Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (SGRH) in Delhi exemplifies the best in Indian healthcare when it comes to providing quality health services to all sections of the society with human touch. Prof (Dr) DS Rana (Padma Shri Awardee), Chairman, Board of Management, SGRH, who was recently selected for the prestigious Dr BC Roy Award for excellence in the field of medicine, in an exclusive interview with Elets News Network (ENN) speaks about where the Indian healthcare sector is headed.
“At Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, we have embraced technology with open arms. A few months back, we launched a smart health card to provide patients with easy access to medical care.” Prof (Dr) DS Rana, Chairman, Board of Directors, SGRH
How over a period of time SGRH build up its reputation all over the country?
Sir Ganga Ram, an eminent engineer and a great philanthropist, established the hospital in 1921 at Lahore, which still exists. Present hospital in New Delhi was established in 1954 by Sir Ganga Ram Trust Society. The hospital is managed by Board of Management consisting of eminent doctors appointed by Sir Ganga Ram Trust Society. With selfless devotion of Sir Ganga Ram Trust Society and dedicated services by consultants and employees, this hospital has emerged as one of the leading tertiary care hospitals in non-government sector. Not only for providing excellent healthcare but also well honored in the field of medical education and research. The hospital is thus involved in capacity building of human resources not only in India but also in the neighbouring countries.
In your perspective what are the key challenges in healthcare sector?
The biggest challenge is human resource of properly trained medical and paramedical manpower to address the needs of 1.2 billion population of country. We need to address this vital issue.
Second, challenge is affordability and accessibility of quality healthcare to nearly 70% of population residing in villages. At present, excellent tertiary healthcare is available only in metropolitan cities and is now extending to tier-II cities. I strongly feel that all tertiary care hospitals both in government and non-government sectors should adopt small hospitals in rural areas to provide quality healthcare at the door steps.
How modern technology, especially ICT, is aiding healthcare providers in India? Please elaborate on the current technology trends in the healthcare sector.
Robust data regarding demography, diseases and treatment outcomes is going to be immense help in planning healthcare. With the advancement in technology, telemedicine facility is going to be of immense help to rural population and also for routine follow-ups by patients from far distance with their doctors working from tertiary care hospitals in various locations.
Sir Ganga Ram Hospital is committed to be digital at the earliest. We are amongst the few hospitals to acquire world class Hospital Information System (HIS) since the beginning of the century and we are making steady progress in that. Of late, we are in the process of completely digitalizing our Out-Patient Services (OPD) services, starting from doctor appointment to prescription and follow-up. We are of course also promoting digital cash services.
Research is an important part of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital’s vision, what are the new initiatives being undertaken at the hospital?
Sir Ganga Ram Hospital has a sharp focus on Research and Development. India holds a huge potential in this area and we encourage doing and publishing original research. The reason why less number of Indian researches gets published in international journals as compared to other developing countries is because there is a lot of duplication happening in this field. In developed countries, doctors have the freedom to divide their time between research and clinical practice – 20 per cent time devoted to clinical practice and 80 per cent time to R&D or vice-versa. Indian doctors often do not have this liberty. However, the R&D landscape in India is transforming fast and we now have some of the best facilities in the world to carry out quality research.
Why do you think there is not much data sharing happening among healthcare providers in India?
I believe that practitioners and hospitals are willing to share clinical data for the benefit of the people, but they don’t know how to do it and a seamless integration is still missing. Healthcare providers do collect and maintain clinical data at their end and I think the government needs to step in to develop the required infrastructure to facilitate such data sharing.
We have been witnessing Green Corridors being set up to transport organs from one health facility to another? What kind of effort goes into such initiatives?
The Green Corridors are set up in the national capital with the help of Delhi Police to transport live organs from one hospital to another. There is a need to develop more awareness among people regarding the importance of organ donations. We need to cut the role of middle man in the process. Presently, such initiatives are happening at the local level, but in the long run we should implement systems such as in developed countries where it is possible to transfer organs using air transport, making the process swift and effective.
“Online platforms like mobile wallet services and Skype will soon change the way we access healthcare services.”
Medical tourism has immense potential in a country like India. How Sir Ganga Ram Hospital plans to tap the opportunities in this area?
I have a different take on medical tourism. We don’t see it as a business opportunity Healthcare should not have only profit making motive. In fact, there is a whole army of commission agents out there to exploit patients coming from foreign countries. Until the government has proper regulations to streamline it, we don’t see a point in promoting the so called medical tourism. We have taken a different route to provide care to our foreign patients. We are engaged in capacity building in our neighbouring countries by guiding their healthcare providers to develop quality hospitals.
Can you please share with us the hospital’s future expansion plans? Is Ganga Ram Hospital also looking to adopt the hospital chain model?
We are coming up with a new block to provide more space for out-patient departments, both private and general, better office spaces and more number of free beds. We are in process of establishing a state-of-the-art cancer centre with all modern equipment. But as far as adopting the chain model is concerned, it may be a viable option for us to expand in tier-II cities in future provided we get partners who can ensure the quality healthcare Sir Ganga Ram stands for. But as of now, we want to focus on improving infrastructure and patient facilities of our existing hospital in Delhi.