vision to become the first paperless hospital in the country. The hospital has top-of-the-line Hospital Information System (HIS) and Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) for each and every patient, which brings in ease and transparency in the way we operate.

Do you think managing cost containment, cost optimisation and revenue enhancement for big hospitals chains is a challenging task? How do you manage it? Do you plan to increase your current footprint in Delhi?

The focus of the first two years will be to cater to the healthcare needs of more and more people and our concern is always going to be patient care. Revenue and cost are natural outcomes but our focus is to earn the trust and goodwill what Manipal is known for and is proud of. Our immediate focus is not to add more beds to this facility, but considering the way healthcare is progressing, we will definitely like to add more sub-specialities. Manipal would definitely be spreading its footprint in the northern space.

Why do you think technology advancements are important for big chain hospitals? Manipal Hospital, Dwarka has embraced digital and tech advancements, how is it helping patients?

We believe in moving towards digitisation. Manipal has robust healthcare data of 60 years and with Artificial Intelligence we are well poised to undertake that journey. For example, we have a tumour board where clinicians discuss any kind of disease patterns detected as well as reasons and ways to mitigate it. The hospital also has a comprehensive and pervasive IT infrastructure to enable clinical and administrative work flow. We have various advanced technologies such as wireless point of care system, real -time location system, mobile clinical devices, critical medical devices, intelligent information systems, facility control systems, sensors and digital communication tools. As far as lab services are concerned, MHD also has immediate transfer of samples, medicines and documents are enabled using an automated pneumatic chute system to minimise delays and ensure safe and hygienic transfer. Further to it, the hospital is using bar coding to ensure correct identification of blood samples and better asset management control. The hospital has state-of-the-art PACS system, telemedicine, remote monitoring, endoscopic suites, robotic suites and hybrid OT facilities.

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