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NationWide to spread family doctor concept across India

February 1, 2013

NationWide is a pioneering chain of general practitioner (GP) and paediatric clinics headquartered in Bangalore. NationWide, through its concept of “Bringing back the Family Doctor”, aims to revive the age-old family doctor model that worked so well, but has literally disappeared from the Indian healthcare scenario over the past decade. 

Informing about the concept behind the launch of Nationwide, Dr. Santanu Chattopadhyay, Founder and CEO, NationWide Primary Healthcare Services Pvt. Ltd. says – “The idea is simple, as each neighborhood has a family doctor, who is always consulted for any disease first. He already knows you and your medical history, so he knows the nature of your body and it limitations. In UK, 70-80% medical issues are solved by the family physicians. Unless you have an emergency, you are not referred to the hospital.”

 “With this model, cost of the care is very low in entire Europe”- Adds Dr. Shantanu. “We are following the US model of healthcare, rarther the UK model is more relaibale and hassel free. We have a large and in depth network of family physicians across the country and what is not required a hospitalization that can be addressed at home. We have tied up with various hospitals in case the patient needs to be referred further. Our experience is good so far and people are responding to it due to low cost and avoiding unnecessary test recommendation for small things like headache and fever etc.”

Nationwide is working on the old family doctor concept, and this is a brick and mortar model, but challenges are at execution level. Out of 100 medical students 40 opt for GP, and Nationwide has an annual outcome model, in which patient pays on annual basis and doctors are the salaried employees. In addition, MBBS doctors get additional degree in UK along with in-house training too, which is a repetitive practice not a once in life time programs.

The chain’s primary care clinics focus on bridging the gap between fragmented general practitioner services and highly expensive super-specialist hospital care by creating a single-point of medical care for their patients’ everyday healthcare needs.

Commenting on the modus operandi, Dr. Shantanu avers – “our patient gets a discount for treatment in hospital, as we do not take commission from the hospitals and this amount is offered to a patients in form of discount.”

Distinguishing the concept as social entrepreneurship instead of charity, Dr. Chattopadhyay says – “As charity doesn’t last longer, you need to have a sustainable model. To do the business you need money; we make profit and create value too. We do also offer subscription-based model including 24 X 7 consultation, and commitment to deliver on time, which result in patint outcome. We are very aggressive on taking patient feedback and gather information about the doctor’s behavior, staff service and patient’s comfort level. Out of ten doctors around nine are rejected in recruitment process through a intensive series of theory exam, case scenario training, and regular audit. If you get better basic services then it will automatically increase the chances of subscription.”

With an overall objective of ensuring a family doctor for every family in India, Nationwide strives to bring trust, empathy and transparency back into the “Doctor-Patient” relationship.  

Telling about the future plans – “we are looking for metros right now but have plans to expand in tier one cities too. Rural outreach, we are talking to the government and hope to find something conclusive to serve the rural areas too.”

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