With latest technological advancements and innovative practices, Apollo Hospitals is trying to boost patient care in rural areas. It is the largest telemedicine provider in India, enabling people to avail tele-emergency services in inaccessible regions, says Dr K Hari Prasad, President, Hospitals Division, Apollo Group, in conversation with Sudheer Goutham of Elets News Network (ENN).
Q Apollo Hospitals has been at the forefront in adapting and integrating technologies to enhance patient care. Tell us about some recent breakthroughs?
We, at Apollo, always believe in getting the best for our patients – clinical teams, processes, and technology.
Some of the recent breakthroughs include Proton Beam Therapy where high-energy proton beam is used for cancer treatment. It is one of the most superior forms of radiation therapy in the world.
The therapy will usher in a paradigm change in cancer treatment. Unlike any other radiation treatment, it provides targeted treatment and intensification.
Conventional radiotherapy uses high energy X-rays for treatment of cancer and certain benign tumours. In doing so, it damages the surrounding healthy tissue.
In contrast, proton beam delivers a high dosage of radiation, targeting the tumour cell. The novel method increases chances of cure and minimises adverse effects to surrounding healthy tissues.
Moreover, the biggest advantage of this technology is proper dose distribution. A low dosage of radiation is being emanated at the body surface followed by a sharp burst once it hits the tumour.
Proton Beam Therapy has transformed the treatment process of cancers i.e. paediatric, skull base tumours, brain tumours, breast cancer, prostate cancer and lung cancer. It becomes a feasible option, especially in those cases where treatment options are limited and conventional radiotherapy projects a higher risk to patients. The therapy has traversed the boundary of conventional radiotherapy.
Q How does Apollo ensure healthcare services to the remote places?
We have a dedicated wing – Apollo Remote Healthcare that focuses on providing patient care to the remote areas. Apollo provides a range of services including teleconsulting for primary and tertiary consults through app and video calls. Through mHealth, a patient engagement platform; medical devices providing continuum of care through real-time monitoring and tracking; teleradiology services like MRI, CT, and X-ray, and telecardiology that helps to reduce massive cardiac events, we bolster healthcare delivery process.
Apollo is the largest telemedicine provider in India, enabling people to avail tele-emergency services in inaccessible regions. Leveraging Public Private Partnership (PPP) model, we make above mentioned services available in Himalaya region, even at a height of around 14,000 feet from sea-level.
Apollo is managing one of the largest PPP programmes on population health (eUPHC) in Andhra Pradesh. We have more than 60,000 Rural Teleclinics with Common Service Centres (Government of India). The figure will go up to 2.5 lakh by early 2019.
In addition, we provide e-ICU services with more than 100 clinical protocols inbuilt in the system to monitor patients across remote locations.
Q Would you share Apollo’s next five years’ expansion or collaboration plans especially in southern States?
There is a plan to start a hospital at Kochi. In coming years, we will be focusing more on consolidation of complete hospitals division. Our objectives are to continuously improve efficiencies, services and clinical outcomes.
Q Cities like Hyderabad and Bengaluru are emerging as medical tourism hub as large number of foreign patients swarms here every year. How do you perceive the statement?
As per one of the projections, India’s healthcare market may see three-fold jump in value term to $372 billion by 2022. India is making big strides to boost healthcare delivery system, enabling people of lastmile to avail finest healthcare in cost-efficient manner.
India used to be known as the “land of healing” and we are proud that once again we are moving towards reclaiming this privileged title.
Top Indian cities that are emerging as hub of medical tourism include Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Goa and Kolkata.
In terms of number of foreign patients India receives annually, Bengaluru and Hyderabad contribute to an average of 13 percent though Chennai and Delhi are being considered the biggest destinations for patients (this data is for Apollo).
Q Would you list out sub-domains in healthcare sector Apollo set its foot recently?
Apollo is working largely towards smaller formats like dialysis, sugar clinics, diagnostics and other technologically accessible formats to make healthcare accessible for all.
Q What would be your message to the readers of eHealth Magazine?
Healthcare sector is growing by leaps and bounds and India is already one of the most opted destinations. With good clinical outcomes, technology and service excellence, we are striving to deliver the best to our patients.
I would appeal to all the readers to take care of their health and get their health check up at least once a year. In the wake of unprecedented rise in non-communicable diseases due to range of factors including changing environments, our lifestyles, and food habits, it is imperative that we should consider our health as a priority.