Wockhardt and the Medical Big Leagues
On Monday, viagra 100mg 15 July, ailment the Wockhardt hospital at Panzorconi in Salcette, viagra 60mg got an NABH certification. NABH stands for the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals. This is the first hospital in Goa, South Maharashtra and North Karnataka to get the certification. What it means is that at last there is a private hospital with a definite standard of care. It will have qualified nurses, and technicians, the laboratories will be dependable, patients will be assured that they aren’t taken for a ride.
In Goa, by word of mouth one knows which doctor to trust and which ‘nursing home’ will not rip you off. Most often, the nurses aren’t well trained: in fact, they aren’t nurses at all, just women wearing white clothes. The consultant doctors have to monitor everything from bandaging to dispensing medicines. There are doctors from alternative branches of medicine such as homeopathy and Ayurveda handling patients in mainstream (allopathic) institutions.
The newer, slightly bigger than usual hospitals like Vintage, Vision, Vrindavan and Galaxy have taken the trouble to professionalise patient care, but costs and treatments often lack uniformity and transparency. Patients are left with many questions but few answers. Within how much time would a test be reported? Within how much time after admission will a consultant see the patient? Are all the registrars qualified in the subject of the patient’s ailment? Are all the nurses skilled enough? Bills must be itemised, clearly printed and easy to understand.
Patients’ rights and responsibilities must be available to the patients. The names of the doctors, their qualifications, the names of all staff on duty, timings, facilities available and their locations, must be readily available, too. Bills must be presented at reasonable intervals and the approximate cost of treatment told in advance.
With accreditation, transparency comes in and the patient (as consumer) can handle hospitalisation (the service) responsibly. The hospital that just won accreditation is run by the Wockhardt group, but owned by NUSI, the seafarers union. The Wockhardt Institute of Aesthetics is the first of its kind in Goa. Folks can have their tummies tucked in, their hips, outer thighs, flanks and buttocks reshaped, their noses/chins/eyelids shapelier, their jowls got rid of, their breasts made to suit the rest of their body… With that kind of expertise, it’s certainly possible for Wockhardt to use these facilities to help burn cases and other emergencies as well. Plastic surgeons and dermatologists are adept at handling all sorts of problems beyond aesthetics.
Wockhardt’s lobby has colourful brochures that educate patients on various conditions: hernia surgeries, high blood pressure and heart care, hip resurfacing and joint replacements. The hospital also has a urology centre with separate clinics for prostate problems, stones, cancer, andrology (antonym: gynaecology), blood in the urine, and pediatric urology. Reconstructive urology is also done; this, of course, is to help patients who have medical difficulties due to disease or malady, not for cosmetic reasons. The Casualty and ICU are well-equipped and yet to be used to the optimum.
I’m a fan of public hospitals, and GMC is a decent option for tertiary care. But there are many people in the state (and yes, tourists who would like to be here to get a new look, or perhaps some teethwork done) who are willing to pay for treatment if they get the great quality of a hospital like Wockhardt. It’s a ‘market’ (I hate this word to describe healthcare, but there, I’ve said it) to be tapped. Potential ‘customers’ looking for cataract operations are shopping around for more than a doctor with a good ‘hand’ (an Indianism that means skill and success rate): they want a comfortable and modern ambience, good airconditioning and blankets to combat the resultant temperatures. Customer service staff to carry their documents and stand in the queue to pay the bills. A menu for snacks and meals that will meet with the patients’ approval and the accompanying relatives’ also. Valet parking, follow up visit reminders… these are given weightage, too.
But behind the scenes, keeping medical records, generating error-free reports, doing work within a specified, reasonable amount of time, charging correctly and evenly, not based on place of origin of passport or income, are all important. Accreditation involves documentation. Following a fine-tuned system leads to reduction of errors. No patient wants to suffer because of a hospital staff’s mistake. Accreditation ensures (or at least drastically reduces) chances of human or systemic errors. That’s why this NABH certification of a private hospital in Goa is welcome.
Will it mean that the bills will increase? Market forces govern that. Time will tell. Until then, I’m just happy to note that Goa’s finally arrived in the Big League in medical care.