Sanchita Sharma, the health editor of The Hindustan Times in her piece today has looked at the ‘Platinum Preventive Health Programme’, to be shortly introduced by Max Healthcare. The article I am afraid reads like an advertisement for the product rather than an editorial comment by a respected newspaper.
Swapan Seth, CEO of Equus Red Cell a well known advertising agency, shares his experiences while undergoing some tests as part of the program. What Sanchita forgets to mention is that Equus is the agency, which handles advertising for Max Healthcare and has been their agency for years. Swapan himself has been working on the account as the creative and at times strategy lead.
The article has comments only from Dr. Sushum Sharma who is Head of the Preventive Healthcare Program at Max and perhaps the father of the Platinum Healthcare Program. As a reader of Hindustan Times, would I not want my newspaper to carry the views of some other experts in this field? I suspect they will have a completely different take on this issue.
I am not sure I understand the logic of a Bronze, Silver, Gold or now Platinum packages introduced by Max Healthcare. As I see it a Preventive Healthcare Package should do a reasonable assessment of an individuals health and the set of tests should be based on his age, gender and hereditary/lifestyle risk factors. The doctors should be able to add new tests depending upon the client’s family history and lifestyle choices and thus offer a customised tailor made package that is ideal for an individual. Thus the set of tests best suited for me is the ‘Platinum/Gold or ‘whatever you want to call it’ package’ for me.
To introduce high end tests such as CT Scans, CT Angiographies, whole body MRI’s or cancer markers only to screen individuals who are otherwise healthy is at best doubtful medicine. In this age and time, when the buzz word is ‘evidence based medicine’ this looks like the complete opposite of it. Dr. Sushum Sharma, the Head of Preventive Care Program at Max is quoted as saying that he studied Preventive Health Checks from all over the world and introduced new elements keeping in mind Indian needs. This sounds like a typical smokescreen, behind which one can safely hide. Particularly so, when most of the literature available on Preventive Health is from the US.
The US Preventive Services Task Force is the authoritative body, which evaluates the benefits of primary and secondary preventive services in apparently healthy persons based on age, sex and risk factors for disease and makes recommendations about, which preventive services should be incorporated in Primary Care Practice. Even a cursory glance at its recommendations, will indicate that excessive testing of the kind indicated in the Max Platinum Healthcare Programmes is thoroughly unjustified.
I may as well add that this is precisely the kind of healthcare marketing, which makes a lot of people distrust their care providers. This appears to be a brazen attempt to make money by excessive testing. Hypochondriacs apart, this helps no one.
Personally speaking I am saddened to write all this about Max Healthcare as I believe that they are the best healthcare services organisation in New Delhi. However, I am afraid this business of Bronze, Silver, Gold and now Platinum Preventive Healthcare Programme does terrible injustice to their otherwise excellent reputation.
I have been in the past associated with Max Healthcare as their brand manager and later as the Head of Marketing Communications. Presently I have no association with any hospital/healthcare organisation.The image is from http://www.flickr.com