Affordable No-frills Health Services
February 2016

Affordable No-frills Health Services

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Dr Dharminder Nagar

Dr Dharminder Nagar
MD & CEO, Paras Hospital

It is important to invest in clinical services for providing better care delivery to the patients rather than spending on luxury hotel-like infrastructures, suggests Dr Dharminder Nagar, MD & CEO, Paras Hospital, in tête-à-tête with Romiya Das of Elets News Network (ENN)

What is our opinion about the present healthcare scenario in India?

The present healthcare scenario of our country leaves much to be desired. In urban sectors, the word ‘care’ does make some sense, but most of the country is yet to receive proper healthcare delivery. Both the government and the private healthcare providers have not been able to deliver on this front. The government’s efforts towards the healthcare have also made to make the desired impact; they are more focused on tertiary care, while the private sector has mostly been richoriented. In other words, both the government and the private sector are playing a similar role by creating tertiary care environment in large cities. The government has apparently been less focused to the district hospitals and primary healthcare centres (PHCs), and as for as the private sector, it has not really penetrated across the country other than the metro cities. However, s o u t h e r n India is doing much better in terms of care delivery as compared to the northern and eastern states of India, which are literally 5-10 years behind their southern counterparts. As a nation, we are perhaps 30 years behind not just the developed world but some of the Third World countries as well.

How is Paras Hospital contributing towards containing the trend of escalating out-ofthe- pocket healthcare expenditure?

At Paras, we are quite aware and have over the years focussed on creating value for the middle-class population. We try to minimise our per-bed cost when we build a facility, as we do not go for pomp and show, like putting up large chandeliers, double or triple height lobbies, etc., the cost of which is ultimately passed on to the patients. We are delivering value to the patients, both financial as well as qualitative. The service providers should focus on clinical care without compromising on nursing, doctors and support staff. For instance, rather than having 55 front offices, people we can work with 25. But today, there are more front office people than nurses in hospitals. Patient experience in non-clinical services has become more important these days, whereas patients’ experience in clinical services is actually going down and expenditure escalating. Paras has always had this value at the core of its business, strategy and philosophy of delivering value to its patients, treating them with qualitative healthcare services, so as to send them home happy. This is the only way to deliver healthcare to more and more people in an affordable and convenient manner. Delivering healthcare to the top 5-10 per cent of the population or restricting themselves to metros will not work for this country.

Is IT changing the face of healthcare delivery? What are the solutions adopted by your hospitals?

IT is one of those beautiful things for healthcare, but it is actually the biggest bottleneck as well. Everybody wants to use it, but nobody finds it easy to use. I’m a firm believer in IT and want that whatever bit is happening in the hospital, I should be able to view on my computer. So, Hospital Information System (HIS) is the core not just for the billing part of it, but also everything else – whether it is statistical data, patient data, etc., both from hospital’s and doctor’s perspective. We are slowly adopting Electronic Medical Records (EMR) in our departments, which have shown pro-activeness and willingness. We are taking it as a two-five years’ plan to implement across the board. What we can do is bring in EMR in a phased manner, and at the backhand use Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP); we are using Microsoft Dynamics Navision ERP 2 – HIS, but then talking to each other is mandatory. From the patient’s perspective, data view or record keeping, EMR will become an important tool with each passing day. One can get the best EMR solutions from abroad, but every cost in healthcare comes from the patient’s pocket. So, the value proposition has to be there. It must benefit the patient to the extent that he is willing to pay for it, and the synergy has to go together. IT in healthcare will become more integral in the coming 10-15 years, and IT dependency will exceed.

You have launched mother and child care chain ‘Paras Bliss’. Can you elaborate on this?

All the large hospitals are mostly acute care hospitals, where you see patients coming with various diseases, accidental cases, etc. However, childbirth, despite being a bliss, is stressful for a woman. That being the reason, we have launched a special branch – Paras Bliss – to provide a separate environment to the expecting women rather than allowing an interface with critical patients. Imagine a situation where the next door patient is the one with a cardiac arrest or somebody, who just got his brain tumor removed, and there are expectant mothers are there to deliver a healthy child. It wouldn’t be an ideal situation. So, we felt the need for a concept like Paras Bliss, keeping the two in separate environments and giving child delivery due importance.

We are slowly adopting Electronic Medical Records (EMR) in our departments, which have shown pro-activeness and willingness. We are taking it as a two-five years’ plan to implement across the board

We intend to have five 50-bedded Paras Bliss facilities in the next three years, and hope to announce one or two this year itself. We recently opened our Panchkula facility that provides programmes developed to address the apprehensions, fears and problems of expectant mothers. The programmes have been developed with keen clinical insight and supported by ancillary services provide pre-natal solutions. From lactation counselling, mommy massage, toddler/infant care to antenatal classes, post delivery weight reduction programme, stretch mark treatment and adolescent care programme – the hospital aims at providing comprehensive medical and supportive care to the community

What is the expansion plan of the Paras group?

We want to be a North India-based player, making healthcare accessible and affordable. We want to fill the gaps created by quality, accessibility and value proposition. As of now, we have 730 beds, and we plan for 2,000 beds in the coming three years. Besides, we also have 10-year plans to add a few thousand more beds. The purpose of the expansion is to meet the unfulfilled demands, whether qualitative, accessibility issues or affordability issues.

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