Bhaktivedanta Hospital – The Missing Prescription

radhanath-swami“If we do not actively invest in our spiritual growth, quality of life remains shallow… We should be in harmony with our own consciousness; our mind, body, and soul should be one in interest and in purpose. And in that unified condition, we can actually express that natural innate love that we have found in our own life in everything we do in the world.â€His Holiness Radhanath Swami


“The purpose of our life is to clean the environment of our heart. The art of loving creates the unity which has unlimited spiritual strength and that is the greatest need in the world today. To the degree we have love and harmony in our heart, to that degree we can give it to others. This is very much true and applicable for medical professionals,†says His Holiness Radhanath Swami, the inspiration behind founding of Bhakti Vedanta Hospital and Research Institute, in an exclusive conversation with Elets News Network (ENN).

In your view, what is the current healthcare scenario?

Indian Healthcare is a story of big contradictions. On one hand, we have the best of brains in healthcare that are more innovative and tech-savvy besides being quick to learn.


On the other hand, we are unable to provide affordable healthcare to majority of the population. While healthcare has become one of India’s largest sectors – in terms of revenue and employment (as we have institutions and providers both in private and public that is comparable to the world’s best in secondary, tertiary and quaternary care), we still have a long way to go in providing primary care to the rural and tribal population.

Today, healthcare comprises hospitals, medical devices, clinical trials, outsourcing, tele-medicine, medical tourism, health insurance, medical equipment, etc. The Indian healthcare sector is growing at a brisk pace due to its coverage, services and rising investment. India’s competitive advantage lies in its large pool of welltrained medical professionals and in cost-effectiveness compared to Asia and western countries.

In the recent conference of FICCI – HEAL 2016, the more relevant subject matter of “Trust Deficit†between providers and patients was discussed.

37% of the patients believe that the hospitals do not act in the best interest of the patient and 28% of the patients believe that the doctors did not act in the best interest of the patients. Hence, it is time for us to address the missing prescription.

What are the key objectives of Bhaktivedanta Hospital? Kindly give detail of infrastructure and portfolio services available.

• Bhaktivedanta Hospital and Research Institute, located at Mira Road, Thane District is NABH Accredited and a fully equipped 225-bed multi-specialty hospital, providing comprehensive, state-of-the-art healthcare facilities for all varieties of diagnostic, medical, surgical and critical cases.

• The vision of the hospital is to serve the humanity by providing affordable and quality healthcare which is holistic in nature implying care of body, mind and soul. The hospital follows the values of serving in devotion with a sense of responsibility and contributing towards sustainable community healthcare development in the society.

• Dr. Ajay Sankhe, Director (MD Paediatrics) and founding doctor, emphasises “During Vedic times, medical profession stood on the tripod of care, compassion andcompetence. However, we see the erosion of values and all the three Cs have gone for a toss. Thus, the purpose of our hospital is to bring back the glories of medical profession. Our key objective is to help establish a paradigm shift in 21st Century healthcare from a focus on the treatment of disease to the promotion of wellness of individuals, families and communities that is patient centered and community-based.

• Bhaktivedanta Hospital has been focusing on spiritual care as a key dimension to healthcare. It has a unique “Department of Spiritual Care†headed by Dr. V. G. Shanbhag and supported by 25+ staff. To this end, we have identified certain areas of concern – lack of spirituality, trust deficit, downward trend of ethics and values. A change in thought process, behaviour, value-based education, programme development and operations will produce significant, measurable and beneficial results.

• The hospital owned by Sri Chaitanya Seva Trust has been rendering various Community Health Programmes for the poor and the needy spectrum ofthe society since its inception on 11th January, 1998. The hospital was started by a group of doctors who are together since college days and have done over 1,000 camps in rural areas for the needy.

• It serves approximate 5.6 million people in and around Mira-Bhayander and Thane and Palghar districts.

• While treatment is provided with the latest available technology, care is taken to ensure that the equipment and automation do not compromise the personal touch provided by carefully trained staff.

• The hospital is committed to provide quality healthcare to one and all without discrimination and regardless of social, ethnic, religious or political affiliations.

What are the parameters on which Bhaktivedanta healthcare services hold distinction from competing service providers?

At Bhaktivedanta Hospital and Research Institute, treatment is given not just for the body but also for the mind and soul. Patients, who are shattered physically; emotionally and spiritually, receive Spiritual Care free of cost, irrespective of their religious faith. The purpose is to provide solace through Spiritual SupportSystem to face and overcome their shattered condition.

dr-ajay-sankhe“The vision of the hospital is to serve the humanity by providing affordable and quality healthcare which is holistic in nature implying care of body, mind and soul.â€Dr Ajay Sankhe

Our USP is Unique Service Proposition rather than Unique Selling Proposition. We believe that patients are individual human beings with varied requirements. Hence, personalised approach in spiritual care fulfils the need. Patients need not only physical treatment but also counselling for addressing mental, emotional and spiritual needs. On one hand, Spiritual Care is cost effective and on the other hand it results in overall improvement in health. Research studies (Harvard Medical) have shown that Average Length of Stay (ALOS) has reduced for those who have received spiritual care.

Being a healthcare service provider and research institute, you have specific “Spiritual Care Departmentâ€, what is the concept behind it?

The source of inspiration for Spiritual Care department is none other than A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami and His Holiness Radhanath Swami. The purpose is to provide for the overall betterment of the patient, not just the bodily treatment. Dr. Ajay Sankhe, who spearheads the institution, aptly sums up the objectives of Spiritual Care:

• Reincorporation of traditional Vedic knowledge and art of healing into the science of healthcare – embracing body, mind, spirit and community involvement.

• Restoration of a healthy relationship with the Lord, environment and natural way of living encompassing a holistic approach.

• Management of the treatment of disease with emphasis on lifestyle changes, prevention behaviour and selfresponsibility.

• Integration of the effective and proven complementary and alternative disciplines.

• Encourage and support counselling using M-A-T-C-H Formula and document the entire process of Spiritual Care for wider applicationin Health Care Delivery.

What kind of research or training modules are being implemented by Bhaktivedanta’s Medical Research Department to ensure clinicians and clinical researchers stay competent for high quality solutions?

Medical research department at Bhaktivedanta Hospital and Research Institute is well-equipped with all essential facilities which are necessary to conduct clinical trials of drugs, and other innovative researches etc.

It’s a success story of exemplary functioning of an ethics committee in a non-teaching hospital.


• BhaktiVedanta Hospital Ethics Committee (BhaktiVedanta HEC) is registered as Institutional Ethics Committee under Central Drug standard control organisation (CDSCO) working under Union Health Ministry, New Delhi, in June 2013.

• Successfully registered under USFDA (Drug regulatory body of United states) for conducting any global clinical research studies as authorised research centre in May 2015, among very few hospital in India (GDUFA FEI Number is 3010542690 under regulation 21 CFR, Part 207)

Key aspects of our research initiatives include:

• Successful implementation of 56 Studies in a very short span of 3 years from inception of Medical Research department

• The institute is selected as one of the sites for 6 Global and 21 National Clinical Drug Trials, actively contributing towards availability of newer and cost effective medicines to patients in the coming years.

Any plans for collaboration with regard to research department or in any other segment?

The medical research department aims to undertake and promote scientific and ethical research studies dedicating towards new outcomes for better patienttreatment and care. Centralised medical research department headed by Dr. Komal Dalal and Dr. Parag Sarve coordinates with all clinical departments of hospital to facilitate all Investigator Initiated and Sponsored Clinical research projects.

It includes a large number and variety of patients, state of-theart diagnostic and therapeutic technologies and an excellent medical record system. The department also promotes Investigator Initiated studies in all specialties which includes Spiritual care, Ayurveda, Herbal Medicine, Nutraceuticals etc.


Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan awarding Dr Ajay Sankhe, Director, Bhakti Vedanta Hospital, Mumbai

So far, we have

• 14 Publications in national and international Journals including case papers and original articles

• 4 Research/Poster presentations in National and International Conferences

Spiritual Care Research Initiatives

Research Proposals under Publication- Proved Significant Impact of Spiritual Care on

1. 250 cancer patients and their caregiver undergoing surgical treatment to reduce anxiety
2. 100 Diagnosed Generalised Anxiety and Depression undergoing Medicinal Therapy

Ongoing Spiritual Care Research includes:

1. Angioplasty Patients
2. Hemodialysis Patients, just to mention a few.

His Holiness Radhanath Swami

radhanath-swami-1His Holiness Radhanath Swami has been the inspiration behind Bhakti vedanta Hospital and Research Institute. He is also the member of governing body commission of ISKCON. It was his compassion which motivated the group of doctors to begin medical services for the needy section through outreach healthcare initiatives. He is one of the disciples of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder Acharya of ISKCON. “Bhaktivedanta Hospital is a Temple of healing and it is meant to provide treatment for the body, mind and soulâ€, says His Holiness Radhanath Swami, who has authored bestsellers ‘Journey Home’ and the latest ‘Journey Within’. Hehas been a regular speaker at some of the leading international forums and is held in the highest esteem by many eminent personalities. He has addressed organisations like Google, E&Y, HSBC global headquarters London, Intel, Oracle, Apple, Milken Global Conference, etc. In the recent times, Swami was invited for one to one meet with US President Barack Obama and former Indian President Pratibha Patil. He has also addressed the MPs at the House of Commons in London.

His other initiatives like Annamrita (a mid-day meal project for municipal schools) and Govardhan Eco Village (an organic self-sustaining village) are commendable.

His Holiness Radhanath Swami travels regularly throughout India, US and other countries sharing the teachings of Bhakti Yoga.

What are your future plans in terms of expansion, technology adoption and offerings? What is your market share in each service segment?

• We are soon going for expansion to meet the community health requirements.

• We are also focusing on setting-up primary health/ day-care centres in rural & tribal areas of Wada, Talaseri, etc.

• We manage and work towards self-sustainability of idle facilities, thereby increasing the services to the needy.

• We have tested and implemented spiritual care as a curriculum in our Nursing Institute.

• Spiritual Care in Healthcare delivery is our innovation and we encourage others to incorporate spiritual care in healthcare delivery.

What are the major challenges in healthcare sector?

While technology is getting smarter and extensively used in patient care, still the patient satisfaction has not shown any marked improvement. The patients are increasingly becoming impatient. The emerging scenario of Trust Deficit led Bhaktivedanta Hospital to search for the missing prescription in healthcare delivery and came up with the concept of Spiritual Care.

Dr. Ajay Sankhe abridges that “Advancement in technology, newer medicines, more number of superspecialists but alas, less of wellness and more sufferings of the patients – led us to think of alternatives to support patients. Why to keep on copying the western world for healthcare deliveries and why not India contribute to the world based on the Vedic Technology and help in holistic care and cost reduction. Thus, the spiritual care and counselling got initiatedâ€.

ram“Bhaktivedanta Hospital is a practical application of the concept of Management by Spirituality – MBS. We have won many awards including Ethical Organisation in Healthcare services and trendsetter in patient’s well-being and quality care, from Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan. We are part of GFESH – Global Foundation for Ethics & Spiritual Health and weare keen to bring back the glories of Medical Professionâ€, says Dr. K. Venkataramanan, Ph. D., Director – Projects and Programme at Bhaktivedanta Hospital & Research Institute.

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