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Dr.Devi Shetty- A trailblazer of the Indian healthcare system.

India as a country had been fighting some undefeatable demons in the healthcare sector since independence. On one side we have a major chunk of population which cannot afford quality healthcare, on the other side we have a sizeable chunk of growing middle class whose spending power is increasing by the years- this has led to an interesting problem where all the better healthcare providing establishments are clustered around major metros and cities, whereas the smaller towns and villages are left with facilities and infrastructure which are many decades old and in majority of the cases almost defunct.

Amidst all of this chaos, there are few people who are working towards improving our healthcare systems as a whole and among them, the name of Dr.Devi Shetty shines the brightest. After earning his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in medicine he spent few years in the UK practicing his profession, he returned to India in 1989 and worked with and helped establish few healthcare establishments after that- the notable among those was Manipal heart foundation and later Narayana Health(Parent foundation of Narayana Hrudayalaya). Narayana Hrudayalaya after being listed in the year 2016 is currently valued at 1 billion us dollars. For a healthcare firm thriving in a difficult environment as that of India and sustaining that valuation of a billion dollars is no small feat. Devi Shetty is a rare mix of a person who is a seasoned medical professional equipped with a sharp business acumen and an honest heart to serve humanity.

If you watch his TED talk, you will realize how simple ideas, when implemented in healthcare can create wonders. The most revolutionary idea he talks about is implementing economies of scale within healthcare sector- rather than building a small facility to treat a few patients who can afford, build facilities which will treat a large number of patients so that the costs are offset by revenues. Costs involved in building bigger hospitals and sustaining them is a no child’s play, even the developed countries have all shied away from building large healthcare facilities. Dr.Shetty took this very problem by the horns and implemented cost-effective and innovative solutions in bringing the setup costs down and also implementing path-breaking management practices and systems which help in the smooth running of day to day activities of the healthcare facilities which Narayana health owns and operates.

He also makes a statement saying the poor are at a disadvantage when left alone but are stronger when they come together. This was the basis of the Yeshasvini Insurance policy which Devi Shetty helped in designing along with Karnataka govt. Now seeing the potential and benefits of it, other state governments too have come forward to implement this policy. We need more such entrepreneurs and visionaries like that of Dr.Devi Shetty to solve the nagging problems our country has been facing in the areas of healthcare and as has been proved by him, there are plenty of opportunities in the Indian healthcare system waiting to be seized. All that is required to seize those opportunities is, perhaps a change in the perspective of seeing challenges as opportunities and having the audacity to do things which the world has so far shied away from doing.

Notable things we can learn from Dr.Devi Shetty and Narayana health:

  • You may be an expert in one thing, it never hurts to look out and try things outside of your expertise.

  • Many problems pertaining to healthcare can be solved if we try to implement solutions which are scalable.

  • There’s always room to include technology in a business no matter how old and traditional it is.

  • Just because others are doing things in a certain way, you are in no way compelled to do things that way.

  • You can serve humanity and still make money.

So, let us know in the comments below, what opportunities do you see in the current healthcare sector of India?If given an opportunity, what problem within the healthcare sector you’d want to solve.

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