Affordable and accessible are the mantras for Columbia Asia, a chain of hospitals across India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia. In India, Columbia Asia has eight hospitals, typically 90-100 bed facilities at the value end.
CEO, Columbia Asia
Vision: To keep patients in hospital for the shortest possible period at a cost they can afford
Challenge: Different healthcare regulations in different states
Started in 2005, the community-based healthcare model targets the middle class and emerging towns. The intent, therefore, is to keep prices 15-20 per cent lower than what corporate hospitals in the metros charge. Columbia is able to do that by tightly monitoring the duration of stay and making efforts to keep it as short as possible driven, CEO Tufan Ghosh says, by investing in nursing care and technology.
The chain is funded by a closely-held Seattlebased investment fund comprising 150-odd investors - both individuals and organisations. As Columbia's focus is the non-metros, manpower availability is a key constraint that Ghosh foresees. Differing healthcare regulations in the states pose serious challenges. For instance, states such as Karnataka allow blood storage within the hospital, whereas in states like Punjab, Haryana and Delhi this is not permitted. Hospitals have necessarily to operate a full-fledged blood bank.
But the result is well worth the effort, as Ghosh looks for break-even in a year or two for each hospital.