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Pandemic necessitates prompt need for fungible infrastructure: Dilip Jose

Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Thursday, October 14, 2021, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has necessitated fungible infrastructure. This will enable hospitals to function as high dependency or intensive care unit (ICU) bedded facilities sometimes and go back to normal beds later. The need of the hour for healthcare providers is to adapt to demanding situations like emergency access to immediate medical attention like in the early days of the Covid-19 and its second wave, said Dilip Jose, managing director and CEO, Manipal Hospitals.

Fungible infrastructure enables interchangeability. “We are of the view that all healthcare providers need fungible infrastructure when patient load increases to provide critical or general treatment,” he added.

Another need is the digital capability of hospitals. Given the pandemic protocols where, with vaccinations, social distancing, masking and hygienic practices are expected to continue for the future, people too are not keen to travel longer distances to seek healthcare access. This is where the digital pathway with telemedicine and remote medical monitoring would be areas that that hospitals will have to factor in either by retrofitting whenever required or incorporating it in the design when new medical centres are constructed. This will enable faster adaptability and seamless working with technologies that call for digital adaptabilities, said Jose.

In order to achieve volume-driven growth by attending to an increasing number of patients, Manipal Hospitals too has chalked out forays into new locations including Delhi, Kolkata, Vizag and Hyderabad. It is also toying with the option to exploring its entry into Kerala. One of the reasons for entry into Kerala is its accessibility from Karnataka. “Therefore, given the opportunity in acquisitions, we would need to have an overall framework for such a plan.  However, the priority would be to enhance our presence in already existing locations,” he stated.  

In addition, India’s second largest hospital with 7,300 beds has currently three Greenfield facilities under construction for 750 beds to further strengthen its treatment access for patients considerably. With such expansions on the anvil, talent hiring is inevitable. There is a huge need to have a combination of the right pool of medical expertise with supporting qualified- trained healthcare teams of nurses and paramedics among others.

The company's priority is to see that the talent is nurtured and leveraged to enhance the services that each hospital of the network is able to deliver, he said.

Taking the inorganic growth path to accelerate faster reach, asset increase and additional skills expertise, Manipal early this year went on an acquisition spree buying out both Columbia Asia and Vikram Hospitals. “These were based on the need to cover larger geographies and to grow footprint to enhance the coverage of offerings to currently under-served areas,” noted Jose.


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