Beams Hospital, Mumbai: Conceptualising boutique care
With a specialised team of doctors, administrators and qualified nursing staff in Minimal Access Surgery (MAS), the hospital plans to expand its services to other cities as well. While doing so the mission of ‘patient care at all times’ will be the main focus. A glimpse of the strategies, investments and services in place.
Founded in 1994 by Dr Rakesh and Manju Sinha, with a dream to form the neighbourhood’s first ‘Boutique hospital’, Beams Hospital has come a long way. With every milestone added to the plethora of achievements, the ambition to reach even higher and serve better has become all the more prominent. The path has not been smooth, but that has never hindered the pace in which the hospital decided to grow.
Focussing on creating a niche in laparoscopic surgery in gynaecology, urology and general surgery, S Krishnamurthy, CEO, Beams Hospital, says, “Gynaecology & obstetrics holds a marketshare of about 13 per cent of the total healthcare industry in India. Within laparoscopic surgeries, we focus more on performing surgeries for fibroid removal, hysterectomies and deliveries. In 2002, 2003 and 2007, we had won the Limca Book of Records and the Guinness Book of World Records for removing the largest fibroid weighing 3.4 kg and the largest uterus weighing 4.1 kg through laparoscopic surgery.”
Investments and expansion plans
Functioning expertise was brought into Beams Hospital by Ambit Pragma Ventures, a Private Equity (PE) fund. Now, the hospital plans to expand its services from being a single entity to a 10-centre unit spanning across major cities like Amritsar, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Pune, Ahmedabad, New Delhi, Kolkata and Indore.
Krishnamurthy explains, “We have been running a successful MAS model for the past 15 years in Mumbai. The cost of setting up a MAS centre is about ` 6-8 crore. Now we plan to widen our horizon and introduce eight more centres across the country that will not only focus on gynaecology but also on urology, general surgery and arthroscopy. The centre at Amritsar has been operational since 2008 and now the centres at Hyderabad, Bangalore and Indore have also started functioning. We will follow a similar investment pattern for setting up other centres as well. We plan to start the other centres in the next 12-18 months.”
The hospital is also constantly working on enhancing its technological and expert services in the field of laparoscopic surgery. It has received the ISO 9000 accreditation and is now working on achieving the ISO 18000 accreditation, which is for maintaining environmental safety, and is also looking at receiving a process certification for healthcare.
Services and technological advancements
The hospital is a 32-bed MAS centre. About 40 per cent of the patients here opt for short stay service. The hospital’s administration department has issued a policy that all centres across the country will have at least 25 beds. In addition, the hospital is equipped with two operation theatres, one labour delivery room, one ultrasound system, one high-intensity focused ultrasound, one no touch breast scan and is backed by other high-end facilities.
With a belief to produce the best gynaecologists in the city and the country, Beams Hospital trains students throughout the year under the guidance of doctors in the hospital. Emphasising on the need to train young minds, Krishnamurthy says, “We conduct bi-annual training programmes on laparoscopic surgery for gynaecologists. Till date, we have trained more than 100 surgeons. We have plans of getting the accreditation from the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals (NABH) and also to offer DNB course in gynaecology at our centre.”
Besides, the hospital organises a number of activities in the academic arena, wherein specific cases are documented and showcased to the students. “We are also planning to affiliate with some university or institute in the US, based on the Ambulatory Surgical Care (ASC) model,” informs Krishnamurthy.
Serving the society
The hospital constantly participates in various healthcare camps and events organised in the city. Commenting on the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities, Krishnamurthy explains, “We annually organise conferences and camps in our hospital where patients who cannot afford a laparoscopic surgery, undergo the surgery free of cost. About 10 patients in the category of undergoing a ‘free surgery’ are operated every year. Further, we are trying to come up with various such programmes where we can provide quality services and also help those who cannot afford such a surgery. Our aim is to serve mankind through our expertise.”
The winning mantra
With upcoming hospitals focussed on providing solution through MAS, the level of competition is on a rise for Beams. Nonetheless, with experienced staff and administration in place, the hospital has managed to overcome them. Krishnamurthy opines, “With more and more centres coming up based on the theme of boutique hospital and MAS, the level of competition is high. There is a compelling case for patients to move to the chain of boutique hospitals, which offer technologically advanced MAS in a personalised and caring ambience. Considering the competitive environment and looking at the trend in which more and more specialised boutique hospitals are coming up, I think format such as ours could be a strong competition to larger hospitals in the near future because of the specialised services that we offer alongwith a well qualified, experienced team of surgeons and use of highly advanced, upgraded technology providing complete safety as well as cost effectiveness. Looking at all the factors, the customers will soon know where they need to get treated.”
Further, explaining the challenges that Beams faces, Krishnamurthy says, “The single biggest challenge for Beams is to attract the right kind of surgeon to perform surgeries. We have maintained the aesthetic value with which we serve our patients and ensure that they are treated with utmost care and attention. The second challenge is to create awareness about MAS. There is minimal awareness among the population at large about the benefit of MAS. The fact that a patient can return to his normal life and perform daily activities in a two to three days time is high with MAS. Hence, we constantly try to educate our patients on the success level and the advantages of MAS.”
The concept of medical tourism is highly recognised at Beams. Providing insights into the related field, Krishnamurthy avers, “We believe in medical tourism. Also, we are in the process of structuring it further. About 2-3 per cent of the patients visiting our hospital are from abroad. We have treated patients from various countries like the US, UK, UAE, Singapore, Kenya and others. We also have a specialised team of doctors who provide online counselling to the patients first and then they are advised to visit the hospital for treatment. For maintaining transparency in our working module, we record the surgeries performed on our patients. We provide the patients with one copy of the record and one is stored at the hospital for further assistance and documentation purposes.”
Tapping the future
Beams is far sighted when it comes to providing quality services and better treatment for its patients. Krishnamurthy says, “We are open to tie-ups with individual or group practitioners. We would like to associate local surgeons from bigger hospitals with our centre so that they can provide excellent treatment to our patients. Also, our aim is to create the finest MAS centres in the country five years down the line. With a single-centre concept that is doing well, we hope that the multi-location centres will help us in building a smaller chain of hospitals, which will cater to serving patients through MAS.”
The ability to deliver consistently is a big challenge for most healthcare service providers. Krishnamurthy opines, “With disposable income, a typical consumer’s expectation for healthcare has raised. At present, more and more corporatisation is taking place in the healthcare industry that helps in the formation of more chain of hospitals, which can cater to the ‘secondary level of surgeries’ and will create a niche in the secondary care sector. There are no sure shot models presently where the debate whether government should handle healthcare or the private players can settle. But both these models have their own challenges. In comparison to the healthcare model adopted in the US, India is still trying to reach up to that status. Healthcare in India was previously public based, but now with about 85 per cent of privatisation in the healthcare industry, we can predict that this sector will excel in the near future.”