Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Winds of change - 1



It was nearing 9 o’clock. Vasudha Som was winding up her work. She wondered if Sheshu was done for the day. It had been a tiring day. She was dying to get back home. She called his extension.

“Are you done?”

“Just about. 5 minutes?”

“Sure. See you at the lobby.”

She picked up her bag and headed towards the lobby. She went towards the notice board kept in the lobby. She saw the poster about their new Master Health Checkup and wondered if they could create flyers and distribute them as newspaper inserts. People must get to know about this. Her eye caught Seshu walking towards her.

They both headed towards the entrance. Sheshu called the driver and asked him to bring the car to the entrance of the hospital. As they were getting into the car, Sheshu got a call on his cell phone. He was needed back in the ICU. The 64 year old patient from Polavaram was deteriorating.

“Shit! I need to go to the ICU. You get dropped home and send Murali back.”

Vasudha nodded and acknowledged.

Dr. Sheshadri Som, Chairman and Chief Medical Officer of Narayana Hospital rushed back to the ICU.

Along with Vasudha, his wife of seven years, who was an MBA from IIM Bangalore, Dr. Som had setup Narayana Hospital about three years back. She took on the role of CEO. It quickly became one of Rajahmundry’s top hospitals. It was a 250 bedded hospital and had some really good doctors who helped establish this as the go-to destination for quality healthcare in the region.

The choice was between setting up a hospital in one of the Tier 1 cities like Hyderabad or picking a smaller place like Rajahmundry which had only a few good hospitals. After a lot of consideration, they picked Rajahmundry because they felt that the bigger cities had enough options and they would end up being one among the many options for patients. In Rajahmundry, they could bring good care to people who had fewer options. Also, Rajahmundry was Dr. Som’s home town. He wanted to do something in this region.

Dr. Som gave up his job at one of Hyderabad’s top corporate hospitals where he was a Nephrologist. Vasudha quit her job as Strategy Consultant at a consulting firm in Hyderabad. The couple chose not to have kids until they settled down. The decision to quit high-paying jobs and plunge into a future, uncertain and risky was not easy by any means. Friends and family dissuaded them. Both of them however, had an itch to do something from scratch. They felt that if they did not venture out at that time, it would never happen. The biggest advantage was, if things did not work out, they could always return to regular jobs.

They finally took the plunge, raised some money from their family and friends, put in their own savings and started the hospital in April 2012. They got some good doctors to join the team. To help manage the hospital well on the administrative side, they got some good MBAs with experience in healthcare to join them.

Dr. Som got home after midnight. Vasudha was working on some Excel files with revenue figures of the month. They had dinner together and went to bed. By 8 am, the next morning, they were both at the hospital back to work.

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