Award: Good Company
Why He Won: For setting up a 6,000-bed multi-specialty hospital chain across India that provides world-class treatment based on a cross-subsidised model.
His Trigger: Most Indians cannot afford tertiary and specialty health care. One of the biggest reasons for them falling below the poverty line is an illness in the family.
His Mission: To create multi-specialty ‘health cities’ where every health need can be provided at an affordable price.
His Action Plan: Build expertise in specialties other than cardiac and cancer care; expand to more cities; use technology to cut costs, improve outcomes.
His Next Move: Taking Narayana Health global by opening a 140-bed multi-specialty hospital in the
The Cayman Islands are a group of three islands located in the western Caribbean Sea. Largely uninhabited till the 17th century, the islands are today one of 14 British Overseas Territories worldwide. Financial services and tourism are called its “twin pillars” of economic development.
In less than three months, the Cayman Islands will kick off its attempts to add a third leg to its economy—specialty tertiary care medical treatment.
Health City Cayman Islands, a cutting-edge 140-bed tertiary care hospital specialising in cardiac surgery, cardiology and orthopaedics, will open in early 2014. By 2024, the hospital hopes to grow to 2,000 beds while adding other tertiary care specialties like neurology and oncology, a medical university and an assisted-care living community.
For Indian doctors lured by the professional premise of Health City (or by the salubrious climes of the Cayman Islands), the prognosis is good. Because their Indian medical degrees will be recognised in the Cayman Islands, which makes it the only country other than, well, India, to do so.
Reason: Health City is a joint-venture between Ascension Health Care Alliance, a US Catholic health care organisation, and Narayana Hrudayalaya, the hospital chain founded by noted cardiac surgeon Dr Devi Prasad Shetty.
The pieces of the puzzle suddenly fall into place.
“When the Premier of Cayman Islands visited us to discuss this project, we gave him only one condition: They have to recognise Indian medical degrees,” says Dr Shetty. “Today Indian doctors cannot even practice in Pakistan. They said, ‘Look, we are a British Protectorate’. But in the end they changed the law.”
He is sitting in an ante-room connected to his larger chamber at NJ Health City, or Narayana Hrudayalaya as it is still popularly known across Bangalore. Spread across 26 acres on Hosur Road, the 3,000-bed flagship hospital facility of his group includes the 1,000-bed Narayana Institute of Cardiac Sciences and the 1,400-bed Mazumdar-Shaw Medical Center which specialises in cancer care.
Our scheduled appointment was an hour ago but there is a reason for the delay—Dr Shetty is coming out of back-to-back cardiac surgeries, as he almost always does. He is still wearing his scrub cap as he quickly takes a few bites of lunch while being interviewed.
If you have met Dr Shetty more than once, you will know that such multiprocessing is his default mode. One gets the sense that he manages to squeeze in about 30 to 36 hours into a 24-hour day.
Back to his upcoming Health City project, we ask: Why the Caribbean islands? Surely, it can’t be a co-incidence that the Cayman Islands are just 700 km off the coast of Florida, US?
“Today 40 million people living in the Caribbean region are dependent on the US for health care. We want to create an alternative for them,” he says. “Nobody wants you to disrupt the status quo, but the government and people of Cayman Islands want us to be there.” In other words, Health City is Dr Shetty’s shot across the US’s bow, the largest and arguably most expensive health care market in the world.
“People think doing cardiac surgery for $1,400 in India is no big deal, but when we start doing that in the Cayman Islands, then people have to take it seriously,” he points out. “We want to show the US that you can reduce the price of quality health care. If the world has to change health care, the US has to change.”
Though Dr Shetty’s and, by extension, Narayana Health’s core expertise lay in cardiac surgery, the group has expanded to numerous other specialties from cancer care to neurosciences to dental care. Does the process-oriented approach to innovation work in all these areas as well?
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(This story appears in the 13 December, 2013 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)
I really appreciate the doctors in Narayana Hrudayalaya, who is really taking care of patients with good treatment & care. But if you look in doctors fees & other charges, I dont think so its affordable for normal middle class family. I am visiting this hospital twice in a month, last one year for Mother cancer treatment , each visit just considering doctor & medicine spending lot comparing to other hospital. So I would like request , please reduce your charges. Anyway lot of patients depends on this hospital for treatment. All the patients believe that doctor is God\'s hands... Make it true from heart.on Feb 19, 2015
ALL GLOBAL DOCTORS ARE SUGGESTED TO TREAT POOR, HANDICAPPED, &YEAR INCOME PATIENTS BELOW$20. ONE DAY EVERY WEEK FREE OF COST ON HUMAN GROUNDSon Sep 6, 2014
While a well written article, I do not believe the author has researched whether Narayana is truly low cost (its cardiac cath and other surgical procedures actually cost more than other \'corporate\' hospitals in Bangalore) and whether they truly never turn a patient away (have personal experience of several poor patients returning without admission after evaluation as they could not afford the treatment offered at Narayana). Also their mortality currently is very high (I recently had a relative admitted there and observed things myself over 2 months)-over 10% in their childrens cardiac unit-high volume, poor quality control. While this hospital has got world wide recognition, it should be recognised that all treatments and surgeries in India at ALL Indian hospitals are \'low cost\' compared to the US. This is because nurses are paid 200$ a month versus 4000$ a month in the US, equipment is reused after sterilisation and many more such realities of our country. While the Yeshashwini scheme has helped-currently even those patients have to pay a fair amount for their treatment, it is no longer free after the rs 20/ deposit per month ie it is not really a full insurance cover. Would request facts to be doublechecked by talking to a varied group of people and actually going as a poor patient incognito.on Jan 1, 2014
We thank you all for your appreciationon Dec 13, 2013
As a Creativity and Innovation expert and a consultant specializing in India I have read a lot about this subject. I think the model of this hospital is one of the best model of this subject in India. Keep up the excellent work Doc Shetty !!!on Dec 11, 2013
i would like to join this hospitalon Dec 7, 2013
god has no name other than Dr Devi Prasad shetty.He is the man with divine heart.\" Yeshasvani \" is a much appreciated scheme ever.The punchline is hospital managment as well as patient managemnt is revlutionary.GRT!!!Cost cutting is a much needed achievemnt in health care.we are proud of Narayana Hrudayala Foundation.on Dec 6, 2013
EXCELLENT WORK. I think more and more professionals should follow his foot steps.This is what is called dedication. I think our politicians also can take a lesson from himon Dec 6, 2013
Hospital should be kept tidy.Appears like bhooth bungalow.Visitors are sent into pediatric Cardiac ICU like buffalo herd,which needs utmost sterilisation and infection control.Around 50-70 visitors are sent at a time,carrying with them lot of micro organisms.Infection control is a compromised commodity in the hospital for sure.Obviously, quality care takes a beating in this mass approach. However,having said above,doctors have best exposure to critical cases.Costs are also at control. Narayana is centre for tertiary care for sure,but not quality care.on Dec 6, 2013
Dear sandeep Please you don\'t go there. Let the poor people benefit.Thanks for this help.on Dec 9, 2013