January 22, 2014 | When the renowned Indian heart surgeon Dr. Naresh Trehan opened “Medanta – The Medicity” – a multispecialty medical complex – in 2009, he aimed to set new standards for the quality of healthcare in India while making medical services more widely accessible.
To see how he achieved his aims, watch a video portrait on “Medanta – The Medicity” and read an interview with Dr. Naresh Trehan.
Dr. Trehan, what is the concept underlying Medanta?
Dr. Naresh Trehan: Medanta offers people in India top-quality medical services – with the most up-to-date technology and a staff of world-leading healthcare professionals. We combine, among other things, traditional Indian herbal medicine with the innovative discoveries of advanced pharmacology. This enables us to provide people with the best healthcare possible – regardless of their social and economic status.
How would you assess Medanta’s development today, four years after its inauguration?
Medanta’s development has been outstanding in every respect. We’ve increased the number of beds from 400 to nearly 1,500. Our technical equipment ranges from the most advanced X-ray systems to innovative linear accelerator technology for cancer treatment. As a result, our healthcare offerings are now at the highest level. But we’re still working to continuously improve.
How can you offer outstanding medical services and access to affordable healthcare at the same time?
In the U.S., a coronary artery bypass operation costs about US$40,000. In Europe, the figure is around US$25,000. At Medanta, the same operation costs less than US$4,000. We can provide the operation at that price because labor costs in India are lower and because we work much more productively than our colleagues in the West. In India, heart surgeons perform an average of more than 600 operations a year – in some cases, up to six times the number performed by their counterparts in other countries. Our advanced medical technology solutions from Siemens and our optimized IT infrastructure are further key factors.
What are the challenges facing healthcare in India?
Our situation – like so many others in India – is paradoxical. On the one hand, we have outstanding hospitals that attract large numbers of patients from abroad. India has taken a leading position here, and I’m naturally very pleased about that. But on the other hand, although our services cost only about a tenth or a twentieth of what they do in the West, they’re still not affordable for the majority of India’s people – particularly those in rural areas.
What are you doing to master this challenge?
At Medanta, we’ve made world-class medical treatment affordable for more people. And we’ve launched the “Healthy and Educated Village Program” to foster healthcare and medical expertise outside the cities. We’re training personnel to provide medical treatment and education in villages, and we operate a mobile clinic to serve rural areas. Siemens has provided us with cancer diagnostic equipment. We use it to examine people in rural areas free of charge and refer them, when necessary, to local hospitals. In my opinion, access to medical services in India has improved considerably in the last five years. I’m confident that, within the next ten years, we’ll be providing up to 50% more patients with access to high-quality healthcare.
Why did you decide to partner with Siemens?
I have a high regard for the quality of the company’s medical systems and its services. It’s unbeatable. We’re 100% certain that Siemens’ products won’t let us down. I also have a high regard for the company’s character. When Siemens wants to sell us something, they send one person. But when it’s a question of providing services, they send us four. And I appreciate that very much. In addition, the company gives us opportunities to cooperate in joint research projects to develop technologies that meet our requirements – also in terms of cost.