With a team of experts and high-end technologies, Columbia Asia enables people to avail accessible and high-quality patient care. The hospital strives to excel in terms of various deliverables, catering people at large with empathy and care, says Dr Nandakumar Jairam, CEO, Chairman and Group Medical Director, Columbia Asia Hospitals, in conversation with Elets News Network (ENN).
Starting its journey in 1996, Columbia Asia has come a long way catering to people with finest healthcare practices, how has been the journey?
Columbia Asia started its Indian operations in 2005. I have been associated with the company from very initial year of inception. The Columbia Asia Group started first hospital in Hebbal (Bengaluru) and expanded its footprints thereafter across country. At present, we have 11 hospitals and are providing healthcare services in seven cities.
It has been a fantastic journey. I started as Group Medical Director and was privileged to be offered a position on the board. I continued on the board until 2017 when the board requested me to take additional responsibility of CEO, which I proudly accepted. My stint with the hospital is best part of my life.
Quality and affordability are two major issues, plaguing the Indian healthcare sector. How does the Columbia Asia manage a balance between the two?
We are a multi-speciality hospital group, which takes care of medical needs of middle-class India. We believe in providing value for money. With a team of experts and high-end technologies, the hospital enables people to avail accessible and high-quality patient care. We serve people with empathy and care.
We follow evidence-based care and stringent infection control at our hospitals which help us to maintain quality in deliverables. In addition, it plays a role in bringing down the average length of stay for in-patients and thus reduces costs.
You provide a wide array of medical services. Can you highlight significant aspects of services in areas of general surgery, paediatrics, and obstetrics?
We have a full gamut of services in general surgery, including minimally invasive surgery, bariatric surgery, and gastrointestinal surgery (GI). Our paediatric services include subspeciality work in specific hospitals and a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) which is well-equipped and staffed. We ensure high risk pregnancies to be handled with care. Our obstetrics and gynaecology (OB/GYN) services include a wellstructured obstetric service, minimally invasive gynaecology and in specific locations infertility services.
Technology and innovations are playing a key role in driving healthcare delivery to extra mile. What kind of initiatives have been undertaken by the hospital?
Healthcare delivery system has witnessed complete transformation in last decade. This is due to innovations in the digital world. We were the first to use electronic medical records in all our hospitals. In an endeavour to make all processes flawless and paperless, we invested more in technology than any other players across country.
Today, we have sufficient data that can be used effectively for the welfare and wellness of patients.
Data / Technology / AI: Data cannot only help us to treat diseases but identify those that require preventive interventions. In other words, data enables us to promote good health.
Big Data Analytics, Artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of things (IoT) are being seen as the boon for the industry and help in early detection of diseases. We have conducted a few pilot studies with these technologies and will be putting these technologies to use in the coming years.
Early detection and de-cluttering the useless data through IoT and AI, significantly improves productivity in hospital operations. These also significantly reduce the time taken by a doctor to arrive at a diagnosis. This is the real future of medicine and we are quickly adapting to it. Investing in this space is vital for survival of any healthcare provider.
New equipment: We are also investing in Robotics in one of our existing hospitals and the new hospital at Pune would also have high-end oncology with Radiation Therapy.
Currently, Columbia Asia Hospitals Private Ltd offers 29 medical facilities across Asia, 12 in Malaysia, 11 in India, and 3 each in Vietnam and Indonesia. Would you shed light on expansion and collaboration plan?
In India, we have an under-construction hospital in Pune, which will start operation in 2020. We have completed first phase of growth and would consolidate our position in next few years before we aim for expansions. We are also looking at new investors to help us innovate, achieve and attain the best standards in healthcare.