Celebrating the best at THE WEEK Best Hospitals Awards 2022

A lively panel discussion was also held on quality in health care

gallery-image Lauding the best: Delhi Lt Governor V.K. Saxena with former AIIMS director Randeep Guleria.
gallery-image Winners of THE WEEK Best Hospitals Awards 2022.
gallery-image An audience member asking a question.
gallery-image A panel discussion on quality in health care.

The pandemic has changed the way we look at our health. People have become hyper aware and are increasingly expecting quality health care from hospitals. And though initially found wanting, the health care sector in India did rise to the challenge of an ever-evolving virus. The technological advancements made post Covid-19 are set to change the way health care is being practised. As Lt Governor of Delhi V.K. Saxena, who was the chief guest at THE WEEK Best Hospitals Awards 2022, said, not everything that happened during the pandemic was bad. “Big innovations in health care technology and pharma industry happened during the period,” he said. But the challenge will be to make quality health care affordable.

“According to the World Health Organization, 5-8 million people die every year in lower- and middle-income countries due to poor health care,” said former AIIMS director Randeep Guleria, who was the guest of honour. “These deaths can be prevented if we are able to improve quality of health care. When we talk of improving health care, it has to be from primary health centres to tertiary care hospitals. Quality health care means ensuring safe, effective, timely, equitable, people-centric care and a culture of excellence in hospitals and [must be] linked with assured outcomes.”

And, it is on those very qualities and more that THE WEEK has been ranking the best hospitals in the country for 19 years. Saxena gave away the prizes to the best hospitals at the event, which also saw a panel discussion on ways to ensure quality.

One way of improving quality, said Dr Anupam Sibal, group medical director, Apollo Hospitals, was the accreditation system for hospitals. “Infection indices get better, average length of stay becomes less, communication and surgical errors reduce,” he said. “Accreditation leads to a culture of improvement.” He added that only technology could make health care more accessible.

Agreed Dr Santosh Shetty, executive director and CEO, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Mumbai, who said that technology was a key enabler to patient safety, reducing chances of error, improving diagnosis, reducing risk of complications and improving quality of life for patients. What, however, is lacking is collaboration with other hospitals. “Hospitals are wary of putting out data, fearing how they will be perceived by peers,” he said. “Unless we share with peers, there is no way we can improve.”

Dr Anand R., head (quality), Manipal Health Enterprises, said that accreditation standards need to evolve. “There is no homogeneity of data,” he said. “All hospitals have to send data to the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals…. How are they going to compare hospitals? Moreover, hospitals are wary of publishing data because of negative publicity. We need to create awareness… that if a hospital is facing a challenge, it is not a problem with the hospital. We need to accept errors.”

Dr Devlina Chakravarty, managing director of Artemis Global Life Sciences Limited, however, raised a valid point―if technology does not bring down the cost of health care, then it is a problem. “It is a double-edged sword,” she said. “We should adopt [technology], but [also see] how much the cost goes up. Yes, time is [reduced], queues are [shortened]. But we are importing technology. Unless we start making in India, we will not be able to bring down the cost of health care.”