Mindray 10 Jan 2020
Being recipient of ‘Padma Shri’ and ‘Padma Bhushan’ Award in 2003 and 2012 respectively, he was also involved in coining the term “Micro Health Insurance” and spearheaded the launch of Yeshaswini, a health insurance for the farmers of Karnataka in association with the State Government which has revolutionized health insurance in the state. In this interview, he discusses digitization, cardiac care landscape in India, latest advancements and infrastructural challenges related to cardiac care in the country.
How is Narayana Hrudayalaya looking at changing the cardiac care landscape in India?
We believe health care will be transformed by digitization. Technology will disrupt everything what we do in healthcare. Hence, we have made huge investments in developing tools like electronic medical records, hospital management system and predictability in terms of re scoring all these technologies. We are building these technologies in-house because we believe all these tools are going to transform the way patient is taken care off. Healthcare will become safer with all these technologies.
We started this journey around 17 years ago. We launched a micro health insurance in state of Karnataka with the premium of 11 cents per month per patient. Initially we had 1.7 million farmers, subsequently we had 4 million farmers now paying just 11 cents and they are covered for all types of operations. Under the scheme about 1.4 or 1.5 million people had surgeries and 150,000 farmers had a heart operation. Recently our Government launched a health insurance across the country called Ayushman Bharat with the idea of covering nearly half the country's population for major operations. We are excited and we believe it will be a game changer.
What are the infrastructural challenges that need to be addressed in cardiac care in the country?We need lot more doctors, lot more specialists, lot more nurses & lot more technicians. This is the biggest handicap our government is in the process of reforming medical education. They have replaced the older Medical Council with the National Medical Commission with the idea of increasing the number of medical Specialists. When that happens, we believe we will have adequate number of skilled workforce and once you have adequate number of doctors working in tier 2 tier 3 cities the quality of cardiac care they receive will be much better
What limitations is hospital setup like yours facing to provide quality healthcare to such a large population demand of medical requirements and also to patients who need financial assistance?
There are only two limitations that we have - one is the skilled manpower and the other is the capital required to offer the healthcare. Today healthcare is expensive. For the desperately poor people Government has launched the Ayushman Bharat. For the rich people there are regular health insurance programs. We believe there is a need for someone to come up with the financial intermediary for middle-class and upper middle-class people. Today they are paying money from the pocket which is unsustainable. When that happens we believe that India will become the first country in the world to dissociate health care from affluence.
In 10 years down the line, what percentage of beds according to you will be in ICU considering a general hospital setup.
Today in a general hospital setup 10 to 12% beds are ICU beds. 10 years from now 90% of the hospital beds, doesn't matter what specialty, 90 percent of the beds will be critical care beds. Ward and room are going to disappear. Whatever you are doing in the ward you will do it at home... online. So, the way nurses are trained has to be changed. When we train our nursing students, we don't train them in the ward we train them in the ICU from second year. When you have that many ICU beds intensivists cannot do the night duty they will be at home managing the ICU from home. There will only be say 200 bed ICU. There may be around 10 or 20 doctors in the hospital at night. Within five years smart software will make smarter diagnosis than doctors.
What is your opinion about Mindray?
Both the countries have lot of strengths and lot of weaknesses as well. So, for example we have been using some of the devices made in your country for many years and they're of good quality. Unfortunately, we couldn't produce those products in India. Our industry is waking up now and we are getting lot of these products manufactured in India. Similarly, in software this country has tremendous strengths. I am sure with this cooperation we will be able to help each other. We believe that some of your products what we are using they are excellent and they're very flexible and the service is very good so we buy them. We don't differentiate whether the product is made in China or US or India. If it is good... if we can afford it… we will buy it. Your product is here only because of the merit.