Disruptive Health Heroes: An interview with Rupak Barua, Director & Group CEO, AMRI Hospitals Pvt Ltd
There’s an intense amount of patience needed to be a leader in general, and in health care even more so. Health care industry has boomed over the last several years, as evidenced by the number of healthcare ventures and rising stats of administrators who are investing their efforts on things that have potential to change the world, helping in shaping the policy and leading the country’s health-related organizations while remaining behind the scenes, and remodelling the healthcare system.. In this golden age of paramountcy, Rupak Barua who believes that total health comes from harmonizing health and mind found his calling years ago within the healthcare space after seeing a void for something he knew he can assist in.
Acknowledged as one of the most experienced and respected healthcare administrators in Eastern India, words are not enough to sketch down the character and contribution of Mr Barua. He quips, “Even though I feel counting milestones of success is not a wise thing to do, I would like to believe that I have played an important role in changing and improving the healthcare delivery system in Kolkata and Eastern India.” Living up with his philosophy of life, he has taken up new challenges and reached new frontiers, which have contributed to his success. As an active member of several industry bodies, like the CII and the Bengal Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Mr Barua has pushed for a more service-oriented healthcare system, with a focus on technology and merit. Through all these bodies and he has worked towards upholding the spirit of dedication, commitment, and transparency, qualities he believes reflect in one’s efforts to motivate a team. Be it a successful entrepreneur or a professional with the potential to reach the top, these qualities come together in boosting one’s confidence and helping to become a better leader.
We quiz this energetic leader on the ninja skills it takes to heal the problems. He drops his formula for setting goals that are vision oriented.
The crackling of the chat
What has been the development path of AMRI Hospitals?
AMRI Hospitals is one of the oldest chains of hospitals in India, with the unit Dhakuria in Kolkata, started in 1996, being among the first public-private joint ventures in healthcare anywhere in India. The hospital was started by some of the best-known names in healthcare, all of whom had roots in the public healthcare system and were pioneers in many ways. In 2001, the promoters of the Group took up an existing hospital at Salt Lake and added an annexe to it in 2011.
The visionary promoters further set up a new hospital at Mukundapur in 2011, which is undergoing addition of a wing that will significantly boost its capacity. With support from the Group’s visionary promoters, I spearheaded the launch of a new international standard super-speciality hospital at Bhubaneswar in 2014, soon after joining the Group as its CEO. I also led the charge to upgrade the other units of AMRI in Kolkata (Dhakuria, Mukundapur and Salt Lake) with high-end equipment (some for the first time in Eastern India).
What gave wings to your professional venture?
I have learnt since childhood that life is meant for participating in the process of creating something worthwhile, helping the self to grow, at the same time adding value to the society by being actively involved in helping others. Healthcare is one such sector where one can be part of a corporate structure and yet play a role in social welfare. When I came into healthcare it was still in its nascent stage and there were a lot of challenges. My philosophy of life has been to take up new challenges and win new frontiers. Stepping into the healthcare sector was a turning point in my life and the more challenges I faced, the more motivated I became. I took up challenging tasks one after the other and met these challenges successfully, which helped me to earn a name for my problem-solving role and bringing about a new era in the healthcare sector in Kolkata.
Digital health has seen a major transformation in the past few years. What impact has it had on your company?
With the world taking a major leap forward through digitisation, which has taken up almost every aspect of our lives, even as a healthcare service provider, we have had to take a fresh look at all aspects of our services, from regular operations to patient relations to providing value-added services. Digitisation of healthcare has also changed the ideas of telemedicine and we are looking at newer ways to address. We have already put up our admission and discharge services on the intranet so that details of a patient are available at the fingertips of whoever has access. We are also in the process of turning all our prescriptions and test reports online across all five units, making it easier for both doctors and patients. We are pushing forth with a strong social media presence so that people get to know about the quality services we provide. We also have a dedicated team to focus on digital marketing, not just in India but even in neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Afghanistan.
What do you think is the most important thing providers should consider when looking for patient engagement solutions?
All providers should put the most stress on proper and seamless service, besides ease of access to quality care at a value for money rates. The key to ensuring patient relations is to push for a service-oriented healthcare system, with a focus on technology and merit. In terms of patient engagement, we are always looking at offering the best in class services with affordability.
What kind of impact do you intend to make in the Indian healthcare space?
My goal has always been to push for affordable yet quality healthcare to patients. I would like to believe that as part of the AMRI Hospitals and in my role as a representative of the industry in various forums, I have been able to follow through in my approach. While the Indian healthcare space has its weaknesses and needs to improve in some areas, and continuously develop in order to match pace with the rest of the world, the overall scenario offers confidence that we are not in a bad place. In India, we provide almost the same quality and technical support that is available in the developed world but at a much lesser cost. As an individual and as the leader of a large Group, I have always endeavoured to add value to the wider healthcare sector as a whole so that we can make treatments easier and more affordable for people.
So what keeps you up at night?
Being the CEO of a Group as large as AMRI Hospitals has its inherent stress points and I have learnt from the life lessons of people like Warren Buffet and others that even the greatest leader has moments of weakness. These, however, are not what keep me up at night since I believe company performance and the bottom line are by-products of dedication and commitment. I would like to live up to my dream of a healthcare system that is continuously evolving and matching pace with time so that we can provide the best service and care for our patients. I have always believed that healthcare should essentially be the service industry at its best. I would start worrying the day I am not being able to perform to the best of my potential.