Driven by Vision of Healthier IndiaHailing from a peasant family and fighting odds out, Dr Nalla G Palaniswami, Founder & Chairman of the state-of-the-art multispecialty Kovai Medical Center & Hospital (KMCH), in an interaction with Elets News Network (ENN), underlines that the primary focus of KMCH is to provide quality and affordable healthcare, and elucidates the changing healthcare landscape in the country.
Can you recount the 25-year medical journey of KMCH under your leadership for us?
My vision was to provide the best medical care to the Indian population with quality, technology and systems at par with any other developed nation. Now, I can proudly say that KMCH can handle any medical case to bring best clinical outcomes. Since the beginning, I have given prominence to each and every criterion, right from selection of best staff, world-class equipment and following the ethical practice. This has helped the hospital grow. It started off in 1990 with 150 beds, and now KMCH has reached the capacity of 1,000 beds in the main centre and 325 beds in peripheral centers. This could happen only on account of the hard and sincere contribution of my team in the past 25 years; over 100 staff members have worked with us all these years. In this dynamic industry, having such a dedicated team is a great asset to an organisation.
How have you seen healthcare in the country evolve?
Indian healthcare is evolving in the right direction. Although there are gaps in our delivery system, we have immense potential to grow. Continuous rise in the premium volumes of insurance companies shows that awareness about proper healthcare is growing fast in India. The medical tourism sector is growing as the number of foreigners travelling for medical purposes is spiralling every year. For quicker, accurate and cost-efficient transactions, IT technology is used very intensively in India; hospitals want to deliver services better and faster. The increasing accreditation activity by many healthcare institutions suggests that the focus of the domain is more patient-centric and is yielding better results. India is going to be one of the best healthcare destinations in future.
What are the areas of operation that KMCH has presence in and where it sees opportunities of growth?
KMCH is a corporate hospital with 7,000 shareholders. We do all transplant surgeries like kidney, liver, heart, lung and bone marrow. Our success rate is very high compared to the industry norms. We give focused attention to our patients and specialise in Neuro, Cardio, Ortho and OBG-related treatments. Our ICUs have 95-100 per cent occupancy, mainly referred from other nursing homes and hospitals. Our interventional radiology is one of the best and successful models in the country. We plan to start robotic surgery and neuro navigation procedures shortly. Even now we have ample grow opportunity as the demand for patient rooms are mostly unmet.
KMCH started off in 1990 with 150 beds, and now it has reached the capacity of 1,000 beds in the main centre and 325 beds in peripheral centers. This could happen only on account of the hard and sincere contribution of my team in the past 25 years…
What makes KMCH stand apart from the rest in the industry?
Our ethical practices and transparency in billing makes our patients pose more faith in us. We have a dedicated quality department led by a professional doctor as Director- Quality. We also have a team that ensures the patients get quality service at each stage. We offer international quality services at an affordable cost. We don’t compromise on the quality, technology updates, and we can serve all strata of population. You established the Kovai Medical Center Research and Educational Trust (KMCRET) way back in 1990.
How do you see the future of medical education in the country?
Medical education in the country always needs to expand to meet the shortfall. India needs 1.5 million doctors and 2-4 million nurses by 2025. Nursing and paramedical courses like Occupational Therapy is always in great demand. Many of our students are well placed not only in India but in many countries like the US, the UK and Gulf. We are also planning to start a medical college.
How does the group aim to contribute and achieve the aim of ‘Healthcare for All’?
‘Healthcare for All’ is a much-needed concept for India and can be implemented, provided there is substantial support from the Central Government in terms of fund allocation and other infrastructure requirements. As part of CSR activity, we have undertaken many social projects. We have adopted some villages and try to meet the health needs of the population by conducting medical camps, screening programmes for breast cancer, testing of prevalence of diabetes without any financial benefit from the society. We have built 75 toilets to improve the sanitary conditions at a cost of one crore last year.
1990: Inauguration of Kovai Medical Center and Hospital
What are the policy interventions that the healthcare sector in Tamil Nadu needs to align with the healthcare objectives at the national level?
Tamil Nadu is one of the states faring well in health delivery system. A commitment to improve the health and wellbeing of the citizens by allocating more funds and infrastructure, and greater focus on preventive and productive healthcare is needed. There is a scope to improve sanitary conditions in certain pockets of the state. Village health sanitation and nutrition committee and its urban equivalents must be strengthened and utilised in a better manner. At present, the healthcare sector accounts for 4.1 per cent of GDP. In this, public spending is only one per cent. Nearly 75 per cent of patients are treated by private sector. To serve larger number of people, governments should spend more on public sector healthcare outlets.
How important is the national Skill India Mission? Do you think it will help healthcare sector?
To build a better India, developing skill should be our mission. To align with this mission, we have a separate training cell to upgrade the existing workforce and disseminate knowledge to new ones. KMCH conducts Continuing Medical Education Programme (CMEP) meeting at least once in a week on specialties. We encourage our doctors and staff to conduct and attend skill developing conferences and programmes. One of the projects in the pipeline is a full-fledged library and separate allied healthcare training programmes in various areas of hospital functions in like OT technology, Radiology, ER Tech etc.