Ragupathy Veluswamy: excelling and enhancing health care in India with GKNM Hospital
Ragupathy Veluswamy: let us work together in achieving clinical and service excellence for the patients and their families who rely on us.
The healthcare industry needs to believe in contribution more than profit and can be achieved with an energetic work environment, a united team and perfect guidance. Here, leadership is all about the way a person direct the activities of a group headed for a shared goal. And, Dr Ragupathy Veluswamy, with all the essential qualities, has been an influential role model for the G Kuppuswamy Naidu Memorial Hospital.
Ragupathy has been the CEO of GKNM Hospital, since October 2015. He is a highly accomplished individual with 30 years of experience in healthcare. Being the CEO, he is responsible for overall operations, academic programs and restructuring the organization for growth and expansion.
Ragupathy is a physician executive with Masters in Medical Management from Carnegie Mellon University; Diplomate of the American Board of Paediatrics, American Board of Quality and Utilisation Review Physicians, and a Fellow of the American Institute for Health Care Quality. He also holds a Six Sigma Black Belt from Villanova University and is a Lean Six Sigma facilitator.
- CEO with Highest Quality Orientation by World Quality Congress 2018
- “100 Most Impactful Healthcare Leader “in 2018 and 2019 at the World Health & Wellness Congress.
GKNMH is a 620-bed super specialty hospital with post-graduate teaching programs, primary care outreach centers and a school of nursing. It is a moral and ethical healthcare institution focussed on providing patient-centric care for the last 66 years with a team of 2054 employees.
To know more about the hospital and Ragupathy, our editorial team discussed with him.
Here are the edited excerpts.
Take us through the factors that led to the inception of GKNMH. What has been the development path of the organization?
Providing “Humane Healthcare”
GKNMH started its service to the community in 1952. Its origin goes back to 1930.
It was the time when G. Kuppuswamy Naidu’s step-sister was expecting her first baby. After complicated labor, Smt Rajammal and the baby girl died. G. Kuppuswamy Naidu was greatly shaken by these two tragedies and vowed to help women. He dreamed of a hospital to care for mother and the new-born child. But before he died, he had seen to it that money was set apart for this noble cause. His brother and sons transformed his dream into reality.
The baby steps with which the institution has covered many miles developed into leaps and bounds with milestones becoming the page markers in the history of the Institution.
- June 1952: G. Kuppuswamy Naidu Memorial Hospital was inaugurated
- May 1954: Gynaecology block was inaugurated
- June 1958: Cancer block was opened
- 1979: LRG Naidu Memorial Cardiology Research Centre & Clinic was inaugurated
- 1984: The Institute of Nursing was established
- May 1995: Veerapandi Rural Education & Medical Center was inaugurated
- November 2002: RAKSHA was initiated
- July 2004: Jayavarthanavelu Rural Tribal hospital was inaugurated
- September 2006: First Kidney Transplant operation
- May 2008: Inauguration & Exchange of MoUs for Telemedicine
- GKNMH was accredited by NABH Quality Council of India for 3 years
- 2019: India’s First Philips EpiQ CVx Premium Echo Cardiography System in GKNMH
From the time of its inception, the Institution has grown to be a “Name” in the healthcare industry – following the very basic principle of its founding-father, to provide humane care.
Digital health has seen a major transformation in the past few years. What impact has it had on your company?
Digitization is the rule of thumb in any field currently. The implementation of technology is a cost-effective and compelling method to connect hospitals in the cities as well as rural regions. Although there are healthcare challenges, the good news is that we have innovative solutions to address them.
We, at GKNMH, are always on the lookout for the latest in the medical field and keep ourselves abreast of all the medical masters with the latest medical equipment and technologies.
Major factors, providers should consider when looking for patient engagement solutions.
The current scenario in healthcare delivery requires a paradigm shift from acute care to the promotion of health requiring a holistic approach. Patients no longer see physicians as “God”, but more of a partner in enabling to return to health. Improved communication, application of modern scientific knowledge coupled with an innate understanding of patient will help to create a trusting atmosphere.
Throw some light on your company culture.
We are a 66 years old organization with established culture originating with the basic need of providing healthcare in a compassionate manner. Our employees believe that every patient should be treated as our own family member, consistent with our brand – “We care – It Shows”.
How can we enhance the quality of healthcare services in India while not adding to costs?
There is significant scope for enhancing healthcare services. The government’s expenditure on the health sector has grown to 1.4% in FY18E from 1.2% in FY14. While the government is keen on addressing healthcare, it is also the equal responsibility of the private players to make it possible. When the Government takes an active part in providing healthcare to the public, joining hands with the private sector, costs will come down to provide a balanced healthcare system.
In a digital world, how will mobility change healthcare?
In an interesting read – “New roads to the health care of tomorrow”
The future of mobility will bring dramatic change to the health care sector. The way people and goods travel from point A to B heads toward a future expected to be increasingly characterized by shared, autonomous, and seamlessly integrated mobility.
Feather in the Cap of GKNMH
Our transparency and quality of service are well acknowledged by the community as evidenced by the recognition we receive:
- “Best Private Hospital in Tamil Nadu” by FICCI, Tamil Nadu in 2013
- ‘India health Care Award 2013’ by ICICI Lombard and CNBC in 2013
- ‘Scroll o Honour – 2011’ by National Board of Examinations
- The Pinnacle of Service Award in 2008
- Vocational Excellence Award for RAKSHA
- Service Award for ‘Gift of Life’ surgeries
By 2025, how will our healthcare delivery system change? What roadmap you have laid for the same?
India’s healthcare industry is one of the fastest growing sectors, and it is expected to reach $280 billion by 2020. Furthermore, the healthcare market can increase three-fold to Rs. 8.6 trillion by 2022. The Government of India is planning to increase public health spending to 2.5% of the country’s GDP by 2025.
With all of the above said, we at GKNMH, are constantly updating ourselves and function with great ease adapting to the changes, improving our strategies to deliver wholesome healthcare to all strata of the society at affordable costs.
So what keeps you up at night?
In a country like ours with the population of a staggering 1.3 billion people – we do not have well-established, well-funded public insurance programmes. When people are struck with severe disease, and despite selling and spending the last of their properties, the patient dies; the family is left in the streets, losing everything. This scenario plays in my mind – keeping me awake at nights, wanting to change it earnestly.
Advice for “Doctorpreneurs”
I advise the future “Doctorpreneurs” to move from a focus on acute care to the promotion of health, understand our patients’ conditions, their needs, and socio-economic issues, see and use technology as an enabler, and work in teams to coordinate care.
Finally, realize that NOTHING can replace the thinking, experience, and skills of our healthcare practitioners.
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
This is what the GKNM Hospital Staff is about.