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‘People Health’ strives to make surgery pricing more transparent

L N Revathy Coimbatore | Updated on May 29, 2014

Krish Ganesan, CEO, People Health.   -  Special Arrangement

Have you ever paused to think why there is no standard information and pricing for a procedure/surgery in the health care industry?

"Lack of transparency and no science behind pricing a surgery at, say, Rs “x” in one hospital and “x-plus” in another. The current health care system fails to explain the price range and variation for the same procedure/operation," says Krish Ganesan, Chief Executive, People Health.

The company was started in 2004 with the prime intention of ensuring some transparency in the system and helping individuals compare the cost for the same procedure at different hospitals. "Almost 80 per cent of ailments can be pre-empted and planned, excepting a stroke or trauma; what can be easily managed or planned becomes emergency owing to busy life style, lack of information and limited knowledge on the pricing front," says Krish.

Claiming People Health as the first Online Medical Services company in the country, he said: "We studied the prevailing system for over a decade before venturing into this space.

"We provide medical service under two categories – Basic service and Bettering Life Service."

Basic service constitutes routine check-up such as Lipid profile test, blood test for cholesterol, diabetes etc, Master Health Check-up, CT Scan and MRI, while Bettering Life service constitutes surgeries such as knee replacement, cardiac surgery, pituitary gland surgery and other major procedures.

Over one lakh patients are said to have signed up under basic service category across 4 major cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai.

"Our objective is to bring in more transparency and make health care more cost effective for the beneficiary," says Krish.

Asked how the company could convince those seeking its service that lower cost did not necessarily amount to compromise in service quality, he said: "Medical care is an emotional subject. In most cases, decisions pertaining to treatment/medical care is taken by someone in the family.

Further, patients who have availed medical services, be it for a viral fever or a complex surgery, often brood about what they went through, whether it was necessary, did he/she pay too much, whether they could have got it done elsewhere and so on."

Citing an instance, he said: “a 67-year -old was advised knee replacement. Her family consulted a couple of surgeons, but could not decide where to get the procedure done. When they were browsing the Net for information, they came across our offering and sought our service. We did a patient profile analysis, put the patient through 2–3 persons with similar ailment and who had undergone surgery, helped them understand the procedure and recuperation time.

We also shared information about 3-4 leading surgeons and helped them meet the doctor. After understanding the comfort level of the patient with the surgeon of their choice, we shared information about the hospitals where they can opt to have the procedure done including cost comparison details”.

We started offering Bettering Life service only early this year and have so far undertaken 70 surgeries. We plan to aid over 1,000 surgeries under Bettering Life service before end of 2014.

To a query on the company's tie-up with doctors and hospitals, he said: "As of now, we have tied-up with over 100 surgeons across India, and with over 100 hospitals in Bangalore ranging from super speciality hospitals to nursing homes and day-care clinics. We are looking at expanding our service beyond the metros. We are also looking at VC funding to help scale-up effectively."

Published on May 29, 2014

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