Making Healthcare Affordable, Accessible, and Ubiquitous
Thursday, May 12, 2011
A small but growing band of companies wants to make healthcare affordable, accessible, and ubiquitous. Like the larger groups, their services are of a high quality, but costs are kept under a tight leash. With early models starting to scale, social investors are not the only ones being drawn to such companies.
For the rich, famous and pregnant living in Hyderabad’s upmarket Jubilee Hills, there is The Cradle, a high-end , luxury ’birthing centre’ recently launched by Apollo Hospitals . It’s a relatively new idea, at the top end of India’s booming private healthcare business. But the bigger innovations are happening at the other end of the economic spectrum , closer to the bottom of the pyramid. One such is unfolding at LifeSpring Hospitals in Chilkalguda , Secunderabad, less than an hour’s drive from Jubilee Hills.
Many of the city’s poor live in Chilkalguda. When their women go into labour, some head to Life-Spring. It is clean, airy and wellstaffed. Its rates for maternal deliveries and surgeries such as hysterectomies are displayed prominently on a board outside the general ward. Normal deliveries cost Rs 4,000, a fraction of what other private hospitals would charge. For poor patients, the rates are as much a source of comfort as the treatment itself.