January 2017

FLAG BEARERS of Excellence in Healthcare

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Dr Nandakumar Jairam, GMD & Chairman, Columbia Asia Hospitals

With passion for making people better, Columbia Asia Hospital has been redefi ning quality healthcare in India based on strong foundation of benchmarked protocols and practice, state-of-the-art technology and infrastructure supported by well trained staff and high ethical standards. Dr Nandakumar Jairam, GMD & Chairman, Columbia Asia Hospitals, in an interview with Elets News Network (ENN), gives valuable insights into the values that separate the group from other healthcare providers.

What drives Columbia Asia Hospital’s vision and growth in India?

Our organisational focus on patient care, people development and innovation makes us one of the flag bearers of clinical and service excellence in healthcare.

At Columbia Asia Hospitals, patients are the centre of everyone’s attention and care. Looking after their condition, convenience and comfort is the highest priority. The look and feel of Columbia Asia Hospitals is characteristic and unique in architecture and design. The expertise and competence of our consultants, paramedics and staff forms the essence of the brand.

Some of the key differentiators include flat pricing for procedures and digitised patients records. The brand is today synonymous with:

● High quality clinical care and outcomes

● Benchmarked protocols and practice

● State-of-the-art technology & infrastructure

● High standards of infection control & hygiene

● Personalised service provided by well trained staff

● Ethical standards

● Excellent value

Our vision: To have a passion for making people better.

Our values include:

CUSTOMER FIRST – Anticipating customer needs and exceeding their expectations

EXCELLENCE – Delivering the highest standard of patient care.

TEAMWORK – Working together with mutual respect towards a common goal.

INTEGRITY – Honesty and a commitment to always doing the right thing.

CARING – Nurturing a culture of caring for our patients, their families, and each other.

COMMUNITY – Sharing and being involved in the life of the communities we serve.

How is Columbia Asia different from other super-specialty hospitals that have come up across the country in recent years?

At Columbia Asia, comprehensive medical programmes demand ethics, excellence and strict clinical governance. All of our operations follow international quality assurance guidelines that meet the highest standard of patient care. These, combined with a transparent pricing structure, are the fundamental pillars in the practice of evidence based healthcare at Columbia Asia.

The clinical programme at our hospitals has evolved over the years based on the changing need of the community. We have added super specializations like Liver Transplantation, Bone Marrow Transplantation, Deep Brain Stimulation, High-end Urology, High-end Neurosurgical procedures, Interventional Cardiology, Cardiac surgery, Bariatric Surgery, IVF, and others. We have established centres of excellence (CoE) around specialties like kidney transplant, gastric and liver diseases and orthopedics, to name a few. The core elements that go into a CoE include engaging the patient by educating him or her better about the disease condition, an integrated care approach and driving excellence in patient care while objectively measuring the quality of our efforts and outcomes.

We have standardised clinical terminologies through the adoption of SNOMED CT for all the procedures and also the adoption of ICD 10 for diagnoses. Using standard terminologies allows us to practice evidence based medicine by comparing the treatment given to patients for the same diagnoses or procedure and ensuring that the treatment is standardised and audited by collating and comparing records for patients with similar diagnoses.

All the employees are extensively trained in our 3C brand standards. These are experiential standards which enhance the customer journey through each of the touch points. All the employees are encouraged to live upto the 3C standards. Each customer is different and understanding them is an art. Customer profiling together with anticipating their eminent and hidden needs to exceed expectations are our tools in doing so. The employees are trained to be competent, warm, friendly and passionate about what they do and have the spirit to serve. When you meet a Columbia Asian, you’ll be greeted with a smile and a warm sense of pride.

Columbia Asia continuously encourages innovation.

● Multidisciplinary team meetings to understand a medical situation to evaluate and finalize the optimal way in which the patient can be handled.

● Using technology as an enabler to drive better patient experience and outcomes e.g. tele radiology and telemedicine, consultant and patient applications, self-help kiosks, etc.

● Continuous exposure to managers to adopt best practices in the industry through well planned training programs (in-house and external)

● Encouraging innovation by having informal sessions with employees and recognizing and pushing them to innovate.

● Learning from other industries – The Company encourages industry experts from non-healthcare settings to engage and share their experiences as well as practices. The company also hires from other industries. This allows them to gain valuable inputs for improving existing processes.

Columbia Asia has been successfully running a 10-bed hospital that has recently been scaled up to 30 patient beds, for the last five years in Doddaballapur, a rural area adjoining Bangalore

Please brief us about the healthcare services being offered by Columbia Asia.

Columbia Asia hospitals aim to be the preferred choice of healthcare services for families and businesses. With around 100 beds per medical facility for the multi-specialty hospitals and around 200 beds in the referral hospitals, the buildings showcase smooth patient flow and new medical technologies to decrease the levels of invasive treatments; the efficiency of patient care is optimized resulting in a shorter length of stay and hence reduced costs and better affordability for patients. As progressive as medical technology may be, the differentiation in healthcare relies much on the people delivering the care – highly skilled medical consultants, caring nurses as well as teams of committed staff who see to every patient’s needs.

The multi-specialty hospitals of Columbia Asia provide a wide array of medical services such as general surgery, interventional cardiology, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, orthopedics and internal medicine. The referral hospital provides comprehensive tertiary care and high end services in multiple specialties like interventional and surgical cardiology, liver transplant, bone marrow transplant, etc. These are supported by a comprehensive list of ancillary services that include an intensive care unit, neonatal care unit, physiotherapy, laboratory, pharmacy and imaging.

With rural-urban gap in tertiary care a major concern in India why most tertiary care hospitals are located in urban areas? What are the key challenges for private hospitals to set up base in rural areas of the country?

Lack of trained manpower and availability of the desired infrastructure and ability to pay for services are the major challenges that come in the way of setting up tertiary care hospitals in rural areas.

However, Columbia Asia has been successfully running a 10 bed hospital that has recently been scaled up to 30 patient beds, for the last five years in Doddaballapur, a rural area adjoining Bangalore.

Similarly, we have been successfully running 100-bed hospitals in Tier-II towns like Patiala, Mysore and Ghaziabad. All these hospitals now offer high end-services like interventional cardiology, renal transplants, joint replacements, and so on . In fact our Patiala hospital runs the only transplant centre in entire Malwa region of Punjab.

Please share with us your future expansion plans.

We plan to commission our upcoming 206-bed hospital in Sarjapur, Bangalore during the fourth quarter of the 2017. This will be our fifth hospital in the Bangalore cluster. We plan to expand in the Pune area as well shortly.

 

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