Sunday, June 11, 2017

Winds of change - 26

(This is the twenty sixth part of a short story which is entirely a work of fiction.)

All the necessary changes in the hospital software were made over the next few days. All these changes would become applicable on the first of the next month. There was a lot of excitement in the hospital. Everyone was speculating on how things would go. Vasudha and Manav were extremely tense. They met multiple times every day to check how the preparation was going on. They decided to give some time for things to fall in place before constituting the Vigilance Team. They also decided to roll out the project on the first and then over the next few weeks, once everything got streamlined in the operations of the hospital, they could start the marketing. They did not want anything to affect the project in the initial days.

Vasudha visited the ashram and updated Swamiji about the plan. He was very happy that Vasudha had kept Sheshadri’s dream alive. He somehow had a good feeling about how Vasudha was implementing it. She blessed Vasudha and wished her the very best.

The first of the next month was finally there. Nothing visible changed in the workings of the hospital. Patients came, consulted the doctors, got their procedures and investigations as usual. Some were admitted and were then discharged. Things were going on as usual.

Vasudha and Manav met every morning to review the previous day’s numbers. Things seemed to be normal. Nothing much changed. No visible upward or downward trends were observed.

Now was time for the second phase of activities to begin. The Vigilance Team, the marketing campaign, the department committees and the Patient Satisfaction Surveys.

The main job of the Vigilance Team would be to scrutinise if doctors were referring patients elsewhere for investigations and procedures. Since doctors were on a fixed salary here, other hospitals could offer incentives on such things to get them done there rather than Narayana Hospital. Another aspect they would need to look into was if Medical Representatives were contacting doctors directly rather than through the hospital department committees.

Manav and Vasudha debated a lot about who should be a part of the Vigilance Team and how big it should be. They finally decided to hire a retired Army Doctor who was known to Vasudha. Major General (Retd.) Dr. Madhusudhan was about fifty years old, very fit and stayed in Hyderabad. He was very sharp and intelligent, had ethics that were above board and was looking for an opportunity to work somewhere in a role that fitted his profile. Vasudha talked to him and immediately got him on board. Once he joined, the three of them brainstormed on the composition of the rest of the team. They finally decided to make it a four member team including Dr. Madhusudhan. The other three members would be Management Graduates from the Admin team. Manav was assigned the responsibility of doing the co-ordination and identifying potential candidates. The final selection was left to Dr. Madhusudhan.

Vasudha and Manav also got in touch with the Marketing Agency they had identified. The team came down to Rajahmundry and had a day long meeting with the two of them to understand the requirement. They would go back to Bangalore and come up with a comprehensive marketing plan in a week.

Each Department was asked to come up with the committee that would interface with Medical Representatives. They were to pick one doctor from the department, one member from the Admin Team and one from the Vigilance Team.

Manav worked on the Patient Satisfaction Survey and made it very simple. There was only one mandatory question - “How likely are you to recommend Narayana Hospital to others?” to which patients had to respond on a scale of one to five stars. Rather than have an elaborate set of questions, he felt that asking one simple question would be a good indicator of patient satisfaction. There were other optional questions which asked for more details in case respondents gave a score of 1 or 2 stars.

This next phase was the most critical phase of the project. This was when all the cogs of the wheel would be in place and the real effect would start becoming visible.

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