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December 10, 2007

McHospitals

Business Today has an interesting article on how healthcare firms are responding to newer consumer needs with innovative formats.
The Cradle is a high-end model where people come and pay for the experience. Just like Gayathri, 28, who recently delivered her child at The Cradle in Bangalore. She and her husband, R. Venkateshan, an engineer with Accenture, chose The Cradle because, as he says: “We opted for this place mainly to undergo the experience. It’s very homely here and of international standards.” His corporate insurance took care of the bills.

Typically, a Cesarean section delivery costs about Rs 80,000 at The Cradle. That’s not too much if you consider the facilities. The place hardly looks like a hospital with its bright colours, no visiting hours, a cake shop, private birthing suites, and all-in-one labour, delivery and recovery room equipped with imported Hill-Rom beds that cost around Rs 10 lakh and can perform many tasks—for instance, it has drawers fitted with infant monitors. In the nine months of its existence, the hospital has handled 382 deliveries and most mothers have returned home with their babies within 48 hours. "We do not see the need for a longer stay, unless there is some complication. Ours is a western way of recovery. We have 70-80 per cent occupancy and we get all kinds of people ranging from housewives to wives of bureaucrats and politicians and MNC professionals," says Dr R. Kishore Kumar, The Cradle MD, and a neonatologist.

...As a recent Technopak study (healthcare outlook) points out: "While hospitals will continue to be the mainstay of treatment for episodic acute care, we see a fundamental shift in the nature, mode and means of delivery." And its study of the trends abroad suggests that the way forward would only be in formats that range from retail healthcare, day-care centres, assisted living formats, rehabilitation centres to even medical malls!

Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of information and networking services to the private equity and venture capital ecosystem in India. View free samples of Venture Intelligence newsletters and reports.