Apollo Hospital

Topics: Hospital, Hospitality, Patient Pages: 47 (7682 words) Published: March 8, 2015
For the exclusive use of N. VAIDYA, 2015.

IMB 425
SUHRUTA KULKARNI, KRIPA MAKHIJA AND U DINESH KUMAR

APOLLO HOSPITALS: DIFFERENTIATION THROUGH HOSPITALITY
The ‘‘wow’’ factor in service relies on constant innovation and demands continuous and sensitive focus on all issues that may affect the patient’s stay in a hospital. Every touch point of the hospital needs to be ‘‘alive’’ and the client must be able to feel the warmth offered. The culture of service is imperative in today’s scenario, where the differentiators could just be the manner in which services are offered. All the major players could replicate infrastructure within a short span of time, but not the service culture.

Dr. Umapathy Panyala, Chief Executive Officer, Apollo Hospitals, Bangalore (March 2013) Dr. Panyala, CEO, Apollo Hospitals, Bangalore believed that in the future, the hospitality aspect of hospitals—the service provided to patients—would differentiate Apollo Hospitals from a large number of equally competent competitors in the growing Indian healthcare industry. He had set up a quality department at the Apollo Hospital in Bangalore, headed by Dr. Ananth Rao. Apart from being an expert on Metabolic Diseases and Biochemistry, Dr. Rao was also a Lean Six-Sigma black belt from the Indian Statistical Institute, Chennai. You can’t manage what you don’t measure—although this may sound clichéd; I am still a firm believer of this philosophy and want to apply this, especially in the hospitality part of hospitals. Clinical benchmarking is a compulsory requirement and is taken care of; however, patients have so many other touch points in their stay at hospitals—the hospitality part. Some of the world-class hotels (such as the Ritz–Carlton) have performed benchmarking to standardise their hospitality offerings; at the same time, its employees are allowed to use their judgment to provide whatever delights the customer in every visit. 1 We want to internalise this in our culture as well. – Dr. Ananth Rao, Head–Quality Department, Apollo Hospital, Bangalore (March 2013) Dr. Rao also believed that the hospitality aspect would differentiate Apollo Hospitals from its competitors. Patient cure and care played very important roles in hospitals. Many patients were generally anxious when in a hospital and the sense of disservice increased their anxiety level very easily. Integrating healthcare and hospitality was essential for creating patient-focused care. Hospitality aspects included a smooth admission procedure, friendly medical and non-medical staff, comfortable furniture, varied choices on the food menu, attractive surroundings, recreational facilities, privacy, clear signposting, adequate provisions for visitors, and so on. 2 Important aspects of hospitality were managed by the nursing staff and other non-medical staff, which meant inherent variability of service owingto human interventions.

Dr. Panyala and Dr. Rao wanted to measure the hospitality aspects at Apollo Hospitals and improve hospitality to create a world-class hospital. Dr. Rao and his team collected feedback every day from the patients and received a number of complaints, ranging from not having a TV remote to long response time on the part of nursing staff in attending to requests from patients. For Apollo Hospitals, it was important that the patients’ experience in the hospital was not compromised, since it could have a significant financial impact. Managing the hospitality elements of the hospital was as important as managing the clinical aspects. Apollo Hospitals had a stringent process in place to take care of clinical aspects. Dr. Rao wanted to improve the hospitality at Apollo Hospitals by reducing the 1

Hall, J. M. and Johnson, M. E., When should a process be art, not science, Harvard Business Review, 2009, 1–9. Hepple, J.,Kipps, M. and Thomson, J., The concept of hospitality and an evaluation of its applicability to the experience of hospital patients, International Journal of...
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