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In India, we aim to focus on providing high quality care

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Aditya Singh, MD, DaVita Care India in an interaction with Express Healthcare, talks about DaVita’s latest offering in dialysis treatment and the company’s growth prospect

How do you foresee growth in the Indian dialysis market?

Less than 10 per cent of End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) patients who need dialysis are currently on dialysis treatment, which is indicative of a huge need-gap. Most of the need gap exists in Tier-II and Tier-III cities, where there is considerable potential to offer treatment and bring quality care to patients. In metros and Tier-I cities, where capacity for dialysis treatment is already in place, there are opportunities for quality-focussed providers like DaVita to offer the latest in dialysis treatment and excellence in clinical outcomes. As such, there exists a potential for double digit growth in the number of dialysis patients, especially in Tier-II and Tier-III cities.

Would you like to share some insights on the challenges and opportunities to improve dialysis access and care in India?

There are three key challenges to overcome:

1) lack of awareness and diagnosis

2) affordability

3) infrastructure and trained manpower

1) Diagnosis and awareness: There are approximately 1,200 nephrologists in India for a population of over 1.3 billion people or approximately one nephrologist per 1,100,000 population. In comparison, the US has roughly over 10,000 nephrologists for a population of about 323 million people or approximately one nephrologist per 33,000 population. The obvious answer is that we need more nephrologists. However, that can only be a long-term goal; in the short term, there is a need to train more physicians to be able to detect and manage kidney diseases in its early stages.

2) Affordability: In most countries where dialysis treatment has evolved, there is a well-developed government and charitable support structure that subsidises dialysis as it is an expensive life-sustaining therapy. In comparison, approximately 60 per cent dialysis patients pay-out-of-pocket for their treatment in India. While the government has done a commendable job in launching the National Dialysis Programme, the programme needs to be revisited to ensure outcomes-centric results for patients and provision of adequate remuneration levels to sustainably support quality treatment.

3) Infrastructure and trained manpower: Significant investment in infrastructure and capacity is needed along with the creation of training programmes for dialysis therapists and medical officers.

How can hospitals benefit by outsourcing or bringing in speciality providers?

Dialysis is a highly specialised therapy and needs considerable expertise; often it is not the core competency or focus of a hospital, but it is necessary to offer a full range of services. In this context, a speciality dialysis provider can add value in the following ways:

1) Standardised and industry-recognised clinical policies and protocols incorporating global best practices.

2) Ability to recruit and train dialysis manpower at a much larger scale as compared to any single hospital.

DaVita envisions building the greatest healthcare community the world has ever seen. What opportunities does this present for healthcare providers and hospitals?
Hospitals are faced with a challenging business environment and providing quality care requires meticulous efforts. DaVita, which focusses on dialysis care, helps build operational efficiencies for healthcare providers and creates opportunities for clinical excellence. DaVita is committed to providing quality care for their patients and achieving high patient satisfaction.

DaVita is a community first and a company second. Can you please elaborate on the community-based approach of DaVita and how it gets reflected in the way patients are treated?

DaVita, which is Italian for ‘giving life’, is committed to providing quality dialysis care in India. A community-based approach forms the spirit of DaVita and we take pride in the way we care for each other, our patients and our communities. Our Core Values – Service Excellence, Integrity, Team, Continuous Improvement, Accountability, Compassion and Ananda – are our beliefs and guiding principles that enable and encourage us to make the right decisions and deliver industry-leading care to our patient community. Our ‘Zero Compromise Dialysis’ policy reflects in our holistic approach to dialysis treatment with extensive patient counselling, integrated treatment plans covering dietary management, anaemia management, vaccinations and other medication management as well as individualised improvement plans for patients.

As part of giving back to the community, we offer education about Chronic Kidney Disease and ways to prevent it via education camps as well as running no-cost kidney screening programmes. Bridge of Life (BOL) is an international non-profit organisation, founded by DaVita, working to improve health, wellness and vitality. BOL’s mission is to improve kidney care in underserved areas of the world. We partner with them to help raise funds as well as provide volunteers for their missions.

What, according to you, are the global practices in DaVita which set you apart from other dialysis providers in India?

We rely on three important parameters to ensure quality dialysis services:

  • Policies and protocols: We are committed to implement global best practices in healthcare including top-notch infection-control protocols. Our operations are driven by policies and protocols defined by experts in nephrology and customised to Indian conditions. We have a dedicated clinical services team focussed on patient satisfaction and tracking clinical outcomes.
  • Patient comfort: DaVita strives to improve patients’ quality of life by innovating clinical care and offering integrated treatment plans. We believe in attentive and compassionate care and have several patient comfort facilities including dialysis recliners and individual TV screens.
  • Infrastructure: We monitor electronic patient data in real time, enabling us to take corrective measures to mitigate harms from the physiological changes that occur during dialysis. We have state-of-the-art machines with data-capture facility, bringing in expertise from DaVita USA and quality RO plants.

How many new partnerships are expected in 2018? What message would you like to share with prospective hospital partners?

In India, we aim to focus on improving the overall standard of dialysis care in the country. To that extent, we would like to work with like-minded and value-aligned hospital partners. We prioritise quality care over rapid expansion and, thus, have no numerical target in mind; we will open centres and work with partners based on the above objectives. We are invested in improving clinical outcomes for our patients.

Any interesting update you would like to share with the readers?

Kidney disease is likely to affect 1 in 10 Indians. However, the awareness about its seriousness remains low, at only 7 per cent of the total population. Hence, it is important to detect kidney disease risk factors early on, so that adequate treatment can be provided, and progression of ESRD can be mitigated. Keeping these objectives in mind, we recently collaborated with ‘Spreading Hope’, a non-profit foundation, to start a pan-India drive on kidney awareness and organ donation.
Spread across 11 cities covering 9,000 kilometres, the initiative was focussed on increasing awareness on kidney disease through classroom-type sessions and no-cost kidney screenings. Kidney disease is a silent killer and there has not been enough cognizance about it in India. This collaboration is a small step towards raising the awareness level and dispelling widespread notions about renal problems.

About DaVita Care India Private Limited

DaVita Care India Private Limited is a part of DaVita Inc., a Fortune 500® company, and a leading provider of kidney care in India, delivering dialysis services to patients with chronic kidney failure and end-stage renal disease. As of October 2017, DaVita Care India Private Limited serves over 1600 dialysis patients across 25 centers in 13 cities. For more information, please visit DaVita.in.

About DaVita Inc

DaVita Inc., a Fortune 500® company, is the parent company of DaVita Kidney Care and DaVita Medical Group. DaVita Kidney Care is a leading provider of kidney care in the United States, delivering dialysis services to patients with chronic kidney failure and end-stage renal disease. As of September 30, 2017, DaVita Kidney Care operated or provided administrative services at 2,470 outpatient dialysis centers located in the United States serving approximately 218,200 patients. The company also operated 230 outpatient dialysis centers located in 11 countries outside the United States. DaVita Medical Group manages and operates medical groups and affiliated physician networks in California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Washington in its pursuit to deliver excellent-quality health care in a dignified and compassionate manner. DaVita Medical Group’s teammates, employed clinicians and affiliated clinicians provided care for approximately 1.7 million patients. For more information, please visit DaVita.com/About.

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