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Palava Takes A Big Step Towards Providing High-Quality Healthcare To Citizens

October 14, 2016
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Palava partners with Healthspring, India’s leading experts in primary healthcare, to open its first clinic in the city.

‘Healthy citizens are the greatest assets any country can have’, said Winston Churchill. Palava concurs with this and hence strives to provide a healthy lifestyle to its citizens through its infrastructure developments and facility alliances. In addition to having plenty of open spaces and landscaped green surroundings and providing immediate aid with 911 emergency services.

Palava has now launched its first Primary Healthcare Clinic by partnering with Healthspring, India’s leading experts in family healthcare.

Inaugurated in June this year, the Healthspring clinic at Palava presently houses a physician and nurse and an on-call physiotherapist; it also provides pathology services and X-ray facilities. It will shortly have an ENT specialist, gynecologist, orthopedic, dentist and pediatrician, and provide sonography, MRI and other medical services. The clinic will host regular health camps to measure body mass index, daily calorie intake and other parameters, and advise adequate measures to maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

Healthspring was founded in 2010 by Professor Gautam Sen, a revered general surgeon and specialist in oncology and his son, co-founder, Kaushik Sen.  It presently has over 31 clinics across Mumbai, Delhi and Pune and over 100 doctors and 500 health experts, including nutritionists, nurses and pharmacists.

Harvard alumnus and management consultant with Bain for over a decade, co-founder Kaushik Sen is passionate about reforming the healthcare system in India, and shares insights about the vision and mission of Healthspring in India.

Q: What motivated you to delve into healthcare?

A: Our key drivers to delve into healthcare were to improve the broken healthcare delivery system at the entry level through family medicine, and reduce healthcare cost burden for the customers while providing better health outcomes. My biggest source of inspiration was my father and the Chairman of Healthspring, Dr. Gautam Sen, who is one of the most respected surgeons and leading medical thinkers and visionaries in India. Dr. Sen has been instrumental in a number of pioneering efforts to bring change to healthcare delivery in the country. He has over three decades of experience as one of Mumbai’s finest surgeons and has been on the Board of Governors – one of the six-members – for the Medical Council of India.

Q: What led your family to launch Healthspring?

A: Healthspring was founded with a vision of transforming India’s health delivery system where it matters the most- the entry level of personal care. Healthspring comprises of family health experts and focuses on family medicine, a specialty devoted to providing comprehensive health care for people of all age groups. We provide pre-hospital care, be it at home or responding to day-to-day health care needs, ranging from acute and chronic illnesses to more urgent and emergency medical situations. I believe that if done correctly, family medicine has the potential to keep people healthier and reduce unnecessary testing and hospitalizations. It also helps detect issues at an early stage, increasing the chances of response to treatments. Early healthcare can help in drastically reducing the medical costs by lowering the need for expensive and unnecessary hospitalization and procedures.

Q: What are the fundamentals that lay the foundation for Healthspring?

A: We are a one-stop for all health care services for everyone.  Be it an individual, family, community, corporate house or industrial complex, we cater to all. At Healthspring we are committed to a culture of good health and our vision is to be the most trusted healthcare organization in the country. We strive to provide excellence in healthcare by hiring diligent doctors, training them in medical protocols and supporting them with the right infrastructure. We aim to deliver great customer experiences, focused on convenience, patient friendliness and a team-based approach. We are transparent and ethical, and always look for the best interest of our patients when they need us the most, especially during emergencies.

Q: How are medical experts and team members recruited by Healthspring?

A: All our doctors are MBBS with a minimum of 5 years of work experience. We also have doctors who have professional experience of over 20 years either as standalone practice or working with hospitals or corporates. Irrespective of their experience, once recruited by Healthspring, they undergo a one month training program to learn the best practices of the healthcare industry. This induction ensures standardization of diagnosis, treatment, maintenance of medical records and delivery of customer service.  While attracting great people is one of the challenges for a start-up in India, particularly when one is not an e-commerce platform, our senior team comes from diverse industries, such as education, media, FMCG, telecom, investment banking and also includes entrepreneurs, and in most cases, they have sought us out. Healthspring has an ambitious team that believes in its mission and is passionate about reforming healthcare.

Q: What are the unique characteristics that distinguish Healthspring in the field of healthcare?

A: Healthspring has its own in-house team of general physicians, pediatricians, gynecologists, physiotherapists and dietitians, supported by in-house diagnostics (pathology and radiology), as well as pharmacy. Unlike hospitals or polyclinics, the entire medical team comprises of employees of Healthspring and their sole objective is to keep one as healthy as possible and avoid hospitalization, unless absolutely necessary.

Condition management at Healthspring is not limited to interaction between the patient and doctor; it involves comprehensive care given by a team of doctors, dieticians, physiotherapists, nurses and others. Take diabetes for instance; 97% of our members who have enrolled for our diabetes management program have witnessed improved sugar levels with an average of 40% decline in sugar counts while under our care.

Q:  Did you encounter any challenges while setting up operations in India?

A: The top 3 challenges that come to mind while building this healthcare service network are getting capital, convincing the medical fraternity or internal stakeholders, and changing the mindset of the society towards primary preventive healthcare.

Firstly, establishing a robust world-class primary healthcare delivery network is capital intensive. Attracting investments is a challenge unless you demonstrate quality, which we have successfully managed to do over the last 5 years.  Secondly, it is a challenge to find the right talent who is motivated to serve customers in the best manner possible. We took a while to change the mind-set of the medical fraternity and have it see itself as service providers and strive for complete customer satisfaction. In India, doctors hardly treat patients as their customer, which is why there is lack of professional attitude towards managing the health of patients. At Healthspring, be it any team, customer first approach is ingrained in all our employees from day one, as it is crucial to achieve the desired service levels. Thirdly, there is a lack of awareness and people are reluctant to move away from reactive healthcare and adopt proactive and preventive healthcare. We continue to educate people on the multifold advantages of opting for preventive healthcare services as such as preventive health check or membership. These investments don’t just ensure good health but also save lacs of rupees spent on hospitalization or health recovery.

Q: What would be your most memorable success stories through the journey so far?

A: Healthspring has catered to the needs of over 3 lac customers in a span of 5 years and grown to 32 clinics across Mumbai, Pune and Delhi, which are owned and operated entirely by us. We have witnessed robust growth because we’ve been able to build credibility amongst customers. We have brought health improvement to corporate health programs and systematically managed to reduce the high-risk percentage in our corporate members. As a result, in 5+ years of doing corporate programs, we have a 100% renewal rate, which is very rare in the healthcare industry.

Another service that we have received accolades for is our unique 24×7 doctor led medical emergency response system. We have doctors on-call to cover emergencies at any odd hour of the night. We have till date attended to over 2000 emergencies in which over 80% of the time the patient has been stabilized on the spot without needing hospitalization. A tremendous amount of testing, drills and processes are required to run this seamlessly, and we have been able to pull off each one with 100% uptime.

Q: Do you believe the urban audience values customized healthcare services?

A: The fact that we have been able to serve more than 3,50,000 customers stands testimony to the fact that people do appreciate the value of personalized healthcare services that we offer. We have over 50,000 people who have enrolled for an annual membership, which means that there is adequate traction for annual health management programs.

Q: What would the demographics of your audience be?

A: While most of our customers are above the age of 40 years, we see the customer base between 40-50 years growing rapidly. We receive a lot of queries from youngsters as well, enquiring about the packages that we could offer their parents. In terms of the socio-economic profile, we primarily see prime interest from Sec A and above, however there’s a growing degree of awareness and interest from others strata as well.

Q: How did you decide to collaborate with Palava?

A: When Healthspring learnt about Palava’s desire to provide high-quality, dependable and easily accessible healthcare to its citizens, we quickly realized that it was very much in sync with our ethos and hence decided to explore a partnership.  Healthspring endeavours to work closely with the team at Palava to craft an integrated health solution for the city, and is happy to see our efforts come to fruition.

Q: What is the plan of Healthspring to better the health quotient of citizens in Palava?

A: Healthspring’s array of services at Palava include a group of highly-trained doctors, nurses and associated medical professionals who together form a “care team”; a pharmacy, diagnostic capabilities as well as dental services.  Citizens can simply walk into our clinic to avail of this care, or explore some of our unique membership models. 

Healthspring firmly believe that the road to good health should start with a simple health check, and we have some great health check packages to offer to all citizens.  Following the health check, our doctors devise a customized health plan for each patient, and follow up regularly to ensure that the patient is on track with the agreed regimen.  We back up our clinic-level care with home doctor and nurse visits (whenever required), as well as 24×7 emergency medical response.  Essentially, we want to create an ongoing relationship with Palava citizens as that is the fundamental premise of our healthcare model.

Q: What is the vision of Healthspring for the near future?

A: We plan to open at least 200 clinics in major cities in the next 4-5 years. This requires great amount of know-how and expertise, and above all a set of motivated individuals, which we are fortunate to have. Response from the customers towards our service has been overwhelming and we are truly grateful for their appreciation and support. Our goal is to also take the elements of our model and scale it to rural populations through a public-private partnership with the government. We are currently in discussion with a few state and local governments, as well as some of the best international aid agencies to scale our model further. On the corporate front, we are relatively fledglings though we have already achieved remarkable success with some of the best companies in India. We expect this area to grow significantly as we see more and more companies invest in their employee base.

(The Healthspring Clinic is open from 8 a.m until 4 p.m. at the PCMA building in Casa Rio, Palava and accessible to all. Please contact +91 94339 39684 for appointments and further details.)