The first edition of The Economic Times Hospital Strategic Management Summit 2018, held recently at the Lalit, Mumbai, brought together government officials, healthcare industry leaders, analysts and service providers under one roof to focus on delivering innovative and world class hospital planning. While healthcare systems and hospitals are faced with increasing pressure to find operating efficiencies in a time where traditional cost-cutting methodologies are producing diminishing returns, it is imperative to create sustainable healthcare funding mechanism.
The event convened with a panel discussion on the procurement/supply chain heads of hospitals brainstorming on the latest challenges like GST, bottom-line revival, government policies, vendor management and trends that will shape hospital procurement. In the spotlight session, Varsha Kaushal, Deputy Director Materials, P.D. Hinduja Hospital & Medical Research Centre said, “There is a need to shift the focus from hardcore procurement to utilisation management.” Sharing his views on the same, Dr. (Col.) VMP Thomas, AVP – Operations & Projects, Dr. L.H. Hiranandani Hospital said, “We have to look at our vendors as partners that go beyond providing periodic feedback. We must include them as stakeholders in the provision of healthcare.”
Setting the tone for the day, Deepak Lamba, President, Times Strategic Solutions, said, “Despite its impressive growth, the Indian healthcare industry has been inconsistent. While we have world-class hospitals, state-of-the-art technologies, highly qualified doctors and health care professionals attracting patients from all over the world, the average Indian patient faces high prices, inadequate access, and inconsistent quality. We believe that this summit will help provide a strategic path ahead for the healthcare sector.”
In a session that laid emphasis on future trends in healthcare, speakers like K Ganesh, Chairman, Portea Medical; Dr. P M Bhujang, President, Association of Hospitals and Dr. Aniruddha Chimote, Director, HosConnn Consulting Service, discussed that consumers today are more demanding than ever. Not only do they want to be in control, they also want options tailored specifically to their needs and something that fits their budget. Hence for the betterment of the overall healthcare, it is important to focus on personalised data, real-time information and blockchain technology that is better for patient outcomes. It democratises health and creates greater efficiencies and scalability, thus influencing purchasing decisions in respect to healthcare. It is a catalyst for strategic planning, policy positioning and opportunity identification.
In a panel comprising of the head honchos of the hospital industry discussing and mapping immediate tools and strategies to improve excellence, quality healthcare, customer service and patient engagement in hospitals, Dr. Pallavi Jain Govil, Commissioner, Department of Health Services, Government of Madhya Pradesh, said, “In the public health sphere, we find that transparency has improved due to the robust technology. Technology helps but there is a careful need in choosing the correct technology.”
In the last panel discussion based on hospital trends, budget 2018 and beyond Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS said, “Medicine is a social sector rather than a cost-effective service sector. There is a need to provide proper care to the citizens of India no matter what the social status is. The solution to this is the merger of the public and the private sector making it cost effective for the payers and profitable for the stakeholders at the same time.”
Others who gave their valued inputs were Dr Jitendar Sharma, MD & CEO, Andhra Pradesh MedTech Zone, Government Of Andhra Pradesh, Dr B S Ajai Kumar, Chairman & CEO, Healthcare Global Enterprises and Dr Harish Pillai, CEO, Aster Medcity & Cluster head (Kerala & Hyderabad), Aster DM Healthcare, among others.
The day concluded with a felicitation ceremony and an enlightening address by the chief guest Dr. Deepak Sawant, Minister of Health, Govt. of Maharashtra, who said, “The concept of smart hospitals is essential for the current scenario.” Considering the role of technology in healthcare, he said, “IT & healthcare goes hand in hand hence we must go for telemedicine since we are short of doctors. Correct use of technology can improve patient-doctor relationships and can help reduce the gap that can create issues.”