On my recent visit with students to Narayana Hrudayalaya, what struck me most was this one statement : Charity is never scalable.. Families who are philanthropic now, may fail society tomorrow.
Families who are philanthropic now may not be able to scale their philanthropic activities to levels demanded by increasing population gaining access to modern medical care. It therefore makes more sense for noble institutions like a heart care hospital to think of some innovative and ingenious ways to tackle the perennial problem of funding. The easiest and most viable proposition thought of by Dr Devi Shetty was of a low cost sustainable business model which works on economies of scale and division and specialisation of labour.
This prompted Dr Devi Shetty and team to go for "social service with a purpose" and offer affordable healthcare working on self sustainable business model and establish NH. All modern strategies which are taught in the best business schools by the best professors are being practically implemented by the doctors and other professionals at NH, in that they have created a very good workable business model. Not being complacent of their success, the hospital always tries to be more innovative, looking for means and ways to reduce costs. As we were told, one of the recent innovations they implemented was of the surgical coat used to cover the patient.
Ordinary cotton coats, costing Rs 2000/- could be reused upto sixty times, but is very unhygienic as because of repeated washing and sanitizing, the cloth would get torn and cotton would float in the air, causing contamination by bringing germs. Cardiac surgery requiring very hygienic conditions cannot afford to take a risk this way.
By importing disposable coats from Germany, the cost of the coat per surgery comes to Rs 5000/-. The cost of the coat material is only Rs 500/- but the stitching in Germany and transportation makes it expensive. Bangalore being the textile capital of Karnataka, NH decided to get the material from Germany and get it stiched in India under highly hygienic conditions. at just an additional cost of Rs 200 per coat, NH was thus able to not only cut the cost per disposable coat from Rs 5000 per coat per surgery to Rs 700 per coat per surgery. This was a simple innovation which reduced the cost for the surgical coat from Rs 5000 to Rs 700.
This brings us to another great learning and reminds me of a popular proverb that goes this way :- where there is a will, there is a way .. When a problem is devoid of a solution for lack of funds, it is a great step to initiate innovation .. It in fact ignites an innovation ecosystem.
A Reverse Innovation example http://www.northeastern.edu/news/2013/03/vgreverse/
We have so many good things happening in our country, but even then our countrymen are so impatient they want immediate results, to conquer challenges and migrate elsewhere. Thank God, our resources in-house are unlimited, we are able to beat global competition every time...