Lakeshore Hospital, Kochi
Hospital, Kochi is the result of the dreams of three ambitious Swiss NRIs. When
it started in 2000, with 150 beds, the hospital aimed at bringing healthcare
of international standards to the state and the market just proved to be perfect
that time. Today, the Hospital stands tall with 300 beds. "Healthcare at
the primary and the secondary level was already excellent in Kerala. But in
the tertiary level, Kerala faced severe deficiency for a long period of time.
The people behind Lakeshore Hospital aimed to fill this deficiency," states
Dr Philips Augustine, Medical Director.
have built a helipad at the top of the building to bring patients in critical
stages from the airport"
- Dr Philips Augustine
Lakeshore Hospital has a unique distinction of having air,
water and surface ambulance services. This rare combination of facilities has
placed the hospital in Limca Book of Records 2004. "The helipad at the
top of the building serves to bring patients in critical stages from the airport.
Water ambulance service is specially planned to cater to the small islands in
and around Kochi," informs Dr Augustine.
The Hospital has an ultramodern 350-seater auditorium with
facilities for live demonstration of operations and advanced endoscopic and
interventional radiology procedures from various operation theatres and endoscopic
suites. Lakeshore's ambulance is equipped for modern lifesaving emergency care.
"Concerned specialities at the Hospital are alerted in advance to ensure
immediate attention on the patient's arrival at the hospital," says Praveen
Kumar, Administrator, Lakeshore.
Lakeshore Hospital, like its many counterparts in Kerala,
is now concentrating on medical tourism which is projected to be a $2.3 billion
industry by 2012. "There is a steady increase in patient referrals from
physicians and surgeons from far and wide. This indeed has encouraged us to
venture into the upcoming area of medical tourism offering world-class healthcare
at fraction of a cost to overseas patients," says Dr Augustine. In fact,
Lakeshore is associated with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and
the Department of Tourism. The Government of Kerala is spearheading this emerging
The competition in Kochi to attract medical tourists is high
with each hospital collectively offering almost all the high technology treatments
that the health tourists will need. As health tourism gains momentum in the
coming years, the existing hospitals are compelled to bring their professional
and technological levels closer to international levels.
To stay ahead in the race, Lakeshore has many strategies
and special packages in place especially in cardiology, neurology and urology.
And its strategies seem to have worked. In 2003, Lakeshore provided inpatient
treatment to patients from 10 countries. In 2004, the number of foreign inpatients
had doubled and patient flow was from 17 countries and in 2005 the patient flow
was from 22 countries and the patient total showed an increase of a whopping
75 per cent compared to 2004. Their foreign patient clientele is mainly from
America, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kenya, Britain, Malaysia, Maldives, Australia, France,
Italy, Sweden, Oman, Chile, Bahrain, Canada, Finland, Yemen, Tunisia, Bangladesh,
Qatar, Libya and the Netherlands.
Also, the management feels it can't ignore the needs of the
local population. "We are conscious about cost containment for the people
of the state offering a 'slab system' for charges to make it affordable across
the various sections of society," comments Dr Augustine. So, Lakeshore
Charitable Trust has been registered and financial support would be offered
to the poor sections of the society from this year onwards. MA Yousaf Ali, Chairman
of the Hospital is personally spearheading this venture.
In its short history of three-and-a-half years, Lakeshore
has some creditable achievements, which include the first-ever live liver transplant
in the state, the first bone marrow transplant in a child, the first insulin
pump insertion in South India and the first liver dialysis in Kerala.
Lakeshore wants to escalate and position itself as a brand
meant for medical tourists in tandem with the local needs. "To ensure that
the relationship is mutually beneficial we would provide world-class medical
service to the customers, offer a single window operating system to our clients
with priorities in consultation, procedure etc. Lakeshore is also offering specialised
packages for foreign patients in cardiology, orthopaedics, dental, cosmetic
surgery, minimal invasive surgery and other health check-up programmes,"
says Dr Augustine.
Lakeshore is thus striving hard to maintain a key balance
between the locally global and globally local customers, who incidentally have
both become demanding.
Compiled by Nancy Singh