Bhavdeep Singh, CEO, Fortis Healthcare Limited

The healthcare sector in India has undergone a paradigm shift in the last few years. Earlier, the focus was more on infectious and communicable diseases. Healthcare was primarily citizen-funded, with health centers and government facilities providing most services. But today, with changing diets, longer work-shifts, and lifestyles, we are faced with a double burden of diseases with increasing numbers of patients with noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, and hypertension, all of which need longer, sustained care, and treatment.

However, access to medical care remains a challenge with the availability of only one hospital bed per 1050 patients and shortage of qualified staff. These gaps must be bridged with the addition of at least a 100,000 hospital beds over the next decade. In addition, advanced medical technology, modern diagnostic, therapeutic equipment, and growing clinical skills of doctors can revolutionize the way healthcare is being delivered today.

The demand for personalized patient attention has encouraged second opinions, customized care-plans, and doctor–patient interaction, and connectivity. Patients today want to know their options, receive excellent service – both medical and non-medical, stay updated, and understand how they are improving. To realize these objectives, it is important for us as an industry to focus on patient-centric services and also work with the government to foster greater public–private partnerships on healthcare.

We have some decisive goals for our hospitals in the next couple of years and the key is patient-centric care. Our internal positioning is patient-focused above everything and fostering clinical excellence to enable patient centricity. Our teams are making every effort to provide the best possible care to each and every patient. At the same time, we are faced with challenges as well as opportunities in the business, deeply linked to being a patient- driven service provider and integrating new technology into healthcare.

The maternal and child care business can move us ahead by leaps and bounds. To boost business, we are looking at the use of technology initiatives such as robotics surgery as well as venturing into e-healthcare. Bringing technology into healthcare has brought health information at one's fingertips through smartphones. At the hospital, we are using technology to support complex surgeries to support specialties such as oncology, gynecology, and in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. While the industry has already welcomed the use of advanced technology, going forward, we are looking at its influence on business models, operational mechanism, staff needs, and even cyber-security issues.

For Fortis Healthcare, the touchstones remain patient-centricity and an integrated, quality healthcare service delivery. Our mission is to be a globally respected healthcare organization known for clinical excellence, and distinctive patient care. In this endeavor, we certainly look forward to supporting the government's initiative to make quality healthcare services accessible to as many people in India as possible. We are already operating three PPP models – one in Raipur since the last 14 years, one in Vashi, Mumbai for the last 10 years, and one in Dehradun, which has been operational for the last five years. Collaborative PPP initiatives, therefore, have the potential for setting higher benchmarks for quality health services and improved health outcomes for the populations served.

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