The Evergreen Mantras for Failure!

doc-ceo If you are a surgeon and a  CEO of a yet to be launched/recently launched hospital, with a great vision about creating a truly world class hospital, here are some useful tips on how to fail!. If any of you dear readers, find any resemblance to any individual, hospital or real life situation let me assure you that it is just your imagination working overtime.


  1. Select a set of promoters who know nothing about healthcare, do not know the difference between a CT and an MRI and between an orthopaedician and a paediatrician (sounds the same eh!). 
  2. Bedazzle them with your medical knowledge by constantly sprouting jargon. Display high levels of energy and commitment, while never compromising on golfing holidays.
  3. Commit an impossible deadline for starting the hospital operations and than as the deadline approaches, keep telling the promoters that the hospital will start on time. On the appointed day do tell everyone that you are ready to start except the damn hospital is not ready and everyone involved in its construction has really taken you for a ride.
  4. Blame all cost and time over runs on executives from the promoter’s parent company meddling around in the hospital’s affairs.
  5. Hire a bunch of doctors, who are medical school buddies and friends.  
  6. Also hire a set of professionals, brighter than yourself, give them the freedom to perform and if they do better than yourself, ensure that they get the sack.
  7. Compromise on everything that you professed to believe in. While you go about doing this do tell all and sundry that these are things you are being forced to do by the promoters, who in any case know nothing about medicine.
  8. Hire a Chief Operating Officer, whose wattage is 1/100th of yourself and ensure that he is always there to take the rap for everything that goes wrong.
  9. Have your own surgical outcomes comparable to the worst surgeon in the hospital, however never forget to have a weekly lecture on all things under the sun including medical outcomes.
  10. Always have a sidekick and confidant along, to perform the surgeries and also to provide a handy shoulder in these difficult and sorrowful times.
  11. When the going gets really tough, get going, er bolt.

Pic courtesy www.

5 thoughts on “The Evergreen Mantras for Failure!

  1. The Junior Doctors- ‘the junior of the doctors’

    We as a society has always had a fascination for hierarchies and therefore instituted them in all aspects of life politics, judiciary, army, bureaucracy and you name it. Health care is no different except of course for the complexity of the profession which makes applicability of hierarchies difficult, nevertheless we have been successful. We have always thought that this has provided us opportunities to differentiate one from the other; achievers from failures, high end achievers from average achievers, more experienced ones from less experienced and also more fortunate ones from the less fortunate ones and so on. This has of course helped us to develop an aspirational character which is so readily attributed to us in the west.

    I have tried hard to figure out where the line lies differentiating senior from junior doctors and my understanding of the loosely used terminology of ‘junior Doctors’ is that is normally used for doctors who are not specialists (for some reason have missed out on specialty training) or are very early in their careers as specialists. To put things in perspective almost half of the medical graduates in India miss out on any specialty training opportunities. Also there is a major shortage of doctors India which will become increasingly apparent with the capacity expansion. The governments tried to run the system without addressing some of these core issues and obviously got no where. Now of course the governments have completely washed its hands from healthcare leaving the corporate sector to pick up the pieces of the dysfunctional system.

    These medical graduates often have to live with the label of ‘junior doctor’ for the rest of their working careers with no established career progression pathways. Some try their luck overseas; others try to establish general practices in outer metropolitan areas or regional areas but a vast majority have no choice but to end up being cheap labor in posh corporate hospitals. These guys do the hard yard, provide the after hours cover, do the grave yard shifts, all this without any recognization let alone appreciation. Often they have to deal with bosses (senior doctors) who are bullies. Ask any ‘junior doctor’ to narrate some of his personal experiences you would get to hear some very astonishing tales! Soon they find themselves in a situation with no support or mentoring and the system fails them completely. It doesn’t take long for their confidence and passion to drift. This only works against the hospitals attempts to create a ‘unique patient experience’ as these are the doctors who are patient’s first point of contact and are also the ones who end up spending the maximum time with the patients.

    Corporate sector I thought was a totally different style of doing business; breaking traditional boundaries and hierarchies. They are supposed to work in a manner which is result oriented and runs on spotting nurturing and rewarding the talent early on. They have been successful in implementing these models in sectors like IT. However in healthcare they got stuck and entangled in these traditional boundaries. Try modifying the behavior (read: make him more accountable) of a 50 years old Professor of Medicine, the chances are that you soon give up understanding the futility of the exercise. However it would be much easier to imbibe that in a 35 yrs old ‘junior doctor’.

    The future of the corporate healthcare in India lies in addressing these core issues. Shortcut strategies like poaching of established ‘stars’ in order to start making money from day one wouldn’t go too far. Instead they would have to simulate the established successful models of other sectors and learn to spot, develop and nurture the young talent – between us.

  2. Dear Sir,

    The corporate hospitals treat junior doctor a shade better than others, where I have heard stories of these doctors dropping children of the senior doctors to the bus stops and running household chores.

    While this does not happen in Corporate Hospitals, I personally feel there is a lot to be done in treating junior doctors with professional courtesy, dignity and respect.

  3. Dear Anas,
    I agree, but the core issues remain.
    People get away with those horrific things in the government sector as they are accredited training positions and for the junior doctors a lot is at stake (their degrees).In this day and age clearly this is not sustainable and as the public health sector collapses; like everything else training too is bound to move to private sector (the trend is already evident) The smarter organizations will recognize and prempt things to make the most of it by evolving newer models.

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