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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

Low-cost quality healthcare a reality

Rhythma Kaul, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 28, 2013
First Published: 22:45 IST(28/4/2013) | Last Updated: 01:35 IST(29/4/2013)

This year, Noida’s Vinayak Hospital saw its footfall go up by 30% in the quarter ending March 31 compared to the same period in 2012.


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What sets the 150-bed multi-specialty hospital apart and has become its unique selling proposition (USP) is its pricing. Patients here pay Rs. 250 for consultation with a general physician as against Rs. 600-Rs 800 charged at other big private hospitals in Noida.

The Imperia Health Pvt. Ltd, a healthcare management company, is collaborating with medium (70-150 bed) and small (50-70 bed) hospitals to improve their patient satisfaction and outcome profile. Vinayak Hospital in Noida’s Sector 27 is one such hospital.  

These consultants are now stepping in to handhold these hospitals to manage them more efficiently by training their staff, cutting wastage and improving standards to provide better services at costs far lower than corporate hospitals.

“Not everyone can afford getting treated at a big private hospital, but that doesn’t mean such people don’t have the right to quality healthcare. Our aim is to strengthen these small hospitals that are not able to cope and in turn people have an option to get treated here,” said Ashwajit Singh, chairman and MD, IPE Global, who is the founder of Imperia Health.

 

The idea is to revive the concept of ‘neighborhood hospitals’ in India which is being eaten up by the competition from big corporate hospitals. It is an effort to save low-profile hospitals so that people can have access to affordable healthcare. 

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“We will be providing assistance to upgrade them with a better medical team, infrastructure and marketing. It will be their hospital, we will only be sharing our expertise to make it better,” added Dr Harsh Mahajan, eminent radiologist, who is also a board member of Imperia Health.

Such companies work on a fee-basis; it could be a fixed yearly amount or sharing a part of the extra profit.

“Since the last decade or so, corporates are getting involved in the health sector in a big way and are changing the way we work. They are extremely professional and follow certain set protocols while handling patients, which is where the smaller hospitals lag. These tie-ups will help in refining policies and setting protocols,” said Dr Saurabh Gehlaut, medical superintendent, Vinayak Hospital.

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 There are also some companies that take over smaller hospitals and upgrade them to meet market standards.

“We have been taking ownership of up to 100-bed hospitals across the country that were not performing well or lacking technology because the owner could not pump in adequate money and make them fit into our model,” said Suresh Soni, chairman and CEO, Nova Medical Centres.

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Nova’s focus area has been surgery and post-operative care. While there is no compromise in quality, the prices are lower as compared to bigger hospitals.

“Size has not got much to do with the quality and quantity of care. Our prices are at least 25% less because we reduce costs by eliminating unnecessary hospitalisation and other wastage,” added Soni.

This is a healthy trend that should reduce the burden on tertiary care hospitals.

“We are over-loaded because people come to us even with smallest of problems that can be treated at any primary hospital. If these neighbourhood hospitals offer quality care, most of our patient load will come down,” said Dr GK Rath, chief, All India Institute of Medical Sciences’ Cancer Centre.

Quiz: Are you an aware patient?

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