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Hospitals with a green pulse

S. Shanker | Updated on March 23, 2011

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While there has always been a hue and cry over the room rates charged by hospitals, little does the public know that, on average, hospitals pay Rs 500 a day as electricity charges for each room.

“Most hospitals today are centrally air-conditioned, and A/C systems turn out to be the biggest guzzlers of power,” said Dr Vivek Desai, Chairman, CII Healthcare Committee and Managing Director of Hosmac India.

The CII committee has surveyed 25 top-notch hospitals in Mumbai and Pune, besides gathering information from other places such as Delhi, and found that healthcare institutions need improvements in their power infrastructure as they work non-stop round the year.

Besides air-conditioners, sophisticated medical equipment such as CT scan and MRI too figure in the survey.

The committee will publish its findings soon.

Under general lighting, if tubelights are upgraded to CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps), the energy savings is 30 per cent, and with LED lamps it is as high as 45-50 per cent, says Dr Desai.

Some hospitals have gone in for timers that switch on exhaust fans and lights between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.

CII wants to persuade the Government to reward healthcare providers for their power efficiency and provide incentives for power savings.

A second initiative involves a comprehensive patient perception study on hospital care.

Interestingly, contrary to the general perception that patients are unhappy with doctors, the problem area was found to be billing and related issues, such as billing delays.

“Patients are happy with the infrastructure, hygiene, aesthetics and food provided. The message is: patients want value for money,” said Dr Desai.

While the CII study was consolidated on a sample size of 400 respondents, it has decided to increase the sample size and employ a professional agency for the survey. It aims to make it a continuous exercise, with the results shared with healthcare providers at regular intervals.

On whether hospitals would take kindly to the study, Dr Desai said the hospitals were members of CII and it was a consumer survey. Times are changing, the findings will become public, he said.

The general perception of patients that they are at the mercy of healthcare institutions has to go. A professional agency at the helm would ensure that feedback commands credibility, he said.

The CII healthcare committee is also working on skills development for lower-rung staff in hospitals who, by virtue of their tenure, end up doing technical jobs as a matter of course. It is common to see ward boys functioning as X-ray technicians or nursing attendants.

Under a Ministry of Labour scheme, hospitals can equip such staff — Fourth to 12 Standard pass — through skills development programmes at their own institutions, by conducting certified courses approved by the regional directorate of the Labour Ministry.

The Western Region CII has taken up the ‘Vocational Training Provider' (VTP) scheme for propagation among members. A high-level committee comprising members of hospitals has compiled the curriculum for seven courses. The Labour Ministry's directorate approval was obtained for the course content. So far, five hospitals have registered as VTPs and more will follow.

The programmes, ranging from 40 to 120 hours, will be conducted over weekends.

Those qualifying will receive the Labour Ministry's certificate. Even private nursing homes can register their employees for the course.

The benefits are multi-fold. Those who qualify will get higher salaries as certified technicians. Dr Desai said efforts were on to produce a ‘white paper' at Ahmedabad on public-private-partnership in the healthcare segment. Experts have been roped in and successful PPP models will be highlighted for the industry. The Gujarat Government, too, will showcase a scheme there.

“Not much is happening in the PPP mode and it must be understood that healthcare is not about metros alone, for 65 per cent of the population is in the rural areas. A framework has to be created to make PPP work so that it can be learned, scaled up and replicated,” he said.

Published on March 23, 2011

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