Business Today

Benign care

A Bangalore-based speciality cancer hospital leans on its hub-and-spoke model to grow scale. And, yes, it offers interest-free EMI options, too.

Print Edition: March 21, 2010

Cancer treatment on a loan? Yes, that is precisely what it is for Ashish Mehta. Each month, the 26-year-old pays for an equated monthly loan installment, or EMI, of Rs 10,000 for the cancer treatment of his mother Jayshree Mehta. Her breast cancer is under control since April last year and she now only needs regular checkups at the HealthCare Global Hospital in Bangalore, which treated her and offered her son an interest-free EMI scheme for treatment.

HealthCare Global

FOUNDER: Dr B.S. Ajai Kumar

INNOVATION: Follow a hub-andspoke model. Treatment "spoke" centres take care of most of the needs of a patient, with Bangalore HQ evaluating patient records and planning treatment. Needy patients offered interest-free loans.

MODEL: Partnership with 160 oncologists, especially in outstation centres.

SCALE: Has 17 centres; targeting Rs 225 crore revenues in fiscal 2011.

A staggered payment option is not the only feature that makes HealthCare Global, or HCG, stand out among specialist cancer-care peers today. Unlike, say, Mumbai's Tata Memorial Hospital, HCG follows a hub-and-spoke model. Its main presence in Bangalore has 17 "spoke" treatment centres spread over Ranchi (Jharkhand), Siliguri (West Bengal), Hubli, Shimoga and Mysore (Karnataka), Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh), Cuttack (Orissa), Nashik (Maharashtra) and Erode in Tamil Nadu. It even has a centre in Dhaka.

"Cancer care is a prolonged treatment and this model enables nearhome treatment to patients," says Dr B.S. Ajai Kumar, HCG's Chairman & CEO. With the "spoke" centres equipped to handle 80-90 per cent of cancer care, including radiation, only very complicated cases get referred to the Bangalore ‘hub'. The scale of operations at these centres is also helped with HQ handling backend work such as detailed evaluation of patient reports and radiotherapy planning.

The benefit to the patient: He gets to go home while under treatment and not have to relocate to a new location for a long period. With a team of 350 oncologists working for it, HCG calls itself a doctor-driven initiative. Some of its centres have oncologists as partners with stakes in specially created SPVs (special purpose vehicles or entities) or in other cases some have a direct stake in HCG. Out of 350, around 160 are its partners. HCG is targeting revenues of Rs 160 crore this fiscal and Rs 225 crore for fiscal 2011.

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