Marketing a Breast Cancer Screening Program

Breast Cancer is one of the most common cancers in India. Latest data indicates that the incidence of Breast Cancer in India is on the rise and is currently pegged at 30 per 100000 women. While this is much lower than what the US reports (100 per 100000 women), one suspects that considering India’s abysmal rural healthcare infrastructure, the actual incidence of Breast Cancer would be much higher.

Experts agree that the best way to treat breast cancer is to detect it early. Technology now allows for detection of very small tumours. Mammography, which essentially is an X-Ray of the breast allows for early detection of the tumour. It is recommended that women in India must undergo a breast cancer screening every year after 40 years of age. There has been some debate on whether the right age for screening should be 40 years or 50, most experts agree that in India, 40 years is the right age for breast cancer screening.   Continue reading

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Indian Hospitals Need New Online Initiatives

HIS_boxWebsites of Indian hospitals are hardly something to write home about. They are mostly poorly done, difficult to navigate and usually the information lies buried so deep that it tests ones patience to get the relevant information . The other day, it took me close to 20 minutes and numerous clicks to locate the address of a hospital from its website. I needed the address to send a Diwali card to a friend who works at the hospital and try as I might, I just did not seem to find the address of the hospital.

Almost all of the hospital websites that I am familiar with are largely static. Thus, they do not interact with patients or caregivers looking for specific information. They do not allow one to book appointments, download reports, interact with doctors taking care of ones loved ones, send good wishes or chat with the patients. They do not support e-commerce. Thus if I was an NRI living abroad and wanted to buy my parents an annual health check or if I wanted to pay their hospital bills on line, I just can not.

In the era of burgeoning medical travel and with Indian hospitals attracting a sizable chunk of patients from all over the world, this does seem strange. For some unfathomable reason, Indian hospitals have not invested too much on their websites or for that matter on online marketing per se. I believe it is high team someone woke up and used the net better.   Continue reading

Service Design Prescriptions for Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals

Service PrescriptionsA couple of weeks back I had written about my experiences at the Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals. Following the publication of that post, I received a call from the hospital. I must say I was very surprised. The caller was a lady who said she looked after service quality and was calling to learn more about my experiences at the hospital. While apologising for what we had to go through the hospital, she wanted more details and appeared keen to fix the problem. Subsequently I also received a call from my former colleague Usha Bannerjee, who presently heads nursing at the hospital. She too admitted that they have been having ‘service’ issues and they are trying their best to rectify these.     Continue reading

Dr. Naresh Trehan at the HT Leadership Summit

Dr. TrehanI had the privilege of listening to Dr. Naresh Trehan at the HT Leadership Summit organised by the Hindustan Times in New Delhi on Oct 30th and 31st 2009. The Leadership Summit has over the years become the marquee event in the city’s calendar and leaders like the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister and a former US President (George W Bush) addressed the gathering, which was composed of the who’s who of the Delhi elite. Dr. Trehan, who is widely regarded as one of the most accomplished cardiac surgeons in the country, was invited to speak on the challenges that the healthcare industry faces and how he saw things working out by 2020.

Dr. Trehan spoke with great passion and expressed anguish at the huge gap that exists in the supply of healthcare to the haves and ‘have nots’  in our country. “While Delhi draws thousands of patients from across the globe, 50 kms outside the city, one would struggle to find a qualified physician. India has some of the finest healthcare facilities, comparable to the very best anywhere in the world, which offer services at a fraction of the cost in the west, yet most Indians can hardly access these. The real challenge is how do we bridge this huge divide”, pointed out Dr. Trehan.

The prescription that he had for the malaise was simple enough.   Continue reading