Dr S Warsi, Medical Superintendent of Holy Family Hospital, Delhi in a conversation with ENNs Rajesh K Sharma talks about the hospitals vision and the challenges in providing affordable healthcare
To begin with, tell us something about Holy Family Hospital
Holy Family Hospital celebrated its Diamond Jubilee celebration last year. We started functioning in 1953 as a 50-bed hospital. We are now a 352-bed hospital, of which 52 beds are in the ICU. We have a Neo-Natal Intensive Care and a Pediatric Intensive Care. We have a very busy maternity ward which is one of the oldest in South Delhi. Our aim is to provide healthcare at a reasonable cost. We try to offer what we can. We do have super-specialties like neurosurgery. We do around 800 dialyses a month. In our orthopedics department, we do transplants like hip transplant and knee replacement. All the super specialty surgeries are done but at a much lesser cost. We provide the same care which is provided in the other hospitals.
In all, how many departments do you have?
We have all the major services present except Cardiac surgery. However, we do Non-Invasive Cardiology. We dont have a big set-up of Oncology either.
How many patients does the hospital see daily?
We have two OPDs “ private OPD and general OPD. In private OPD, we see around 250 patients per day, while in general OPD, the figure can be as high as 1,000 patients in a day. We run general OPDs for all our specialties, so the actual number is quite high.
We have a very strong infectioncontrol committee, and our infectioncontrol rate can be compared with any hospital in Delhi or internationally. We have a very busy intensive-care unit, but our nosocomial infection rate is very low.
With such high numbers, how do you prevent nosocomial infections?
It is achieved simply by hand-washing. That is the simplest thing. You dont need hi-tech instruments to prevent infections. Also, we do periodic audits for hand hygiene at Holy Family Hospital for all doctors and nurses. We usually get 80 to 85 percent compliance in hand washing in the intensive care areas, and that it probably the biggest reason why we are able to keep our infection figures very low.
How difficult is it to provide affordable healthcare today?
Healthcare has become expensive. It is a major and very difficult task for us to try and keep the prices as possibly low as we can. We have a private ward and a general ward. Whatever income we generate out of the private ward, we use it to subsidise our general OPDs and general ward. For as little as at `100, a specialist will see a patient in the general ward; this will not happen anywhere else except in government hospitals. However, government hospitals are overcrowded. I am myself trained in a government hospital, and I am not saying that they dont do good work, they do, but they have been unable to cope up with the sheer numbers.
How important is insurance in making healthcare affordable?
It has made healthcare affordable. I have been associated with this hospital for close to 28 years, and have seen the changes. A significant number of our patients, now, have insurance cover. It has grown in leaps and bounds in the last few years, and I think people will opt for it, because not many can afford healthcare now-a- days.
Are you empanelled under CGHS?
We are trying to provide competitive and low-cost care, and we cannot afford to block a large amount of money in CGHS payments. We dont make the kind of profit that corporate hospitals do. They can keep themselves going even with the CGHS payment delayed, we cant. We need our daily income to look after our daily expenditures. Thats the only reason. Otherwise we would love to have CGHS and look after any patient.
Do you serve only poor patients? What about middle class patients?
The definition of middle class has changed a lot! We get a spectrum of patients, the reason being that we have single rooms which are bigger than anywhere else in South Delhi because ours is an old hospital. So, we do cater to some patients from the upper and middle class.
What role does technology play in providing affordable healthcare?
Modern technology is very expensive to afford. By technology, if you mean that sitting in your home, a doctor will be able to look at your EKGs, and your echoes on your mobile, it will become more affordable. But, I dont think, we have reached that stage.
But the government is promoting telemedicine and mobile health
Telemedicine, yes. Telemedicine helps, if in the middle of the night, we want consultations from anywhere, we use social media to send X-Ray images, or we would have a senior consultant reporting over CT scans and other reports through the night. That way, telemedicine helps us.
We have three satellite hospitals coming up in smaller places like Gurgaon, Mewat and Badashahpur. When these come up, then we will probably the parent telemedicine service provider to them. That is our long-term plan.
How often do you upgrade your technology
We are renovating our hospital, changing it right now. We have a got a HMIS system which will make appointments, availability of reports and many mundane tasks a lot easier for the patients and the doctors. If you talk about instruments, then every instrument has a fixed life, and then we change it. We go through the process of upgradation as and when required.
How successful has the government has been in its Health For All initiative as stated in the 12th FYP?
think, we in the medical fraternity must work towards Health For All. It should be our prime goal in life. I believe, everyone in the country, should be entitled to healthcare including the poor. That has been the philosophy of this hospital.
You are the same size as the other corporate hospitals, so how do you attract the rich patients?
Medicine is now a service industry, unfortunately. If patients are looking for ambience, we will not be able to match up to any of the corporate hospitals, because our charges are not high. However, if they are looking for care, I dont think there is any deficiency. We dont say that we provide all the services, but whatever we do provide, we provide it at par with other hospitals. We are an old building, so we are also in the process of gradually renovating our hospital.
What are your expectations from the new government?
Health for all. It is totally achievable. We have to increase our health expenditure. We cannot have a health expenditure which is less than the majority of other places. We are quite low as far as our health expenditure is concerned. No economy can grow if your people are not healthy.