Apollo came up with the idea of starting the first multi-specialty emergency centre when there was no concept of emergency healthcare services in the country. Apollo as a group has been and will be dedicated in improving the healthcare facilities in India, says Dr K Hari Prasad, President-Apollo Hospitals Group, in conversation with Sudheer Goutham of Elets News Network (ENN).
Please tell us about the steps taken by Apollo in terms of emergency services.
Twenty-one years ago there was no concept of emergency healthcare in the country. Back then it was known as casualty. If a patient visited the hospital, he or she was just referred to the respective department. In between these referral processes a lot of precious time was lost and unfortunately the critical patient had to bear the consequences.
Dr Prathap C. Reddy (Founder-Chairman of Apollo Hospitals) then came up with an idea of starting emergency services. In 1996, the first multi-specialty emergency service was launched by Apollo. We started the first accidental specialty hospital at Kavadi Guda in Hyderabad.
Because there were no specialty back then, there were lack of dedicated professionals/technicians and ambulances to support this initiative.
That point of time we got support from a group of doctors. We were round the clock dedicated to the emergency services and whenever there was a call from the patient’s end we were ready for service.
We made eight emergency rooms and all of them were interconnected. We even started an emergency helpline (1066) for providing round the clock assistance to the patients.
Dr Reddy wanted us to spread the technique and open emergency centres across the country. We took the initiative and designed a specialised ambulance. We started training programmes for doctors and paramedics. We replicated this model across our group of hospitals.
Several professionals, who received trainings under us are now a part of many eminent institutions.
Today, the most satisfying fact is that majority of the hospitals have adopted emergency healthcare model and have even launched an emergency helpline number. This has created new vistas for healthcare professionals.
Based on this success, the government also started thinking about taking initiatives in the field of emergency.
Today emergency is an established specialty.
Apollo has been a leader in bringing new technology in the healthcare industry. What are your views in this regard?
Whatever new initiatives have been taken in the Indian healthcare industry, has been brought it by Apollo. We are at a stage where we are taking a lot of initiatives in improving our services.
Essentially we are trying to bring in better healthcare facilities which are cost effective too. We are doing a lot of work in the field of Cancer.
Some of our initiatives include
Robotic Surgery: It helps the surgeon to see better and be precise on his/her technique. It is a huge advancement in the field of multiple specialties, especially for segments like neurology, gynecology, gastroenterology etc.
Personal medicine: If four patients get a similar disease, their symptoms can be alike but the disease will have different effect on each patient. We are therefore working on personalised medicine. This technology can bring specific treatment for the patients.
Preventive healthcare: If a person comes for a health check up, we design a personalised package for the checkup.
Tell us about your presence in the major cities.
We have our presence in almost all major cities in the country. Dr Reddy as a chairman believes in quality healthcare for all. So we decided that once we are done with advance healthcare in major cities, we will then concentrate on how to deal with healthcare in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities in the country. We developed the concept of Apollo reach hospitals for Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities and these hospitals are providing services that are ad on to the already available services.
We have recently inaugurated a hospital in Mumbai. This hospital is equipped with all the advanced healthcare facilities available in the country.
Dr Prathap C. Reddy (Founder-Chairman of Apollo Hospitals) came up with an idea of starting emergency services. In 1996, the first multi-specialty emergency service was launched by Apollo
Access to healthcare is still a challenge in the country. What are your plans for the rural regions?
We cannot be present everywhere. Initially, it is important to understand health care. Healthcare is divided into primary, secondary and tertiary category.
Most of the people require the primary healthcare and then they gradually move to tertiary depending on the necessity. We are essentially providing tertiary, the real hind end healthcare and secondary healthcare. In the areas we have our reach; we also have clinics and daycare surgery centres and cradles.
We strongly believe that there is a need to grow but there are challenges as well. We don’t have enough trained professionals in the healthcare sector.
Kindly tell us about your projects with the government sector.
We have taken a lot of initiatives in the Public-Private Partnership. We run few hospitals in PPP model. Delhi’s Indraprastha Apollo is our partnership initiative with the Delhi Government. We are also working with the Andhra Pradesh government and running their primary health centres.
Apollo has telemedicine centres in the northeastern India. We have also launched our online programme called Ask Apollo, a banquet of services with specilaised consultation.