Dr. K Ravindranath, CMD, Global Hospitals Group

“…while earlier, the west used to lead the path on innovations, we will now witness an increasing contribution from the Indian healthcare institutions as well.”

Dec 19, 2011 06:12 IST India Infoline News Service

Dr. K Ravindranath, CMD, Global Hospitals Group accomplished Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons from Glasgow & Edinburgh and become one of the most sought after surgeons in India and abroad.  With a doctor’s degree from Sri Venkateshwara Medical College, Tirupati, AP, he went on to complete his Masters in Science from Madras University. Dr. Ravindranath has also gained the reputation of being a pioneer in various surgical and developmental projects. He developed India’s most comprehensive Hospital dedicated for Gastroenterology and a center to efficiently conduct the complicated procedure of organ transplantation. Dr. Ravindranath has had the opportunity to work at the Oesophageal & Gastric Surgery Department at Memorial Hospital in Darlington, U.K and was involved in Liver Transplantation procedures at Kings College Hospital, London, UK.  He has had extensive experience of Hepatobiliary& Pancreatic Surgeries at Hammersmith Hospital, London.  Dr. Ravindranath excelled in Colorectal Surgery at St. Mark’s Hospital, London. His reputation as a specialist in Surgical Gastroenterology has gained acceptance across the globe. He has also served as guest faculty at workshops and conferences all over India and in countries like Australia, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S.
Global Hospitals Group is the fastest growing chain of multi super specialty tertiary care Hospitals offering healthcare services of international standards. The Group currently has nine hospitals strategically located across the country with more than two thousand beds. With India's largest multi-organ transplant centre and the country's best team of experts in a host of specialties, Global Hospitals with its world class hospitals,  has given a new lease of life to many battling with end-stage diseases. Recognized for internationally reputed doctors and cutting-edge medical technologies, the Hospital has achieved several milestones by performing rare and pioneering surgeries like India's first successful Split & Auxiliary Liver Transplant, and first combined Heart & Kidney transplant. Led by a highly renowned team of specialists and visionaries, Global Hospitals continuously strives to make its expertise affordable by all segments of the society.
Replying to Anil Mascarenhas of IIFL, Dr. K Ravindranath says, “…while earlier, the west used to lead the path on innovations, we will now witness an increasing contribution from the Indian healthcare institutions as well.”
Give us a brief overview of the healthcare situation in India.
Healthcare industry in India is one of the fastest growing sectors. Currently, over 75% of the hospitals in India are privately owned. While the Government spend on healthcare requires a significant increase, sensing the huge opportunity, the industry is now strongly attracting investments from large corporate houses. We are definitely moving in the right direction. The sector will see a rapid growth, which in turn will ensure a larger availability of tertiary care services and lead to higher levels of affordability through economies of scale.
Interesting to observe is that while earlier, the west used to lead the path on innovations, we will now witness an increasing contribution from the Indian healthcare institutions as well.
Tell us about your presence in the country.
Global Hospitals Group is acknowledged as one of the fastest growing chain of tertiary care hospitals in India. With over 2,100 beds and nine hospitals, we are currently present in the cities of Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai and soon will be opening another state of the art tertiary care hospital in Mumbai.
What are your expansion plans? How would they be funded?
We are aggressively pursuing a pan-metro presence and plans are on the anvil to set up operations in Delhi and Kolkata.
What is your current staff strength? What are your hiring plans?
The Global family is currently with over 5000 members across the Group hospitals.
We are able to attract the best of talent not only from within India but also from the best institutions world across. Our hiring plans will be commensurate with our expansion plans
What are the opportunities and challenges in Indian healthcare delivery sector?
The Indian healthcare sector has progressed significantly over the last decade but there is so much more the public and private organizations can do given the huge population pressure and need for quality healthcare.
Increasing Government participation in this sector and investments will play a crucial role in giving a further fillip to the growth and ensure the reach of world class medical care even to the common man.
You have worked in some of UK’s top medical institutions. India is now seen as a destination for healthcare. How do you see Indian Healthcare in comparison to developed nations?
While the medical talent is on-par with the best in the world, the quality of infrastructure to deliver world class care needs to be further improved. The Indian culture & value systems have a phenomenal impact in the way we treat our guests and also the way we treat our patients, with a personal touch and compassion. With a rapid growth in the private healthcare sector and increasingly noticed return of the best talent from world across back to India, India surely is a healthcare destination to watch out for.
With my long years of having worked at some of the best healthcare institutions of the world, I am able to, at Global Hospitals, put specific focus to incorporate and institutionalize best practices in patient care, patient safety, systems, protocols across all functions. Very soon we have been able to establish performance benchmarks that are difficult to surpass.
As an industry what are some developments on the regulatory front or insurance front which would boost the growth of the sector?
The gap in the demand and supply of quality healthcare in India is wide. Healthcare in India still faces the affordability challenge from the masses. The Government should take necessary steps either in the form of investments or support the private players with necessary steps to deliver services that become more affordable.
Insurance sector too is highly under penetrated, more so healthcare insurance. We should all collectively ensure to educate people on the need to subscribe a health insurance policy. The Insurance organizations also have a task on hand of introducing aggressive and attractive policies. They may also need to step up their promotion to increase awareness levels. Instances where a family becomes debt ridden when a family member becomes hospitalized can be significantly avoided.
You have been active in Liver Transplantation. Tell us more about it.
I am delighted to say that Global Hospitals Group today is acknowledged as the world’s most comprehensive centre for Liver, pancreas diseases and transplantation. We have been able to build one of the best teams and the finest of technologies.
We have pioneered innovative techniques especially in liver transplantations. Such as the split liver transplantation (a cadaver liver transplantation where one liver is implanted into two recipients), auxiliary liver transplantation, paediatric & neonatal liver transplantation. We have recently performed the country’s first adult swap liver transplantation
The Liver transplantation programme at Global Hospitals is headed by one of the foremost Liver Surgeons, Prof. Mohamed Rela, an acknowledged master in innovative surgical techniques; he is credited with many innovations & firsts in the liver disease management and transplantation apart from a Guinness Book of World Record for performing a liver transplant on a 5 day old baby.
Tell us about your financials. What is the outlook?
Till date we have infused capex of approximately Rs 700-800 crore. About
Rs. 270 crore was raised as debt, the rest of Rs 450-500 crore came from equity and from internal accruals. The group had also raised a Rs 130 crore funding from Everstone Capital about four years ago.
Our growth path is on track with our strategy. 
What is the shareholding pattern of Global Hospitals? Are you planning any stake dilution?
Global Hospitals is a closely held group and currently it has no plans to dilute the equity. The Group endeavour’s for an IPO in the next 3-4 years.
Would you be looking at inorganic growth?
While we will be pursuing both organic and inorganic growth as a strategy, we are also open to proposals of managing hospitals provided they are set up as per our benchmarks and are in locations that complement our growth strategy.
Healthcare at affordable cost has been spoken about a lot but not really seen in action. What are your thoughts on the same?
Investing on periodic technology up gradations to enhance quality of treatment with latest technologies, setting up state-of-the art infrastructure for the best of patient care and importantly very high land values impact the overall costs model, apart from certain expensive drugs especially for organ transplantation & oncology procedures.
As we move ahead in plugging the gap between the demand and supply, this would lead to an increase in volumes which in turn should influence a downward impact on the costs.

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