Corona Corner

Post-Covid World: Hospital Management Sees New Horizons

Like public relations, hospital management is gradually emerging as a new management tool. Many students are taking interest in it and are pursuing courses in the subject in various management institutes

Kolkata: On August 24, 2018, I was at Apollo Hospitals, Jubilee Hills, for interaction with Sangita Reddy, Joint MD of Apollo Hospitals. After our talks, I saw her in an important meeting with some of her staff members. They were discussing a critical issue. Without lines across her forehead, with a smile on her face, she solved the matter. Never did Sangita impose herself on subordinates. The officers went back to work with content. It was an example of good hospital management during the pre-Covid days.

Ever since the pandemic wreaked havoc, Sangita Reddy never lost patience. She took care of her hospital’s administration nationwide, ensured the best of healthcare for patients and produced a corona guide book that provided ample knowledge about the dreaded disease and how to cure it. Only recently when she suffered from corona, she underwent cocktail therapy to cure it. The dynamic mademoiselle in a series of tweets kept on conveying messages of encouragement that were appreciated.

Sangita Reddy is just one example of how someone manages hospital officers and healthcare with benevolence. There are umpteen other personalities like Dr Satendra Katoch, Dr G Chandrasekhar and Dr Sujit Kar Purkayastha who are enlightening people day to day about hospital management. However, their areas are limited to corporate hospitals which are large in size and stature. Dr Ranvir Guleria, Dr AK Rana Singh and Dr Subhasish Kamal Guha are bright hospital managers from government healthcare.

Like public relations, hospital management is gradually emerging as a new management tool. Many students are taking interest in it and are pursuing courses in the subject in various management institutes. Legendary physician of Kolkata late Dr Sital Ghosh defined hospital management rightly. According to him, hospital management encompasses every arena of a running hospital. From healthcare to marketing to finance issues dealing to maintain best of relations with patient parties, media and government form the core of hospital management felt Dr Sital Ghosh.

During his heydays, there were very few corporate hospitals. The true seeds of hospital management were sown much earlier in government hospitals. In all fairness, management in government hospitals is at a mammoth scale and more difficult than in corporate hospitals. Dr B Pratap Reddy an ex-top medical practitioner of Mahatma Gandhi Hospital of Hyderabad is suffering from cancer. Yet based on his vast experience, he agrees that government hospital management combines rigor, selfless caring mentality and understanding as well as solving the needs of countless. They include the medical fraternity of the hospital, ward boys and sweepers, attendants and the masses who flock to government medical centers for treatment. Throughout his career, Dr Reddy followed these norms.

Management in government hospitals is surely more challenging than in corporate ones. Corporate hospitals are well structured and possess the best medical equipment and techniques. These cater to a wealthier class as the general public hospitals function with an elite class view.

Many of them are notorious for charging excessive rates from patients. This disturbs hospital patient relations and often leads to unpleasant situations. The West Bengal Clinical Establishment Act, 2017, has been successful in reigning corporate hospitals of the state.
Not that government hospitals don’t falter. Wrong treatment, neglect of patients, lack of timely approach by staff to deal with crisis ails many of our government hospitals. Besides, it is really difficult to get admission in government hospitals as the number of patients is far higher than the beds available.

The majority of patient parties cannot go for high-level government recommendations to admit patients to government hospitals. Not all hospitals of the government sectors are well equipped to tackle the critical disease.

The main differences between government and corporate hospital management are government hospitals cater to a larger target audience and face more crises. Frequent strikes by medical staff at government hospitals are a sign of wrong hospital management. Doctors and Paramedical staffs are very different segments compared to factory workers.

Medical personalities are manhandled by outsiders and also have grievances. They are going on strikes hamper daily healthcare badly. Patients remaining unattended are an unpardonable crime. Proper hospital management should tackle such issues amicably instead of stopping healthcare activities.

Like Apollo, Gangaram, CMC Vellore, AIIMS, Chandigarh PGIMER and SSKM are well equipped in every aspect. Management institutes having hospital courses should focus on specialties in the subject with proper distinguishing of activities in government and corporate hospitals.

Instead of flying kites of theories students should visit hospitals of both criteria for practical training. Hospital management has a glorious future that can give new dimensions to humanity as well. Reputed universities give recognition to hospital management courses in institutes based on the merits of the curriculum.

Ranjan Das Gupta

is a Kolkata-based independent journalist. He has been doing freelance work for more than 3 decades and writes on arts & culture, cinema, politics, healthcare and education

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