Mr Venkat Changavalli, Chief Executive, Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI) and Prof Stephen Smith, Chief Executive, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, gave examples of transforming healthcare delivery in India and the UK respectively, in a session moderated by Sir Mark Tully, author and former Chief of Bureau, BBC.
There were two versions of an honourable story at last night’s second Conversation with India. Two experts, Professor Steve Smith chief executive of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Venkat Changavalli, chief executive, Emergency Management India and Research Institute shared their insights and vision for healthcare provision in India and the UK.
The challenges facing an NHS trust in West London with a turnover in excess of a billion pounds may appear to be quite different to those faced when setting up a free emergency response service in India. The conversation however, revealed many similarities.
“Although India can learn some things from Britain, it’s also clear that Britain can and should learn lessons from India,” said Sir Mark Tully, author and former India BBC bureau chief. Sir Mark, who lives and works in India, moderated the conversation also said, “Developing innovative methods of healthcare has been a fundamental problem in India and solving this challenge is vital to the future growth of the country.”
Superficially the language and approach of the speakers was different, yet clear themes soon emerged in their dialogue. Innovation in the technical, organisational and medical spheres was discussed, as was the importance of a seamlessly integrated care programme. Both agreed on the need to establish a clear picture of service provision through measurement to inform future improvements.
In one of many interesting examples, Mr Changavalli explained how research data from this Response Centre was applied to improve methods and techniques. Through data analysis, EMRI was able to spot and remedy complications with respiratory patients. Oxygen that was being provided in the ambulance en route to the hospital was often not waiting when the patient left the EMRI ambulance. Unnecessary deaths were happening between the ambulance and the doctors. This information has been discussed with the 6,000 hospitals EMRI works with to help provide a more continuous service for patients, saving many lives.
Professor Smith explained his view of innovation, as a non-linear process, essential to improve patient outcomes. “We are trying to integrate research and medical discovery with treatment as quickly as possible and place the patient at the centre of care. We’re turning the medical model on its head and we’re interested to see where it will take us,” said Professor Smith.
Professor Smith and Mr Changavalli both acknowledged the significant barriers that they have had to challenge in their work. “It seems that professional vested interest is a problem in both countries,” said Professor Smith, who has introduced some 300 measures of performance at the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. Adding that healthcare globally was filled with thousands of people who really want to do good.
“We’re trying to create something that gives more than just great outcomes for the patient, we want every step along a their path to be an experience of excellence,” said Professor Smith.
Mr Changavalli, emphasised the importance of leadership and performance management in his organisation to ensure that the public money which supports 90% of its activities, is spent effectively and in an accountable way. EMRI is one of the world’s largest public private partnerships, aiming to save a million lives by 2010 and currently serving 147 million people. It is an important demonstrator of how to provide vital health care and value for money, through efficiency for developing and more developed nations.
Professor Gerry George, the director of the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, ended the evening explaining that the event is just one of the many ways the College is working to help reconnect with India in a more strategic fashion benefiting both partners. “We’re building on the success the establishment of the IIT Delhi in the 1950s and the relationship since then,” said Professor George.
Imperial College’s Faculty of Medicine has over 40 projects in India, Natural Sciences, specifically climate change research, is working with the Indian Ministry of Science and the Faculty of Engineering has a great track record in the country. The Centre aims to bring all these projects under one umbrella and to help partner all of Imperial College’s relationships with India. Its focus is innovation and entrepreneurship in five areas: health, the digital economy, energy, financial infrastructure and urban development.