Chasing Immortality

Immortality 1Immortality seems to be staring the human race in the face. If one was to believe the ‘futurist’ (never knew what this meant till recently) Mr. Ray Kurzweil, mankind will find a permanent solution to the scourge of dying and that too, not in too distant a future. Mr. Kurzweil believes that by 2029, that is in just 20 more years, man will conquer the final frontier in medicine and will be able to continue to live forever.

Ray Kurzweil has been a thinker, author and entrepreneur.  He has done pioneering work in developing optical character reading technology as well as developed a text to speech synthesizer way back in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Of late he has been researching and writing on Artificial Intelligence and how life as we know it is on the verge of extinction, thanks to what Kurzweil calls ‘The Law of Accelerating Returns’. Kurzweil believes that we are on the verge of a technology explosion, which will grow human knowledge exponentially by a billion times in the next 25 years or so.   Continue reading

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The Need of Customer Experience Managers in Hospitals

Surgical GeneralI believe the time has come for hospitals to seriously look at taking on people tasked with managing the customer experience, while interacting with the hospital at its various touchpoints. The Customer Experience Manager must be an individual, who can integrate the plethora of experiences that one is likely to have in a hospital in one unique experience, even a memorable one, (which is difficult, considering one is talking about a hospital).

A Customer Experience Manager should be empowered to act on behalf of the patients in the hospital, have overriding powers and must be guided by just one consideration, which is, if I was the patient, would I expect this from my hospital. An affirmative answer to this question is what should guide the Customer Experience Manager.   Continue reading

If Only They Could Talk-Reading James Herriot

All Creatures Great and SmallThese days I am enjoying James Herriot’s omnibus collection ‘All Creatures Great and Small’. I must confess I am great fan of James Herriot’s writing and have read most of his books including the other omnibus collections ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’ and ‘All things Wise and Wonderful’. A few years ago, I also came across the authorised biography of James Herriot (by his son Jim Wight), in a London bookstore and without much ado picked it up.

I recall I first encountered James Herriot, almost 20 years ago when in school. The CBSE English Core Curriculla, that we were taught had a wonderful James Herriot story titled ‘God is Near’.  Even after almost two decades I remember the old lady and her brood of aging dogs and how James Herriot, country vet practising the Yorkshire Dales took care of the dogs and the old woman, who wanted to know from the young and kindly vet, if animals had souls and will she be reunited with her beloved dogs in hereafter.   Continue reading

The Dilemma of Single Speciality Hospitals

DoctorA recent cover story in Business World highlights the growing influence of Single Speciality Hospitals (SSH) in India. I read the story carefully. First and foremost, I was delighted to see a cover on healthcare in Business World. It is not often that the business of healthcare gets prominence in a widely circulated and highly respected business weekly. That, BW decided to do this story is a testimony to the growing importance of the private healthcare sector, which is something to cheer about.

SSH’s make good business sense at least in some specialities. The investment required is low compared to a large Multi Speciality Hospital (MSH), funds can be accessed through PE firms and financial institutions, the hospital can be set up quickly and if one ropes in a well known medical luminary of that particular field, it is not too difficult to fill up the beds. Once the operations stabilise, one can consider franchising or expanding by setting up super specialised centres in large multi speciality hospitals. Specialities like Ophthalmology, Dentistry, Obs and Gynaecology (remember the neighbourhood mother and child centre) have always had Single Speciality Hospitals and clinics.  The trend is now towards large SSH for Oncology, Urology and even Day Care Surgeries.   Continue reading