Bomi Bhote, CEO of the renowned Ruby Hall Clinic in Pune, is committed to creating medical facilities that are at the cutting edge of healthcare. In conversation with Dhanishta Shah
What started in 1959 as a small nursing home with two beds, under founder chairman Dr. K.B. Grant, an eminent cardiologist, is today a 750-bed hospital, well known not only in Pune, but all over the country and many parts of the world.
The Grant Medical Foundation’s Ruby Hall Clinic is an internationally renowned multi-speciality hospital. Ruby Hall Clinic is Pune’s first NABH accredited hospital and blood bank and has received NABL accreditation for its pathology laboratory. The hospital’s special achievements include paediatric cardiac surgery, bone marrow transplant, liver transplant and cadaver transplant. What’s more, it has expanded to include two other branches under its wing (with a fourth one coming soon) and several outreach centres in the surrounding rural areas.
We have a heart-to-heart conversation with CEO, Bomi Bhote on his role in steering the hospital to these great heights and his plans for the future.
Tell us about your early education and career.
Initially I did engineering and then went on to study management. For a few years I worked with the Tata Group. Finally, family bonds pulled me here. For the last 20 years I have been at the helm of this hospital. When I took up the reins we were a 175-bed hospital and today we have 750 beds. We have a branch at Hingewadi and Wanowrie. In addition, we have 24 diagnostic centres.
You are due to visit Kenya with the PM for a health care summit. Can you tell us about that?
That is right. I am part of the delegation that will be visiting Kenya with the Prime Minister. We are signing an MOU where we will assist the Kenyans in setting up health care facilities.
Ruby Hall Clinic has been recognised as ‘The Best Indian Hospital for Medical Tourism’ by the Ministry of Tourism. In fact, you also have a separate branch at Wanowrie that caters to this segment. Could you tell us a bit more about it?
Over the years we have had a lot of patients of foreign origin. Through experience, we have realised that there is a requirement for these patients to be treated separately. Indian hospitals are really crowded, as is the country itself. When a foreigner comes here, the first thing that scares him is the crowds. The hospital at Wanowrie is a boutique hospital. Here, they feel comfortable. There is a growing demand for a different kind of medical treatment where there is more comfort offered. Even the food in this hospital is international. Some of our nurses also speak different languages. Our staff goes to Bombay airport to pick up the patients. So it is all about also creating an environment where they feel at ease. At this particular branch, we have not only foreigners, but also a lot of Indians who may be high networth individuals. It is luxury healthcare.
What do you think makes India ideal for medical tourism?
Most people realise that a majority of professionals in the medical field worldwide are Indians. Moreover, Indian hospitality is unmatched. Our hospitals are not priced as high as many other international ones. Hospitals here are thus not only cheaper but offer the same technology. We offer the perfect combination of talented doctors and state-of-the-art technology.
The hospital has established itself as one of the leading multi-speciality hospitals in the country. How do you manage to balance quality with costs?
It is a big challenge. But then, our systems are strong. I am a strong system oriented person. Everything will fall in line, if the systems are strong. There is a quality certification called NABH and we have been awarded five certifications. The Wanowrie hospital is a green rated one. Our operation theatres are all green rated as well. Quality is something which is extremely important to us as is technology. I am an engineer at heart and have a passion for technology. I am always on the look-out for the latest equipment. We had image guided radio-therapy before most other international hospitals. We brought in laparoscopic surgery in three- dimension much before other hospitals in the country.
Setting up a liver transplant facility in the hospital was another such step forward. So we strive to get the latest and best equipment. We are also quite techno-savvy. We have received an award from the Government of Maharashtra for the best mobile app. We take cues and learn from our patients and well-wishers and the comfort of our patients is the main point of consideration. Our dialysis centre has lounges, is wi-fi enabled, and has TV and movies so that the hours pass by quickly.
The physiotherapy unit is a high-end gym. You can walk around here and make sure that you never get the smell of medicine. Also, confidentiality of patients treated for free is maintained. No other hospital does this.
What has the hospital done in the area of preventive health?
Preventive health is indeed important. We hold lectures, talks, and awareness programmes on infectious diseases for both corporate and public gatherings. We conduct camps and go to schools and talk to the teachers and students. There are many diseases that need to be talked about since they are rising at an alarming rate. Diabetes is one such key area. We talk about food and exercise. Even in the hospital building, we have informative boards put up everywhere.
The Trust and the Hospital are also known for their philanthropic ventures. Tell us about them?
We were in the news recently for conducting heart surgery for a young girl, Vaishali Yadav, completely free of cost. She had written to the Prime Minister about her condition, and we got a call from the PM’s office. We immediately did the surgery and now we are also sponsoring her education. But that’s just one example. We handle about 20 crores of charity cases every year, but never really talk about it.
Do you feel that today’s health care consumers have different expectations than in the past?
Today’s patient is well-informed. It is really good in a way. Everyone keeps up to date on the net, and they are demanding. But yes, we should also remember that a little information is a dangerous thing.
A lot of press has been generated about immoral practices in the medical profession. What is your take on this and what are the safety measures that you have employed?
There are two things to it. Let me give you an example. The press is often critical of the police but are all cops bad? We have done over 1500 kidney transplants. We always do due diligence before each transplant. Over the years, it’s the cost of success. Your conscience has to be clear and your documents as well!
Which areas of healthcare in India need improvement?
There is tremendous scope. The government needs to stop wasting money. Just get every single person insured! Convert the government-run hospitals into public-private partnership models. If the government wants to sort out healthcare, medical insurance for all is the solution.
You have been awarded the best CEO for the quality management system at Ruby Hall.
Knowing that I have the power to create facilities that can save lives and cure diseases gives me a great deal of satisfaction. I always tell our doctors and nurses that they belong to the noblest profession in the world. They work to save lives. The money they make does not compensate for this.
How do you keep yourself updated with the latest developments in the field?
I always encourage all our doctors to travel and attend conferences. Most of our consultants have a national and international presence. Whenever they go and attend a seminar or conference abroad I get them to give me feedback. That’s the way to keep pace with technology.
Where do you feel our health care system is heading?
It is moving at a fast pace. Food and health will never see a decline. The kinds of innovations in technology we see today in the field are phenomenal. Growth will catalyse quality. Nobody wants to compromise on quality in health care.
What are your hobbies and what do you like to do in your free time?
I want to find myself a hobby and free time! But yes, whenever I am free, my wife and I visit our farmhouse. I indulge in gardening while she loves bird watching.
What is your vision for the hospital?
We are constantly expanding. We currently have 750 beds and, in the next five years, we plan to have 1200. We are also opening a fourth hospital. We are not looking pan India, but only around Pune. Our name and reputation are already established here. We do get lots of offers to open up all over the country but we are in the right zone right now.