Data can not only help us to cure diseases, but identify those who require to be taken care of, even before they reach the level of sickness. Artificial intelligence can also significantly reduce the time that is taken by a doctor to come up with a diagnosis.
Shahid Akhter, editor, ETHealthworld spoke to Dr. Nandakumar Jairam, CEO, Chairman and Group Medical Director at Columbia Asia Hospitals to know about healthcare technologies in vogue at Columbia Asia Hospitals
Columbia Asia Hospitals: Your association
I have been associated with Columbia Asia Hospitals since its inception in India, which is from 2004. Columbia Asia as a group entered India, as they do in economies that are on the rise in Asia and set up hospitals in this country since then.
Over the years, it’s been a fantastic journey for Columbia Asia and myself. My association with them started as I being their group medical director and I was then privileged to be offered a position on the board. I continued on the board until 2017 when the board requested me to take the additional responsibility of being CEO, which I proudly accepted. And this journey has been the best part of my life.
Columbia Asia: Journey so far
Columbia Asia started in 2004 with one flagship hospital which was in Hebbal, in Bangalore. Thereafter, began a rapid expansion in the country. We now have 11 hospitals, running across the length and breadth of India. In the north, as forward as Patiala, in the east in Calcutta, in the west in Pune and the large conglomerate in Bangalore which has 5 hospitals spread across the east, north, south and west of the city.
As a brand we are a multi-specialty hospital group, which takes care of the healthcare of middle class India. In our quest to provide healthcare, we believe in value for money, accessible and high quality healthcare, provided with empathy and care.
Columbia Asia: As differentiator
We ourselves are a global healthcare chain. We have an equal number of hospitals as we have in India,and in Malaysia. We also have our presence in Indonesia, Vietnam or in the Asian geography. A sister concern of Columbia Asia also exists in China and in Africa.
We differentiate ourselves on several accounts, the aesthetics of our hospital is something that we are proud of. We ensure cleanliness and ensure that our hospitals have a look-feel-see that are standard and extremely pleasing to the eye and to the patient who is unwell.
We have the highest level of appropriate technology to serve our patients and we ensure that we reach out to the insured group of people to provide healthcare as much as we do to self-base. We primarily direct ourselves at middle class India in an ethical fashion and we strongly advocate evidence based practices, transparency and accountability which are so important in providing healthcare to our nation.
Columbia Asia: Role of IT, AI and technological advancements
Healthcare is changing in this last decade very rapidly. This is because of the introduction of technology into this space. We in Columbia Asia Hospitals, were the first to come out with an electronic medical records, with which we invested in our first hospital and in every hospital since then. Even today we are nearly paperless and therefore invested in technology far ahead of other players in our own country. Today, we have sufficient data to ensure that we use this data effectively for the welfare and wellness of people.
Data can not only help us to cure diseases, but identify those who require to be taken care of, even before they reach the level of sickness. In other words, promoting good health is an opportunity that data provides. Artificial intelligence can also significantly reduce the time that is taken by a doctor to come up with a diagnosis. This is the real future of medicine and we are running rapidly into it. Investing in this space is vital for the survival of any healthcare provider.
Columbia Asia: Future plans
At this point we have one hospital under construction in Pune, which will open in 2020. We have completed the first phase of our growth and would consolidate for the next few years before we look at further expansions within this country. There is aggressive growth in the Malaysian segment, which is growing at a faster pace than in India today.