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‘We consider timely decision-making processes as the key success factor’

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Dr Rupali Basu, CEO, Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals, Kolkata and CEO-Eastern Region, Apollo Hospitals Group shares her views on the current healthcare scenario in the East, the key strengths of the Apollo Group, the latest technology induced procedures introduced in the hospital and how it plans to strengthen its foothold further in the East. Excerpts….

What are the key issues that contribute to the success of Apollo Hospital, Kolkata?

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Dr Rupali Basu

‘Hospital’ as a service industry is quite dynamic and experience-centric, emotion dependent and faith driven organisation. One way it is highly technical and in other way it is very much people dependent. Therefore it will be quite impossible to determine a single success factor of a hospital. We consider timely decision-making processes as the key success factor, technology upgradation and first mover advantage is the success factor of Apollo Hospital or getting highly talented clinicians from each and every corner of the world may be considered as the key success factor. But I personally consider the high-end medical care with tender loving care can create a difference and set a benchmark in the community.

When we are discussing about the key success factor, we should not ignore business intelligence (BI) integrator to execute smooth hospital management. It helps us to decrease cost and maximise control. In our hospital we have taken lean six sigma improvement projects and implement them into ongoing hospital operations and enhancements.

There is a highly logical implication of the team approach. In summary, there is now substantial scope to create experience; and I personally consider the same as the greatest branding tool.

What are your strengths?

True to its catchline the 610-bedded Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals (AGH), Kolkata, the multi-specialty tertiary care hospital is indeed touching thousands of lives and transforming their hope into reality. A joint venture of Apollo Hospitals Group, India and Parkway Group, Singapore, AGH, Kolkata has over the years metamorphosed into a Centre of Excellence in various disciplines including, neurosciences, cardiology, gastroenterology, orthopaedics, oncology and other disciplines.

A pool of highly accomplished medical professionals with international expertise and exposure and care givers for more than 50 specialities provide quality, integrated medical and surgical care to patients with complex medical conditions. This is motivated by Apollo’s philosophy of excellence, latest technologies, state-of-the-art infrastructure, judicious cost control and a dedicated team of administrative and support staff to deliver the best to its patients.

Both outpatient and hospital care are strengthened by programmes in research and medical education.

Apollo Gleneagles Kolkata has several national and international accreditations in its kitty. Can you please elaborate on them?

Apollo Gleneagles, Kolkata is the only hospital in Eastern India to be accredited with Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation, the international benchmark for quality. This Gold Seal of Quality is earned after going through a stringent evaluation process covering vital aspects like patient safety and consistent quality. It speaks for its commitment of providing you with the best healthcare.

Besides, AGH, Kolkata is the only hospital to receive NABL certification in six separate categories namely clinical biochemistry, clinical pathology, haematology and immunohaematology, microbiology and serology, histopathology and cytopathology.

The hospital food services is accredited by HASSAP, and the nursing college is accredited by ISO9001-2008 etc. So from the patient care to education we have got recognition for quality standardisation.

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What are the key facilities available at the hospital?

We are a multi-speciality, quaternary care hospital. We provide 360 degree clinical service, starting from high-end cardiac surgery, robotic surgery, liver transplantation, bone marrow transplantation to cancer care; we perform almost every possible treatment and diagnostic modalities available under the sun.

Share with us your technological pursuits.

Patients are increasingly more educated and discerning about their healthcare options. Technology plays an important part in the ways that patients discern how hospitals are improving throughput, access to information, and overall comfort. Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals, Kolkata is the only Joint Commission International accredited hospital in Eastern India, which provide us the patient-centric approach for providing best of class equipment. AGH has several firsts to its credit in terms of technology implementation. It introduced some of the most advanced technologies like Robotic Surgery System, 128 Slice PET CT, Novalis Tx, Cellvizio etc. for the first time in Eastern India. Despite all these new developments, we still depend on the expert physician to ensure quality healthcare. When it comes to treatment, all best tools in the world can only help if the doctor is skilled enough to perform a certain procedure.

The INGENUITY 128 PET CT at Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals is the first installation of its kind in the world with Astonish 3rd generation time-of-flight technology.

We have pioneered minimal invasive surgery and robotic surgery.

What are the latest technology-induced new techniques introduced at AGH?

EBUS: Mediastinoscopy is the ‘gold standard’ method for determining the presence of nodal metastases in the mediastinum. Generally performed as an outpatient surgical procedure, it is associated with a low rate of serious adverse effects (<1 per cent) and the procedure is highly accurate, with false negative rates reported to be between six per cent and nine per cent. Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) guided fine needle aspiration biopsy of mediastinal nodes offers a less invasive alternative for histologic sampling of the mediastinal nodes.

Fibroscan: Examination with FibroScan, also called transient elastography, is a technique used to assess liver stiffness (measured in kPa correlated to fibrosis) without invasive investigation. The result is immediate, it shows the condition of the liver and allows physicians to diagnose and monitor disease evolution in conjunction with treatment and collateral factors.

Cellvizio is an endomicroscopy system which generates optical biopsies, providing physicians with microscopic images of tissue instantaneously and in a minimally-invasive manner. This simple pattern recognition facilitates better decision-making and appropriate patient management. Cellvizio is used for various indications:

Nucleic Acid Testing (NAT) is a method of testing blood that is more sensitive than conventional tests that require the presence of antibodies to trigger a positive test result. NAT works by detecting the low levels of viral genetic material present when an infection occurs but before the body begins producing antibodies in response to a virus. NAT significantly reduces the ‘window period’ or the time between donor exposure to the virus and the appearance of antibodies. By decreasing the window period, it allows for earlier detection of the infection and thus further decreases the possibility of transmission via transfusion.

Apheresis is a special process by which donations of plasma only or platelet only can be made.

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (commonly abbreviated ECMO) is an extracorporeal technique of providing both cardiac and respiratory support oxygen to patients whose heart and lungs are so severely diseased or damaged that they can no longer serve their function. Initial cannulation of a patient receiving ECMO is performed by a surgeon or anesthetist and maintenance of the patient is the responsibility of the Perfusionist or ECMO Specialist who gives 24/7 monitoring care for the duration of the ECMO treatment.

Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery, also known as MICS CABG (Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery/Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting) or the McGinn Technique is heart surgery performed through several small incisions instead of the traditional open-heart surgery that requires a median sternotomy approach. MICS CABG is a beating-heart multi-vessel procedure performed under direct vision through an anterolateral mini-thoracotomy. Advantages of MICS are less blood loss, reduced post-operative discomfort, faster healing times and lowered risk of infections, as well as eliminating the possibility for deep sternal wound infection or sternal non-union. This procedure makes heart surgery possible for patients who were previously considered too high risk for traditional surgery due to age or medical history. Patients referred for this procedure may have Coronary Artery Disease (CAD); aortic, mitral or tricuspid valve diseases; or previous unsuccessful stenting.

The da Vinci Surgical System is a robotic surgical system made by the American company Intuitive Surgical. Approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000, it is designed to facilitate complex surgery using a minimally invasive approach, and is controlled by a surgeon from a console. The system is commonly used for prostatectomies, and increasingly for cardiac valve repair and gynaecologic surgical procedures and nephrectomies. According to the manufacturer, the da Vinci System is called “da Vinci” in part “because Leonardo da Vinci invented the first robot”, according to the Italian academic Mario Taddei.

The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a biochemical technology in molecular biology used to amplify a single copy or a few copies of a piece of DNA across several orders of magnitude, generating thousands to millions of copies of a particular DNA sequence. Developed in 1983 by Kary Mullis, PCR is now a common and often indispensable technique used in medical and biological research labs for a variety of applications These include DNA cloning for sequencing, DNA-based phylogeny, or functional analysis of genes; the diagnosis of hereditary diseases; the identification of genetic fingerprints (used in forensic sciences and paternity testing); and the detection and diagnosis of infectious diseases.

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a neurosurgical procedure involving the implantation of a medical device called a brain pacemaker, which sends electrical impulses, through implanted electrodes, to specific parts of the brain (brain nucleus) for the treatment of movement and affective disorders. DBS in select brain regions has provided therapeutic benefits for otherwise-treatment-resistant movement and affective disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, dystonia, chronic pain, major depression and OCD.

Computer-assisted orthopaedic surgery (sometimes abbreviated as CAOS) is a discipline where computer technology is applied pre-, intra- and/or post-operatively to improve the outcome of orthopaedic surgical procedures. CAOS is an active research discipline which brings together orthopaedic practitioners with traditionally technical disciplines, such as engineering, computer science and robotics.

Holmium Laser: The 100 watt Holmium Laser is one of the newest addition in the hospital in the field of minimal invasive uro surgery. The hospital provides state-of-the-art 360 degree urology care under one roof.

MED MANTRA: New age health information system. In an increasingly digitally connected world, new technology allows the field of healthcare to make drastic changes that streamline the system. Software programmes enable population statistics to be tracked and can help with diagnoses. In addition, new billing methods and tracking procedures make it easier to identify  a patient’s past treatments Overall; this reduces the amount of paperwork, increases the rate of successful treatments and allows practitioners to look at the entire population when treating an epidemic.

AGH has recently announced a significant extension of the company’s central laboratory capabilities. Can you elaborate on this?

AGH has recently announced a significant extension of the company’s central laboratory capabilities with the opening of a state-of-the-art Nucleic acid Amplification Testing (NAT) laboratory that enables it to provide in-region, near real-time NAT testing required to ensure the safest donor blood screening to reduce the risk of HIV, HCV, and HBV transmission through blood.

What are your views on healthcare manpower resource?

The healthcare sector is experiencing significant and rapid change; but the dramatic change is yet to come. In an evolving and challenging environment, healthcare organisations need to ensure high levels of technical and professional expertise. The main crunch in this entire matter is skilled manpower. Human capital is distinctly different from the tangible monetary capital due to the extraordinary characteristic of human capital to grow cumulatively over a long period of time.

The growth of tangible monetary capital is not always linear due to the shocks of business cycles. During the period of prosperity, monetary capital grows at relatively higher rate while during the period of recession and depression there is deceleration of monetary capital. On the other hand, human capital has uniformly rising rate of growth over a long period of time because of the very nature of the foundation. This trained human capital doesn’t include only the doctors but nurses, technicians and health system managers.

What is your mission statement?

Our mission is to bring healthcare of international standards within the reach of every individual. We are committed to the achievement and maintenance of excellence in education, research and healthcare for the benefit of humanity

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