Healthcare Industry is changing, and so is the face of Indian Hospitals. Mr. Bhavdeep Singh, CEO Fortis Healthcare dissects the Indian Healthcare scenario and its future prospects compared to the West.
It has been almost a year since the transition took place. How has been your journey at Fortis?
Twelve months have gone by very quickly but I had been associated with Fortis during 2009 and 2010, so this feels like round two. When I first got here, we had talked about the transition between Shivinder Singh and myself, to no one’s surprise it lasted just 5 minutes. Just because it was a familiar ground, a bit like riding a bicycle and it was automatic. While obviously, I didn’t know every turn, curve or a bump on the road. I would say the transition went well. The organisation and the industry as a whole is undergoing a lot of changes, by virtue of this, it makes you think twice for everything. Twelve months and I feel very optimistic. With continuous challenges, I think we have a great future ahead in terms of patient care, clinical outcomes and a great opportunity in terms of contributing to a healthy India; which is our primary responsibility.
You mentioned the market has evolved since 5 years (Healthcare Sector) and you have been watching it from a distance. What according to you are the reasons for this evolution?
It’s really interesting: It feels as if you are watching a Hindi movie … you get a phone call and you have to step out for 40 minutes and when you come back and you realise that you didn’t really miss much and sometimes it feels you walked out at the most important time of the movie… So, it’s a combination of both. What’s happening in the industry globally is that healthcare has evolved. We are seeing a lot more transparency in the system by virtue of technology and information. An example of this transparency is what we have been doing since last year when we became the first organization in India to publish clinical outcomes.
6-7 years ago, when you thought about hospitals, healthcare and doctors, statistics show that if a patient had to select a hospital, he had to look predominantly for one, which had a particular doctor! It wasn’t like I am going to Fortis. Today, data tells us that there is a shift in that. Half of our patients come to Fortis because of the credibility Fortis as a brand enjoys. They have an expectation that here is a brand which will take good care of the patient, the nurses will be good and I will be in safe hands; so, it is a huge shift. We are also fortunate that we have some of the best doctors in the world working at Fortis.
Is oncology a focus area for Fortis today?
We opened our first oncology block in 2010 in Noida. Today, we have 4 -5 oncology blocks and even more coming up. The focus of Oncology treatment is on education, early detection and a treatment plan which is as good as anywhere in the world.
What about La Femme which is an integral part of Fortis Healthcare?
While La Femme has been the pioneer in the Mother and Child health space for the decade with our well established hospital in New Delhi, our focus is now to move beyond just birthing and provide comprehensive health solutions to women of all ages. We have taken this Fortis Vision forward with a plan of multiple new hospitals both across India. With the strong legacy of Fortis behind it, La Femme aims to provide women with a unique, personal, healthcare experience tailor made for their specific needs. Fortis versus other hospitals; how do you differentiate yourself from other hospitals in terms of imagery?
Significant factors that differentiate us are: The Process Platform: It is also worth mentioning that we have a framework and methodology for all the processes deployed in our hospital. In 2008, with McKinsey as our consultants, we came up with FOS (Fortis Operating System), a system to monitor a series of activities inside the hospital; all those that are patient facing. Starting from admission, treatment, discharge details, billing and also, if any infection was caused while the patient was at the hospital (clinical / non clinical), etc. We have almost 7000 nurses and 4000 doctors, and we can tell you about the credentials and status of each one of them. Similarly, for everything that we do inside our organisation, we have a head of SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) for each region.
We are very excited to be the first Indian healthcare organization to publish the clinical outcomes. Early results indicate that we are as good as one of the best healthcare systems in the world. Incidentally, this should not be a surprise because everybody in the world knows that the best doctors are in India. Another significant differentiation is that our approach is patient-focused, clinician-led.
How will the demerger with SRL happen?
The Board of Directors at its recently held meeting provided an in-principle approval to demerge the company’s diagnostic business which includes operations of SRL Limited. The Board has formed a Restructuring Committee to detail the nuances of the demerger structure, including valuation, share entitlement ratio and other incidental matters and to present the same before the Board on August 19, 2016 for final approval.
What is your vision for Fortis and where do you see it after 3 years?
Our vision is to become the best healthcare provider, in India & Asia as well. The entire healthcare infrastructure globally, as we know today, is coming apart and US is the perfect example. The Fortis hospital in Gurgaon has been voted by multiple publications as one of the top 3 best hospitals in the world. We have the best doctors. We had the growth bug initially and we have got it out of our system. In 3 years from now, people should be talking about Fortis as being a really good healthcare provider and after 5 years: if you want to get treated, then go to Fortis! It’s not simple not even quick and easy. It is hard work, challenging, painful, requires huge investment (emotional, intellectual and all other sorts of investments) but, yes it is possible and I am confident we will do it.