Q: What led the Kauvery Group into acquiring 100 per cent stake in Ramakrishna Smart Hospital? What is your next expansion plan?
Dr Chandrakumar: We have been planning to enter Bangalore for the last three years and that is why we have started the hospital in Hosur followed by Salem. Bengaluru is a fast-growing metropolitan city in India and we felt it is appropriate to have our presence in the region covering Salem which will make us a large healthcare provider in the region.
The location of Ramakrishna Smart Hospital suited our Bengaluru entry strategy and we will be expanding this facility to 300 beds in the next 18-24 months. Our plan is to have 1000 beds in the Bengaluru region and another 1000 beds in Chennai region in the next three to four years.
Q: How has been the impact of Covid-19 on Kauvery Group of Hospitals? What are the challenges you see in running a hospital chain in India?
Dr Chandrakumar: We are facing one of the worst healthcare crisis in the last 100 years. Like all other industries, healthcare also was very severely impacted during this COVID pandemic.
Though the healthcare system is getting organised over the past decade, a lot has to be done in standardising the practices, both in the clinical and administrative sector. Healthcare is a service-intensive segment and getting quality skilled manpower across departments continues to be a big challenge.
The lack of adoption of electronic medical records with data portability between hospitals, adds to the pain of accessibility and the cost to the patient. The Prime Minister’s initiative on the National Digital Health Mission acts as a catalyst for addressing this challenge.
Health insurance companies are currently focusing more on policy collection and claim settlement. They can become more proactive with the policyholders and the providers by focusing more on wellness management. The health insurance companies can also bring policy guidelines on integrating hospital electronic medical records into the insurance company portal which will bring more focus on wellness management and better insights for designing insurance products.
Patient expectations are becoming more towards quality care, ambience, service, better equipment and advanced technology. The health care institutions need to be better prepared to address these expectations. At the same time, maintaining the quality and service standards within the acceptable price band for the consumers will continue to be a challenge.
Q: How are AI and ML technologies being leveraged at Kauvery Hospitals?
Dr Chandrakumar: We have started using data analytics in Kauvery in recent years. Currently, we are using it for the clinical decision support systems, prevention of human errors, reducing costs by predictive analysis of resources.
We have also started working on wellness management space. Further, we need to invest more resources to get much better insights and a lot more can be done by us and all the health care providers in this area.