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Stressed out? Try speciality clinics
Abhilasha Ojha |
November 08, 2004
Corporate life might bring home big bucks and a glamorous lifestyle, but sometimes it also comes with high stress levels and accompanying ill-health, which isn't nearly as attractive. Endless hours of work and high stress levels, which sometimes lead to an addiction to tobacco or alcohol, leave little time to think about one's health.
That's exactly why speciality clinics in India are stepping in: to make the lives of corporate executives simpler and more healthy. "Speciality clinics are definitely emerging as a trend in India because people today want dedicated services on their health issues without wasting much time," says Dr Bharat Inder Singh, chief administrator, Max Healthcare Centre.
Max has set up eight speciality clinics in New Delhi alone, and is looking at four multi-speciality hospitals and clinics in the NCR region by next year before moving on to other cities.
But why should one approach a speciality clinic when numerous hospitals already have similar departments? "It's simple. In a speciality clinic you get medical attention from experts under one roof whereas in a hospital you have to keep running from one department to another," says Dr Puroshottam Lal of Metro Clinics. "It's also cost-effective," he adds.
For instance, at Metro's anti-smoking clinic, which is popular with professionals, pulmonary tests, sessions with an expert panel of doctors and carbon monoxide evaluation tests cost around Rs 500. A follow-up would cost Rs 200. "The same tests in any hospital would cost at least Rs 2,500 because the consultation fees can be anywhere between Rs 500-700."
It is interesting to note the kind of health problems that these specialised clinics are tackling.
Metro Clinics has a clinic dedicated to those who suffer from headaches, diabetes and lifestyle disorders like alcoholism, smoking and stress.
At Max Healthcare, says Singh, "The idea of speciality clinics is to address problems that are critical to professionals in today's stressful scenario. Hospitals are still not equipped and, frankly, not even ready to acknowledge these issues. We are trying to bring specialists in different fields to jointly assess the patient and arrive at a timely diagnosis."
According to him, "It's the convenience of finding all related specialists and services under one roof, in an affordable package, that is attracting patients to these clinics."
Today, the range of Max Healthcare speciality clinics include Max Child Development Clinic, Max Adolescent Clinic, Max Quit Tobacco Clinic, a maternity programme, podiatry (footcare), a breast clinic, a spine clinic and also a chronic care programme for asthma.
Max Healthcare clinics have tie-ups with nearly 300 companies like Wipro, GE, Singapore Airlines, Indian Oil and Bajaj Reliance, where employees have access to special health packages at any of the Max clinics. "Our sports and lifestyle clinic is suited to those who work at 14-hour desk jobs," says Singh.
Instances of diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, cardio-vascular diseases and stress are increasing steadily, and at this clinic, Singh is confident that "many people will find answers to their problems."
A majority of programmes at specialised clinics include consultation, investigation and regular follow-ups with specialists. At Max's asthma clinic, for instance, patients are asked to first complete a detailed questionnaire to assess their asthma problems. Their entire drug and medication history is then stored and used in cases of emergency.
The patient is provided with a peak flow meter to monitor readings and a peak flow diary to monitor asthma symptoms regularly. Preliminary tests conducted include a chest X-ray, pulmonary or lung function tests and blood haemogram including ESR. Two weeks later, doctors review the record of the peak flow chart and the track result and proceed to prepare a "personalised asthma management plan".
The cost of this programme is Rs 3,950, spread over a period of three months. Similarly, a chronic care programme on hypertension comes with a special 50 per cent discount on two additional consultations throughout the year with the specialist. The programme includes consultation, investigation and regular follow-ups.
While Max Healthcare is focussing on consolidating its position in the NCR region before expanding to other cities, Apollo's boutique maternity centre, The Cradle, "is definitely going to expand to other cities" according to Varun Talwar, joint director, The Cradle.
Started by Dabur's Amit Burman and Talwar who invested nearly Rs 20 crore (Rs 200 million) in it, the place is definitely worth a look. There's state-of-the-art equipment that has been specially imported to India, like multi-positioning beds, high frequency ventilators and a dedicated neonatal ambulance with a neonatal transport ventilator and incubator.
Then, there are three retail outlets, which sell toys, knick-knacks, books and baby clothes as well as maternity wear. There's even a multi-cuisine restaurant and a play area for kids. "We have leading doctors, gynaecologists and paediatricians with us; that's why we have managed 50 deliveries in our first three months," says Talwar.
The Cradle has signed agreements with companies like HSBC, American Express and HCL Technology in association with insurance companies. Talwar is now busy working out deals, "directly, without involving insurance companies" with business houses and corporates for special packages that employees can choose from when they walk into The Cradle.
Deliveries at this centre can cost anywhere between Rs 40,000 and Rs 100,000 and with special packages starting soon, corporate executives will definitely find discounts here too. "We are targeting corporate executives and hopefully within a few months we'll have some special packages to announce," confirms Talwar, who expects to break-even within two years.