Aakash Institute, well-known as a coaching centre for students aspiring to be doctors, has spread its wings with a 230-bedded super-specialty hospital in Dwarka, Delhi. It is now planning to set up a medical college.

Aashish Chaudhry, Managing Director, Aakash Healthcare, who is himself a doctor, calls this transition “a natural outflow” of the educational institute. “We started thinking of this when I was doing my graduation from Maulana Azad Medical College,” Chaudhry told BusinessLine.

Though the city is saturated with corporate hospitals, Chaudhry feels the location of the hospital gives them an advantage.

“Yes, Delhi is saturated and very competitive. The saving grace, I feel, is the location of the hospital and the unmet need in the area. The population is over 1.2 million. In terms of healthcare, you don’t have more than 150-200 beds in the entire area and there are no corporate hospitals,” he said.

Considering the unique position of the group as one with ties to lakhs of medical professionals, is Aakash at an advantage? Chaudhry, who says he himself took coaching at Aakash for four years before entering a medical college, said they intend to tap their alumni network – both for doctors as well as patients, calling it a ‘direct marketing’ window.

Marketing strategy

“We have created an alumni network, which is in lakhs. Plus we are trying to create a health card for all the students, their families and employees of the Aakash Group,” he said.

Aakash Institute, which was launched in 1988, is spread across the country with 135 classroom centres, 78 corporate branches and 57 franchise centres. The group has over 3,500 employees, making for a captive patient pool, Chanudhry said.

The Aakash Healthcare hospital, set up with an investment of around ₹230-240 crore, is not going to be the only one. Chaudhry hopes to set up at least four more hospitals in the next four years in a hub-and-spoke model, before taking the next big leap for a medical college.