December 2013

Shifting Gears From Radiology to Pathology

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“Till now we were only concentrating on Radiology and Imaging but there have been lots of demand for Pathology services from patients who come to us.” Says Dr Harsh Mahajan, Founder, Mahajan Imaging Centre, New Delhi and Former President, Indian Radiological and Imaging Association (IRIA). In conversation with Ankush Kumar, ENN.

Please tell us about your journey in the Healthcare Industry?
I did my MBBS from Maulana Azad Medical College and secured first position in Radiology. After passing out from PGIMER, Chandigarh, I worked as a senior resident in AIIMS. That was the time when old scenarios were changing, and radiology techniques such as ultrasound and CT were emerging. In 1987, I was awarded a Rotary Foundation International Scholarship and went to M.D Anderson Cancer Hospital at Houston, Texas, USA for a super specialist fellowship in Magnetic Resonance Imaging. MRI was at that time very new, even in the US. I did primary research in cancer imaging using MRI and joined as a faculty of this hospital. After one year, despite a lot of allurements to stay back i decided to come back to India with a dream of bringing the latest technology in India. Gradually in partnership i opened a centre at Green Park with first ever 1.5 Tesla MRI machine by GE. Unfortunately, our partner expired in 1998 and then we stood alone in the market, we  worked harder and opened around seven new centers. We also started nuclear medicine and Bone Densitometry Centre at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi. In July 2001, we started another MRI centre in Dehradun. In keeping with the same vision we got into a public private partnership with the Uttarakhand Government to run the MRI centre at Doon Hospital, Dehradun which is the largest government hospital in Uttarakhand.

“I feel that Molecular Imaging from Radiology at Nuclear Medicine side and In-Vetro Molecular Diagnostics from Pathology at Genomic side are going to merge and become a very powerful tool for prevention of diseases”

What are your expansion and modernisation plans in India? Do you see any major roadblock in the Healthcare industry?
We currently oprate eight centers, six of them in Delhi and two in Uttarakhand, and Dehradun. We plan to expand in North India and we will do that in the next 5-8 years. We are looking to increase the total tally of centers to 28 in the next five years. Moreover in our expansion plans we are genuinely focusing on the training and development of the new Radiologists that are coming up. We also want to delve into the research which is at the nascent stage in the country. We have tie-up for reserch with MIT Boston for the last six years, IIT Delhi, AIIMS but we want to do it in more formal and proper manner. If you look at the medical industry the payback takes a long time, for many of us its labor of love because we want to be doctors that’s why we are in this profession. The corporate may have a different ideology or different take whereas for us profit making is not the only motive behind this business.

Radiology has evolved rapidly in the past couple of years. What are some of the key focused areas within Radiology and what will be the future trend?
In the last few years there had been lots of focus on Molecular Imaging and Molecular Diagnostics. This is where we have taken the lead; first with the Gama camera and then by establishing the nuclear medicine centers in 2000. And in 2007 we were among the first to set up a PET CT center in Gangaram Hospital. So basically I feel that Molecular Imaging from the Radiology at Nuclear Medicine side and In-Vetro Molecular Diagnostics from the Pathology at Genomic side are going to meet and become a very powerful tool for prevention of diseases. This will be helpful in finding out who is at more risk, specially heart disease, cancer and then also help in sub typing of cancer, spread of cancer.

Are there any other services that you are planning to provide at this center?
We are going to tie up with one of the Pathology players to provide Pathology facilities, blood testing facilities, all under one roof. Till now we were only concentrating on Radiology and Imaging but there have been lot of demand for Pathology services from patients who come to us, from friends and Physicians who say that you must have Pathology. There are 5-7 large Pathology players in the market that we have identified and we will tie with one of them. With opening up of this center, for the first time we plan to do health checks, that was a need which we have not addressed before. Earliar we were very focused on disease but with the kind of facilities that we have here we are going to start health checkup as well. We will not only start just the basic health checks that we wanted to do but will take it to the next level whether it’s Genomics or CT angiography. So there will be different Health packages right from the basics to the top.

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