AMRI Hospitals is a premier private healthcare provider in eastern India, with three super specialty hospitals in Kolkata. The group takescare of around 5.5 lakh patients annually, conducting more than 15,000 successful surgeries, with a roster of more than 5,000 healthcare professionals. BE’s Saptarshi Deb spoke to Rupak Barua, Group CEO, AMRI Hospitals.
Q. What motivated you to join the healthcare industry, specifically in the hospital management sector?
A. I have always wanted to be involved in a profession where I am able to help people so healthcare was sort of a natural choice. This, I believe, was a to a great extent inspired by my father, who was a freedom fighter, and till his last days, was involved with community service work. After I graduated from Calcutta University with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing, I started working with a top diagnostics chain but soon I switched over to core healthcare. Over the years, I worked with several leading Kolkata hospitals in senior management roles, before joining AMRI Hospitals as Group CEO in 2014. Being part of senior management in a hospital, while has its challenges, it also offers a certain satisfaction that can only come from helping people in health crisis.
Q. As the CEO of AMRI Group of Hospitals, what is your vision for the organisation, particularly in terms of growth, patient care, and community impact?
A. Growth or business development in healthcare is significantly different from any other sector. Marketing and branding for healthcare needs to be much more subtle and should ideally carry a message that will benefit the community, instead of just pushing for products. People often confuse business development with sales, but guiding people towards the right kind of treatment, offering sound clinical advice, raising awareness on diseases, and making modern technologies and treatment platforms easily available are the main components that help people in knowing that the facilities at our hospital can increase their life span. While top-line and bottom-line considerations are a constant in business operations, every decision in the healthcare industry is made with the benefit of the patients in mind. That has been AMRI’s vision since inception and we all work towards it. I would like to believe that since joining as the Group CEO, I have been able to further streamline our mission and vision for not just our organisation but even healthcare delivery in general.
Q. How do you ensure that AMRI Group of Hospitals stays at the forefront of medical advancements and technology in order to provide the best possible care to patients?
A. Modern healthcare is largely technology dependent and technology-driven, so all top hospitals like AMRI need to invest heavily into latest equipment and advanced treatment platforms. Digitalization in the healthcare sector has become more obvious for cutting-edge treatments. We keep ourselves updated with latest innovations and acquire technologies that will not only reduce hospital stay for patients but also ensure more precise diagnosis and excellent clinical outcome. At AMRI, we have always taken the “Patient First” approach to be of primary value. Quality treatment and excellent clinical outcomes are the two factors that influence our organizational culture, and we are able to provide these in an even better manner with the help of technology.
Q. What strategies have you implemented to enhance operational efficiency and patient experience within the hospitals under your leadership?
A. Ever since joining AMRI, I have worked towards introducing several international standard protocols in our systems and processes that make it easier for our patients to avail quality healthcare service and world class treatment. While we had to change our functional ways significantly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been able to successfully adapt these into our operational system and infrastructure so that we can further improve infection control, patient management, and resource mobilisation. We have also implemented a Patient Delight Management System that allows our patients to raise any issue they might face while at the hospital. We are also working towards a large scale digitization of our hospitals to make our operations more efficient.
Q. In a highly competitive healthcare market, how do you differentiate AMRI Group of Hospitals from other healthcare providers and maintain a strong market position?
A. In today's environment, innovation and technology have significantly changed our lives and continue to do so almost on a regular basis and as the leader I am committed to giving AMRI an edge over others by implementing newer, more cutting-edge technologies. We have already taken steps to make our systems and procedures smarter in order to improve clinical outcomes, shorten hospital stays, and provide more affordable options for our patients. Also, our USP is having on the roster world class clinicians and surgeons, who are attuned to the advancements around the globe, with the benefits of that knowledge that are being passed on to our patients.
Q. How do you foster collaboration and effective communication among different departments and teams within AMRI Group of Hospitals to ensure seamless operations?
A. We have put systems and processes in place that are used to monitor accountability, both individual and systemic, to ensure that all the departments are in sync with each other. As part of our in-house initiatives, we hold regular classes and workshops for all our staff where they are trained in various hospital management programmes, latest protocols, and technological developments. We similarly hold clinical workshops for doctors, nursing, paramedical, and technical stuff to keep them updated on new medical and related advances.
Q. Can you outline any specific initiatives or projects you have undertaken to enhance accessibility and affordability of healthcare services in the communities served by AMRI Group of Hospitals?
A. We launched the ‘361 degree’ initiative recently as a platform for overall healthcare delivery and knowledge dissemination, which considers offering healthcare that is precise, target-oriented, and ensures value-for-money. We also have a Patient Welfare Cell that aids patients from lower income households, particularly children, with treatment that is heavily discounted, and sometimes even free, with support from a wide network of NGOs and corporate sponsorship.
Q. What are the plans for expansion?
A. Our expansion plan includes investing in advanced treatment systems like robotics, high end MRI and other investigation platforms, along with some innovative equipment, which would be of pioneering nature in the region. We have a cancer hospital coming up at Bhubaneswar, Odisha, besides having a land earmarked at Rajarhat New Town to set up a cancer hospital. We also have plans to set up clinics in different parts of the North East, for which we have already initiated talks with respective state governments.