THE DOCTOR-PATIENT RELATIONSHIP IS NOT THE SAME AS CUSTOMER-SALESMAN RELATIONSHIP
SUNIL THOMAS CHANDY
“The cost of care is escalating beyond the affordability of the average Indian”
Like education and priesthood, health is a social service entity. CMC Vellore explains to WCRCLEADERS how strongly they feel it and how do they follow it.
How does CMC consistently generate trust with the consumer according to the mission and values of the brand?
CMC Vellore believes that the doctor patient relationship is not the same as salesman-customer (consumer) relationship. The former is a relationship of trust, while the latter is a service for fee arrangement.Trust is generated not by facilities, equipment or façade of a hospital but by the confidence created in the patient through honesty and consistency of the care giver. CMC Vellore’s approach is based on cost effectiveness, appropriate care driven by patients needs, and not on profits.
Availability, accessibility and affordability define our patient services. The belief that health is delivered on a service motive and not as a business instills a great level of trust in our patients.
What are the challenges in the Indian market?
Paradoxically, the biggest challenge to Indian healthcare is the new packaging of healthcare itself. Clearly, moving away from poor-friendly interventions to insurance driven packages is only setting the stage for a national public health calamity.Driven by venture capitalists with no medical mission, the construction industry, device and pharma magnates and business houses, the cost of care is escalating beyond the affordability of the average Indian. Hospitals are five-star facilities with over-emphasis of show and opulence. On the other hand, the falling standards and poor funding allocation for public health does not auger well for the burgeoning Indian population. The dual disease burden induced by the persistence of communicable disease and the emergence of new lifestyle diseases pose a huge challenge to the fragile health ecosystem in India. There is no collective strategy by the stakeholders of health. To add to this, the current unresolved controversies in medicaleducation will likely precipitate an exodus of young doctors to overseas destinations leaving India with a human resource crunch.
How does the brand CMC hold its legacy and maintain its market position vis-à-vis competition?
First of all, CMC Vellore is never in competition with anyone nor concerned about maintaining its market position. Market position is a business parameter and is determined by profit statements and media ratings. Both are not primary for CMC.We are a missionary organisation with a mandate for service to the needy, disadvantaged and downtrodden in India. Our legacy is one of reliability, honesty and trust which we transfer to our students during their studentship. Our values are practiced through care given to our patients. They remain our champions and greatest advocates of our legacy.
What are the industry redefining new innovations that CMC is doing for the Indian market?
I believe the terms ‘industry’ and ‘customer’ are completely inappropriate in the domain of health.Like education and priesthood, health is a social service entity.If ‘industry’ is the word in question, the answer is ‘none’. If the question is about healthcare as a service, we have several innovations. The GIS system for tracking epidemics and sentinel health events in villages has proved to be a useful public health tool. The low cost mechanical hand being developed by CMC Bio engineering is likely to benefit poor victims of industrial accidents.The Alpha Outpatients Clinic is a model of a single day, walk in clinicwhere patients are seen, evaluated and diagnosed within a twelve hour day.The CHRIS CARD is CMC’s own debit system which allows the patient to transact cashless across outpatient services, saving time and ensuring safety.The Jawadhi Hills Tribal Care is a comprehensive social upliftment model that has attracted global interest. There are several others. Innovations that transform an outcome, yet are cost effective,are the true medical innovations. I would not consider the high cost equipment from big business houses that only escalate the cost of care for a minor benefit as true innovations.
With the exponential growth of the healthcare industry in India, what are the key strategies that the Brand CMC is adopting to stay ahead as the market leader?
I would like to differentiate. The healthcare ‘industry’ may be booming, but healthcare ‘service’in India faces serious challenges like never before (vide National Healthcare Policy Draft). Refer to the plethora of negative public opinion on the falling ethics, profiteering and commercialisation of health.CMC is not in the market rat race as that is not our mission. Our strategy is to be need based and respond to the emerging needs of society. The current needs from a public health perspective is road-trauma management, metabolic emergencies, geriatric and pediatric emergencies. The epidemics of dengue, and the escalating numbers of pollution related respiratory diseases in children, cancer in the young, adolescent behavioral disorders calls for a nationwide health strategy. We have taken stock of the emergent problems in our state, and are responding by building a new facility to cater to the changing epidemiological challenges.
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