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Post Covid, decentralised healthcare is new normal: KIMSHEALTH

Vinson Kurian Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on October 30, 2020 Published on October 30, 2020

MI Sahadulla, Group Chairman and MD, KIMSHEALTH   -  rawpixel.com

Hospitals must open satellite centres to reach more people, says Chairman Sahadulla

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a ‘back-breaking’ experience for thousands of hospitals in the private sector in Kerala, serving as a wake-up call to shape up to the new normal of ‘decentralised care' or ship out, says MI Sahadulla, Group Chairman and MD, KIMSHEALTH, a Thiruvananthapuram-based multi-specialty tertiary care hospital.

KIMSHEALTH has its flagship hospital located here, and in a span of 18 years has set up hospitals and medical centres in India and West Asia. Other than centres in Kollam, Kottayam and Perinthalmanna, it has a presence in Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

‘30 pc may not return at all’

“Assuming that we’ve recovered to doing 70 per cent of pre-Covid business, we’re resigned to the prospects that the rest 30 per cent would come back ever so slowly. Or, they may not return at all,” Sahadulla told BusinessLine. “Like other sectors, we are also heading into a new normal.”

Decentralised care is the new normal. All must learn to survive in the new set-up. “When I say decentralised care, what I mean is that people will be happy to have a KIMSHEALTH centre in the neighbourhood, rather than the flagship situated elsewhere. So essentially we must go to the patient.”

Hub-and-spoke model

And only in case there’s a real need would he or she need to go to the main hospital. “We’re basically speaking about a hub and spoke model where a main hub will serve the needs of the serious cases referred to it by the satellite centres set up elsewhere,” Sahadulla explained.

It is with this in mind that KIMSHEALTH has set up a satellite centre in Kowdiar in Thiruvananthapuram; the second is being set up in Manacaud. “We’re looking at a third in Attingal on the outskirts. We’re looking at opportunities to start three-four more,” he said.

Discretionary visits may go

The time has come for doctors and hospital administrations to wake up. Discretionary patient visits would no more be the case. “The earlier they appreciate it, the better. Doctors are used to the aristocratic, or should I say, orthodox or laidback type of approach.”

“But I tell them, not any longer! Patients would prefer the neighbourhood physician. So, I tell my doctors it’s up to you to mend your ways; better go to the satellite centres and bring whichever cases they deem fit to the central hospital for special procedures, special attention and care.”

Only a few may survive

In general, one has to look at the future of healthcare medicine in a different way. It is definitely not for very big hospitals. “Only very few hospitals of our size can survive. That too only if they constantly innovate to build, should one say, the Mayo Clinic-types,” Sahadulla reasoned.

Referring to advanced stages of expansion of his flagship facility, he said if the Covid situation had come three years ago, probably he would not have opted for an expansion of that scale. But having gone the distance, he would have to think and innovate to make the space viable and user-friendly.

"After all, people come here for experience, not just treatment. Doctors have to reassure the patient with good result and earn their trust. The other felt need of the hour is to digitise; even medium-size hospitals should go for it. KIMSHEALTH will soon a launch a full-fledged portal for delivering services online," Sahadulla said.

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Published on October 30, 2020
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