A vision for change: ophthalmology and access to affordable eye care in India


Over half of the world's population lacks access to basic healthcare.[1] Tackling this problem requires more than mere structural changes in the way we provide care, explains Aravind Srinivasan, MD, and Chief Medical Officer at the Aravind Eye Hospital in Chennai. Together with Christoph Zindel, member of the Managing Board at Siemens Healthineers, he describes the success of one man’s vision and strategies to significantly expand access to eye care in India.

Blindness was once a major problem for people in India. The issue stemmed from a lack of access to care in the early stages of ophthalmological complications. In 1976, Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy opened the first Aravind Eye Hospital. His vision was to streamline care and make it more affordable while keeping the quality of care at a premium. Since its founding, the Aravind Eye Care System (AECS) has expanded vastly and now provides care for more than 55 million patients across India. That legacy continues under the leadership of today’s guest.

In this episode, Christoph Zindel, member of the Managing Board at Siemens Healthineers speaks with Aravind Srinivasan, MD, and Chief Medical Officer at the Aravind Eye Hospital in Chennai. He is a cataract surgeon and expert in ophthalmology at Aravind Eye Care System. His focus is on management, innovation, and mentoring, with a focus on evaluating and interpreting the performance of each division of AECS.

Aravind Srinivasan shares the organizational mission and belief that if treatment exists, then there’s no reason for people to suffer blindness needlessly. By streamlining and standardizing their care provision processes, Aravind Eye Care System has helped countless people gain access to treatment. Today, we’ll hear about the personal motivation that helped to build the system, and learn how it is applied across India and what it takes in terms of the experience and personal drive to support a system that enriches the lives of many people.

Listen to our latest episode here.

Vision for the world: How Aravind improves access to eye care for millions

Read this paper to discover the factors that drive Aravind's success and enable them to examine 14,000 patients and perform 1,600 surgeries daily. It also looks at how they transform care delivery and reflects on how these principles can be applied by other care providers.

[1] https://www.who.int/news/item/13-12-2017-world-bank-and-who-half-the-world-lacks-access-to-essential-health-services-100-million-still-pushed-into-extreme-poverty-because-of-health-expenses

The statements by Siemens Healthineers customers described herein are based on results that were achieved in the customer’s unique setting. Since there is no “typical” hospital and many variables exist (e.g., hospital size, case mix, level of IT adoption) there can be no guarantee that other customers will achieve the same results.