Interview

Consultations for a Healthy Future : Dr. Vivek Desai, Managing Director-HOSMAC India Pvt. Ltd.

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Hosmac India Private Limited is a pioneering name in the field of Hospital Planning and Management consultancy in India. Since its inception in 1996, Hosmac has grown rapidly to become a unique hub of skill sets which cuts across various facets of a healthcare facility be it architecture, engineering, management, or information technology.

It’s Managing Director, Dr. Vivek Desai shares with eHEALTH the vision and strategy of Hosmac.

Q. Hosmac has carved a niche for itself by becoming a one-stop consultancy for the healthcare sector in India. Please tell us in detail about the services that you provide, your primary areas of expertise and projects that have been successfully completed so far.

A. Our services are broken down into two major areas. One is management consulting, wherein, we conduct market research; create detailed project reports, do management audits, public health consulting, fund syndication, recruitment and such activities.

The other is project consulting, wherein we undertake architectural and engineering design of a hospital on a turnkey basis and also provide project management services for construction of hospital buildings. Equipment planning and procurement services are also provided within this vertical. We are in process of taking this further into an EPC format where we would also build hospitals.

Q. Hosmac has been receiving a number of assignments from abroad. In this context, you have in the past suggested going the BPO way to meet the demands. How far has this idea materialised? What kind of services do you plan to offer to overseas markets?

A. No, we are currently not providing any consultation through BPOs and most of our work is first hand designing of buildings, else management consulting assignments. Like we have undertaken a business process re-engineering study for Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya or are  assisting KPMG for setting standards for healthcare facilities for Ministry of Health in Abu Dhabi.

To further our business in that region, we have also opened a 100% fully owned subsidiary by the name of Hosmac Middle East FZ LLC in the Dubai Healthcare City and intend to use that for furthering our overseas business. We are currently designing hospitals in Dubai, Sharjah, and Saudi Arabia. We have been operating in the region since last 4 years and have good grasp of the healthcare industry there as well as building design norms. 

Q. How different have your experiences been with the public and private sector in terms of having a holistic view of both technical and non-technical aspects of managing healthcare facilities and service delivery?

A. In the Indian context, there is a huge disparity in the way the two sectors are positioned. Whilst one is almost a free model, it is the old, over-worked and poorly maintained infrastructure serving the low socio-economic strata; while the other is more urbane and attractive healthcare infrastructure with state-of-the-art technology serving the upper class and patronised by insurance companies as well. Both are worlds apart and hence no comparison is really possible. It is in fact, difficult to fathom how we may be able to bridge the gap.

Having said that, the public sector is perhaps the only healthcare available in the remote regions of the country and hence, something needs to be done about it and public-private partnerships (PPP) maybe a right step in that direction.

Q. Does your work with the development sector partners have any significant bearing on the government enterprises? Is there a noticeable ripple effect that one project has on the other?

A. Yes, I think there is movement in the right direction with the government looking keen on bringing in the private sector in some way or the other; be it in setting up of facilities, undertaking mid-term evaluation of programs to take corrective actions, or seeking investment to set up or upgrade public facilities. EMRI in Andhra Pradesh and Chiranjeevi Scheme in Gujarat are some classic examples of success, which can be replicated.

Q. What is your take on Public Private Partnerships in the field of healthcare? According to you, what are the key policy changes that need to be effected for the successful implementation of these initiatives?

A. I think we need to understand clearly that private sector’s motive is profit, and that should not be compromised while setting up the terms of reference for any PPP model. Some key criteria for a successful partnership between the government and private companies could be:

  • Limiting the role of the government to only formulating policies and providing a suitable environment.
  • Self-regulatory mechanism of accreditation to be pushed in more aggressively.
  • Practical schemes, which allow the private player to earn and retain fair profit.
  • Mechanism to insulate such contracts from political uncertainty.

Q. Please share with us your observations on the changing scenario in Indian healthcare sector. How do you foresee the maturity and value improvements of healthcare providers in the next few years?

A. The future of healthcare in India looks extremely positive due to the gross imbalance between the demand and supply. The driver for this growth in my view would be Health Insurance, as more and more people will try to insulate themselves from the high cost of healthcare by subscribing to Insurance schemes. Healthcare providers would in this case be forced to take issues such as accreditation seriously, so as to ensure their enlistment with insurance companies. This will surely improve the quality of infrastructure as well as that of service to the patients.

Q. What is your current annual turnover and what share of healthcare consultancy market do you control? Keeping in consideration the present market momentum, what is your target in terms of revenue in the next 3-5 years?

A. Our current consulting turnover is around INR 80 million and we expect to more than double it in the next two years. Our focus on EPC projects will help us grow exponentially after an initial phase of consolidation.

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