FUJIFILM’s Photo Archiving & Communications System (PACS) revolutionizes medical imaging

FUJIFILM’s Photo Archiving & Communications System (PACS) revolutionizes medical imaging
Submitted by editor on November 9, 2009 – 20:00

FUJIFILM India Pvt. Ltd., the wholly owned subsidiary of FUJIFILM Corporation, one of the largest medical systems company in the world, today announced that it has won the much coveted 2009 India excellence in Healthcare Award instituted by Frost & Sullivan. FUJIFILM was declared as the best multinational PACS Company of the year. FUJIFILM India also announced that it has bagged orders from 10 hospitals across the country for its revolutionary SYNAPSE brand of PACS system.

Large hospitals where SYNAPSE PACS has been implemented successfully include names of repute like Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences (SSSIHMS), Bangalore, Karnataka; Sagar Hospitals, Bangalore, Karnataka; Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences (SSSIHMS), Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh; Institute of Liver & Biliary Sciences (ILBS), Delhi; Primus Super Speciality Hospital, Delhi; Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute & Research Center, Delhi; and Pushpanjali Crosslay Hospital, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh.

According to Mr. Kenichi Tanaka, Managing Director, FUJIFILM India, “The success of SYNAPSE PACS further exemplifies FUJIFILM Corporation’s long term commitment in the healthcare arena. Buoyed by the response, we intend to launch new products & solutions such as Digital Radiography, FFDM, and 3D Image processing SW etc., into the Indian market in the days to come.”

“Medical images can be stored electronically and viewed on screens, so that doctors and other health professionals can access the information and compare it with previous images at the touch of a button. These images can be shared between health professionals across locations over an advanced communications system. It circumvents the delays & cancellations because of patient’s images not being available, lost or misplaced during transit, deterioration in quality over time etc.,” elucidates Mr. Suhas Pokale, Country General Manager, FUJIFILM India Pvt. Ltd.

For the past 100 years, film has been almost the exclusive medium for capturing, storing, and displaying radiographic images but it is a fixed medium with usually only one set of images available. FUJIFILM’s PACS technology allows for a near filmless process, with all of the flexibility of digital systems. It also eliminates all costs associated with hard film and releases valuable space currently used for storage.

For patients as well as the radiographer, even the amount of exposure to radiation gets reduced because fewer images need to be repeated using this technology. What’s more, patients do not have to wait for long for results which also ensures speedier move to the next point of treatment or discharge. Privacy is guaranteed as access to patient’s digital images is rights-based i.e. what they’ll be able to see shall depend on their role and involvement in patient’s care. For example, a consultant will be able to look at a patient’s digital images because they are a clinical care provider, whereas a receptionist may not be able to view clinical information. The images are stored in highly secure database systems.

Since the images are digital in nature, they are more reliable. Unlike film, there are no black spots on images due to bad light. FUJIFILM’s SYNAPSE PACS allows for flexible viewing with the ability to manipulate images on screen enabling better analysis. Moreover, instant access to historic images and patient records facilitates comparison of images (old and new) and thus the measuring of the effectiveness of treatment or the development of patient’s condition.

As a result of electronic requesting, radiographers have all the necessary information available to them in digitalized format. As a result, investigation is appropriate to the request and safer for the patient – misinterpretation of what is handwritten has become a thing of the past. Information only needs to be entered into the system once. This reduces some of the administrative tasks currently undertaken by radiographers, thereby freeing up time to focus on caring for the patient. The ability to manipulate images once they are taken means that radiographers can zoom in on areas of interest to ensure adequate information has been captured, which can then be passed on to the relevant clinician.

Besides, FUJIFILM’s SYNAPSE PACS contributes to a better working environment, as the lack of film processing will result in a quieter and chemical free workspace. Health and safety issues arising out of chemical processing get addressed automatically. It has been observed that patients feel more engaged and better informed when they can see their images on screen, leading to better quality consultations between them and the doctor. Not to forget the fact that PACS frees up valuable space within a hospital as storage rooms will no longer be needed for films. For the hospital, it results in substantial savings as patients are processed more quickly with fewer delays and cost of film and processing chemicals comes down to zero.

Web News Wire Reference

Providing Hope And Healing To Heart Patients

Providing Hope And Healing To Heart Patients
Dr Michael Nobel, chairman of the Appeal of the Peace Prize Laureats Foundation, had said, ‘I have never seen anything like this on earth. It is a wonderful feeling, far removed from the national healthcare in the West, which does not seem to work very well. The impressive thing about the hospital created by Bhagwan Sathya Sai Baba is the combination of the three aspects: state-of-the-art technology, free medical treatment and the healing powers of his presence instilling in the patient the firm belief that he or she will get well.’

The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences’ super-specialty hospital in Whitefield, near Bangalore, offers free heart surgeries to people from all walks of life. Till date this hospital has conducted nearly four lakh surgeries, according to hospital staffers, who point out that there is no billing counter here.

The hospital’s mission is to ‘provide high quality medical care absolutely on a no cost basis to all irrespective of caste, creed, religion, and financial status in an overall spiritual environment which recognises the patient as a human being and not as a diseased entity’.

Each and every patient receives the same treatment
The hospital is situated on a sprawling 53-acre complex. A large number of patients, young and old, rich and poor, get their heart problems treated free of cost. Some treatments would cost Rs 4 lakh in other medical facilities.

Y Arvind, manager of public relations at the Sri Sathya Sai Baba Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, says that the list of patients is endless. ‘We have patients throughout the day and I must tell you that we are proud of our waiting list. We meet every patient and we never promise what we cannot deliver. But we only deliver the best here. The doctors meet and evaluate each and every patient who comes here. The cases are taken up for treatment depending on their urgency,’ he added.

Every patient receives the same treatment here, free-of-cost. ‘The idea is that each patient is at the same level and if you do not pay for your treatment, then everyone is on par,’ explains Arvind proudly.

The hospital runs on donations from various philanthropists and devotees
The hospital is equipped with a fully automated information system which takes care of the patient data. The hospital also maintains a manual record of the data.

The super specialty hospital, with a built up area of 3,54,000 sq feet, houses 333 beds, eight operation theatres, six intensive care units, two cardiac cath labs and a 24-hour emergency unit. This state-of-the-art hospital, with a dedicated team of expert doctors, is also remarkable due to its Indo-Saracenic architecture and magnificent gardens.

How does the hospital dispense free medical treatment to so many patients? All the funds for the hospital come from the medical trust, which in turn receives the money in the form of donations from various philanthropists and devotees of Sathya Sai Baba. Arvind explains that on an average, the hospital authorities spend Rs 50 lakh a month on surgeries, treatment, maintenance cost and staff salary.

Not medical counseling, but patient counseling
‘We are able to manage this thanks to resource optimisation. For example, we don’t waste paper. It is compulsory for anyone using a note to use both sides of it and not throw it away after writing on only one side,’ Arvind explained.

The doctors have been instructed not to conduct medical counseling, but to conduct patient counseling for every patient. The doctors draw up an emotional profile of the patient to figure out the route of his emotional imbalance. This understanding helps the doctors in keeping their patients calm, and studies have proven that a calm mind helps heal a patient better.

Sri Sathya Sai Baba‘s first initiatives in the field of medical care began with the Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital, Prasanthi Nilayam, which was inaugurated on October 4, 1956 as a 12-bed facility for serving the poor in Puttaparthi and the surrounding villages.

Free healthcare to all patients
The initiative was aimed at giving free healthcare to all the patients seeking treatment at the hospital. Soon, the hospital began to attract patients from all across Anantapur, adjoining districts and other states. Over the years, the SSSGH grew from a single room dispensary to a sizeable general hospital with 90-bed capacity, treating patients suffering from various aliments. The Out Patient Department in the hospital now handles nearly 600 patients daily on an average.

In 1976, a second hospital, Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital, Whitefield was inaugurated by Sri Sathya Sai Baba in Bangalore. He also founded the Sri Sathya Sai Medical Trust in September 1991, to set up super-specialty hospitals to provide quality medical care to needy patients irrespective of caste, creed and religion.

State-of-the- art medical care
The first venture of the Sri Sathya Sai Medical Trust, towards providing high-tech tertiary medical care, was in the form of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Puttaparthi in November 1991. The institute provides state-of-the-art tertiary medical care absolutely free of cost to all those who came to its portals. This super specialty hospital treats diseases related to cardiology, urology and ophthalmology.

After the success of the super specialty venture in Andhra Pradesh, the government of Karnataka wanted Baba to start another super specialty hospital in Bangalore and offered 53 acres of land to build a super specialty hospital in its suburbs. The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Bangalore was inaugurated on January 19, 2001.

Rediff News Reference

Twin Towers Of Healing

Sathya Sai Baba And The Twin Towers Of Healing

Sathya Sai Baba And The Twin Towers Of Healing


Twin Towers Of Healing
by Dr. A.N. Safaya
Sanathana Sarathi Special Edition

Desire to have knowledge about the Divine and its manifestations including the phenomenon of life in the living has been in the human mind since the beginning of human intellectual evolution. Along side it, there has been the urge for the practice of the art of healing the afflictions and injuries of the human form. The two have been together since eternity. The Vedas, which present the most ancient documentation on spirituality, amply exemplify the togetherness of thoughts on Divinity and the art of healing.

The Principles of Arogya
It is therefore but natural that Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba emphasised the importance of human body and mind remaining in a state of good health to achieve the desired results when He initiated the Sai Seva Mission for the service of mankind. Advocating the importance of the awareness of Divinity and the practice of the principles of spirituality, He emphasises the need for the prevention of bad health and avoiding unhealthy personal hygiene and unhealthy lifestyle. Every now and then, Bhagavan keeps on laying stress on the observance of good and healthy principles of personal hygiene, food, nutrition, and healthy lifestyle.

Bhagavan advocates the golden principles of Arogya (absence of ill health). Seva Dal volunteers of Sri Sathya Sai Samithis all over the country are spreading the awareness of these principles effectively and diligently. Under this programme of awareness, society is going on a steady march, at grass root level, towards a state of positive health for its members. This is how Sai Health Mission took its first step towards Arogya with the message that it was the foremost duty of man to keep his body healthy.

Sri Sathya Sai General Hospitals
The second step in the direction of treatment of disease, once it had occurred, was the establishment of two Sri Sathya Sai General Hospitals, one at Prasanthi Nilayam and other at Whitefield, Bangalore. These two general hospitals look after the patients of all general ailments, conduct tests, give treatment, drugs and do surgical interventions completely free of charge. Nearly one crore patients have been benefited by the services of these two hospitals since their inception years ago.

Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Prasanthi Nilayam
The third step was to establish the twin towers of Sai Health Mission in the form of two Sri Sathya Sai Institutes of Higher Medical Sciences-one in Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh and the other at Whitefield, Karnataka.

On the occasion of His Birthday on 23rd November 1990, Bhagavan Sri Satya Sai Baba made a momentous declaration of establishing a Super Speciality Hospital in Puttaparthi for highly specialised treatment of diseases of heart, kidney and eyes. As a consequence of this Divine Sankalpa of Bhagavan, Institute of Higher Medical Sciences was conceptualised, planned and built in a record time of six months. It was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister of India, Sri P.V. Narasimha Rao on 22nd November 1991 and started functioning fully from that day. It has never looked back. Established in an architecturally and aesthetically beautiful building, which sits majestically in the centre of its sprawling lush green lawns, it lodges the specialities of cardiology, cardio-thoracic surgery, urology, ophthalmology, anaesthesiology, laboratory medicine, blood bank, bio-medical and general engineering services. The staff working in these departments is hand picked, well chosen with care and dedicated to the service of ailing patients. The equipment used in diagnosis and treatment of the patients is the latest and state of the art. All the parameters of functioning of the Super Speciality Hospital in all its branches are highly satisfactory and of international standard. It is highly popular, well renowned and well known all over the world, and is open for treatment to all, irrespective of the distinction of caste, creed, colour, religion or country. All the diagnostic investigations, laboratory tests and the treatment including surgery are done completely free of cost to one and all, rich and poor!

Service with Love and Humility
All this workload is shouldered by the hospital creditably and completely free of cost to the enormous number of patients it has served so far. All the treatment is given by the dedicated staff of doctors, nurses and technicians to each and every patient with humility and love, amidst spiritual environment, with the name of God on their lips. The hospital maintains very high standard of cleanliness, purity and discipline with the help of nearly 100 Seva Dal volunteers working round the clock.

Seva Dal volunteers are the dedicated devotees of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and come by turn from every State of the country under a laid down scheduled programme. They dedicate their Seva at the Divine Feet of Bhagavan Baba and work in the hospital in honorary capacity for varied intervals of time of few days to few weeks or months. This is an excellent example of community participation in the healthcare programme. Middle level management and the care of the equipment including its preventive maintenance is done by a group of Technical Officers who are highly skilled graduates and postgraduates from Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, a deemed university. Their dedication and diligence is responsible for nearly 100 per cent uptime of all the equipment of the Institute. This Institute of excellence has developed within typical rural environment and has been functioning in a purely rurai setting since its inception. Of course, now an airport and a railway station have come up in close proximity, a great boon for the patients and their attendants. Patients of concerned specialities come from all over the country and are examined fully. Urgent cases are given prompt medical attention and those who can wait are put on waiting list and are called when their turn comes. Attendants of patients have a dormitory facility with a canteen attached.

Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Whitefield
Bhagavan Sri Sathya SaiBaba’s infinite love and compassion for the suffering masses concretised in the establishment of yet another Super Speciality Hospital at Whitefield, Bangalore. It is, in fact, a second Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences. The Institute was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister of India, Sri Atal Bihari Vajpayee on 19th January 2001. It is functional since then. The Institute is situated in a fully developed urban-cum-industrial setting, in fact, next door neighbour being the world famous International Technology Park. The palace-like architecture of the huge hospital building is breathtakingly impressive. This white brilliant jewel of a building sits pretty in the emerald green lawns surrounding it. It lodges the super specialities of cardiac sciences and neurosciences with all of their necessary support services. It has a bed strength of 333 which is looked after by highly dedicated, well qualified and experienced staff. Like the Institute of Higher Medical Sciences at Prasanthi Nilayam, this Institute also gives international standard treatment to its patients for the diseases of heart and brain completely free of charge. Patients are served by the staff, doctors, nurses and technicians with love, understanding and sympathy in keeping with Bhagavan’s principles of loving selfless service.

The hospital is equipped with latest, state-of-the-art equipment; some of the systems for diagnosis and treatment are made available to patients for the first time in the country. A bigger team of Technical Officers keeps the equipment of the hospital in a state of perfect functioning at all times with practically no down time. They are supported by the Biomedical and General Engineering Departments. Though not connected directly with the treatment of patients, the workers of the support departments have thorough technical experience and knowledge to keep the hospital infrastructure and support services in ideal state of functioning in a manner which should serve as a model to other hospitals of the country.

The data and the indices of patient care are comparable to the data available from any other hospital at international level.

Patient Counselling Service
A unique feature in the patient care process of the two Institutes is the Patient Counselling Service. This service has been introduced as a model project in Super Speciality Hospital at Whitefietd. The consultants of the treating department of the Institute keep the patient under health surveillance after he is discharged from the hospital with the help of the volunteers of Sai Organisation.

The counselling activities cover all the three phases of the hospital-patient contact period, that is, the pre-hospital phase, the hospital phase for which the patient is admitted for surgery or treatment and the post-hospital phase after discharge of the patient from the hospital. This arrangement ensures that the counselling continues at the locality of the patient’s residence also. Counselling to every patient also includes spiritual counseling and offering suggestions on issues like faith, prayer, meditation and control of emotional stress, etc. Such a comprehensive counselling care is not only disease and person specific but is also holistic, and amounts to almost emotional adoption of the patient with a firm promise of help for his ailment. This is a distinct feature of the functioning of Sai Health Mission. The system is in operation in the State of Karnataka at present and is in the process of being extended to all other States of the country.

Twin Towers
Our country has incomparably large population and has equally huge incidence of disease and ill health. We have no illusion that these Twin Towers of Healing will treat all the patients of the diseases of heart, brain, kidney and eyes and will wipe the tears of all suffering patient population. No, it will help only a few – a drop in a big ocean! But, these Twin Towers of Healing will serve as models for establishing such Institutes all over the country and all over the world. Such centres will provide state-of-the-art medical treatment through dedicated staff with love, understanding and compassion, free of cost and without any restriction of caste, creed, colour and country, like these two Institutes provide to every patient everyday.

Rehabilitation Scheme For State’s Patients

SSSIHMS

SSSIHMS


Rehabilitation Scheme For State’s Patients
– Aruna Chandaraju

The programme covering cardiac patients of SSSIHMS hailing from Karnataka began as a pilot project in 2005.

Anyone who has been discharged from a hospital after surgery, would know that once he pays his bills and leaves, the relationship with the hospital virtually ends there. Unless he himself were to renew contact by seeking a revisit-appointment. That is the norm anywhere.

Except at Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences (SSSIHMS), Bangalore, that offers zero-cost treatment to all patients. In a first-of-its kind project, called Sai Rehabilitation Programme, the hospital has been tracking all its cardiac-surgery patients across Karnataka including remote areas, and providing recuperative medical-rehabilitation services.

Moreover, this post-operative care is offered at a local doctor’s clinic i.e. almost at a patient’s doorstep, explains Programme Coordinator, M S Umesh Rao who, along with former SSSIHMS director Dr A N Safaya conceived of and developed the programme.

Thus the hospital’s protective umbrella covers the patient even after he leaves the hospital for his home, often hundreds of miles away.

Why this programme?
The management explained that post-surgery recuperative care––continuing doctor-consultations, regular medication and diagnostic tests, and lifestyle changes––is vital for cardiac patients. However, most patients are poor and illiterate––hence unlikely to understand this and do the needful. And considering that SSSIHMS gives its hi-tech treatment entirely free of cost, the doctors felt their efforts shouldn’t go waste once the patient returns home. Even in case of an aware patient wanting to return for a check-up, the effort and cost of travel involved could be daunting.

Rehab scheme
The Rehab Scheme uses the vast network of registered volunteers including doctors constituting Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation (SSSSO). This vast resource, divided district-wise, formed the starting point, explains Nagesh G Dhakappa, Karnataka State President, SSSSO.

So, how does the scheme work? First, the Sai Organisation enlists the support of volunteer-doctors across all 30 Karnataka districts.

The doctors are screened and attend an orientation workshop at SSSIHMS. These doctors–––who offer their services free of cost––submit their address and contact numbers to the hospital and to their own district’s Sai Organisation President and Coordinator all of whom then create a Rehab Scheme database.

When a patient from Karnataka––after surgery at SSSIHMS––is being discharged, his address is checked against the database to identify a doctor nearest his residence. This doctor’s contacts are given to the patient as part of his discharge summary.

He is asked to contact this doctor for three check-ups in the first six months following discharge, and also when he feels seriously unwell. Simultaneously, this doctor and relevant District President and Coordinator are contacted by SSSIHMS and given details of the patient being put under their charge and care.

With this two-way channel established, the patient visits this local doctor for regular consultations and lifestyle-check, all done free of cost.

This doctor also guides the patient in getting his medicines and follow-up tests from reliable pharmacists and labs.

The local doctor sends up the patient’s reports to SSSIHMS whose doctors are thus able to regularly monitor their patients from a distance. Based on these reports, if need be, SSSIHSM doctors might ask a patient to return to hospital––for further, zero-cost treatment.

In cases where the patient can’t afford the monthly medicines and tests (for eg, valve-replacement patients need expensive after-care), the local doctor and Sai Organisation members arrange free drugs and tests.

If a patient fails to report for check-up, the District President/Coordinator, who has his address, might even land up at his doorstep to take him to the clinic! The hospital, however, has been unable to reach out to a small percentage of patients who have relocated without informing SSSIHMS or local doctor of their new address.

Already, SSSIHMS has taken on the mammoth task of providing zero-cost, hi-tech medical care to thousands of patients. So, is not the Sai Rehab Programme a tremendous extra burden?

“Not at all,” replies Dr A S Hegde, Director, SSSIHMS, “It is an extension of the hospital’s charitable work. In fact, we derive great satisfaction from being able to extend our service to patients even after they leave us and are living far away.”

The programme covering cardiac patients of SSSIHMS hailing from Karnataka began as a pilot project in 2005.

Given its success, it’s now being replicated for rest-of-India patients beginning with Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.

A similar programme is being planned for neuro-patients too.

Deccan Herald Reference

Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences – Congenital Heart Disease

Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences – Congenital Heart Disease

Factors predicting the progress of mitral valve disease in surgically treated adults with ostium primum atrial septal defects.

Vijay Agarwal, MCh, FRCSa, Suneil Kumar Aggarwal, MRCPb,*, Choudary D. Voleti, MD, FACSa

  1. Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Prashantigram, India
  2. Department of Cardiology, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Prashantigram, India

Received for publication March 6, 2008; revisions received June 23, 2008; accepted for publication August 28, 2008.

Address for reprints: Suneil K. Aggarwal, MRCP, Department of Cardiology, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Prashantigram, AP 515134, India.

Objective: This study was undertaken to analyze the clinical profile, associated features, and surgical treatments of adults operated on for ostium primum atrial septal defects, particularly factors influencing progression of mitral valve disease.

Methods: We retrospectively studied all patients aged 18 years and older operated on at our institution with reference to patient clinical features, investigation findings, surgical records, and outpatient follow-up data.

Results: Fifty-one patients, 29 female and 22 male, underwent operation at a mean age of 27.3 years (SD 6.9). Of these, 80% were in New York Heart Association functional class I or II, with a most frequent presenting symptom of dyspnea. On echocardiography, 88% had cleft mitral valve, 35% had moderate mitral regurgitation, and 4% had severe mitral regurgitation. According to echocardiography and available cardiac catheterization data, 27% had moderate pulmonary arterial hypertension and 8% had severe. In-hospital mortality was 1.9%. At mean follow-up of 36 months, 94% of patients were in functional class I. Mitral regurgitation was moderate in 21% and severe in 8%, with 1 patient undergoing mitral valve replacement. Factors associated with increased risk of moderate or severe mitral regurgitation on follow-up were preoperative moderate or severe pulmonary arterial hypertension (P = .008) and female sex (P = .009).

Conclusion: Surgical correction of ostium primum atrial septal defects in adults can be undertaken successfully with low mortality and excellent symptomatic results. Regular follow-up is required to assess progression of mitral regurgitation, which is more likely in women and those with preoperative pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Abbreviations and Acronyms:

  • MR = mitral regurgitation
  • NYHA = New York Heart Association
  • OPASD = ostium primum atrial septal defect
  • PAH = pulmonary arterial hypertension
  • RVSP = right ventricular systolic pressure
  • TR = tricuspid regurgitation

JTCS Reference

Are You A Doctor?

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


Are You A Doctor?

Dear reader, in this ‘Window to Sai Seva’ section, in every issue we bring you inspiring stories of service done by seva teams from all over India and the world. However, in this issue, we have something different. It is not so much on service but on an instrument of Swami who has been selflessly offering his time and energy for the poor and needy. What drives an eye surgeon from the USA to travel thousands of miles every year to spend three weeks serving in Swami’s Super Specialty Hospital in Puttaparthi? How different is the experience? Here is a persoanl account from a person to whom hundreds owe their eyesight.

In 2001, during one of his visits to Prasanthi Nilayam, Dr. Sanjeev Dewan, an eye surgeon based in Canton, Ohio, USA, was sitting on the veranda in front the Bhajan Hall, eagerly waiting for Swami’s darshan. “Baba walked into the veranda and as He passed, He glanced at me and said, ‘Are you a doctor? You are a patient’, Dr. Dewan said. “I knew the significance of Swami’s words. I nodded and said, ‘Yes, Swami, I am the patient and you are fixing my illness.'”

Dr. Dewan, a 40-year-old visiting eye surgeon at the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences (SSSIHMS), Prashantigram, feels that since he came to Swami’s fold, the transformation that Swami had desired has been taking place in countless ways. Every year, Dr. Dewan takes a break from his busy practice back in the U.S. and heads to SSSIHMS for three weeks, where he treats the patients – and himself gets ‘cured’.

The Qualifications of a True Doctor
“I am not a complete doctor. A doctor has to be wholly desireless, selfless and compassionate. The transformation is taking place in many ways,” he smiles. A disarming smile, which has the warmth to put even the most edgy among the patients, at ease. Apart from his smile, what patients notice as soon as they enter his room at the Hospital is a cheerful man in a lilac blue apron, with Ohio Eye Alliance embroidered on the left side. Dr. Dewan’s parents had migrated from Pakistan to India during the partition. The family later got settled in the U.S. in 1956.

It is a delightful story how Swami brought Dr. Dewan into His fold. As he tries to remember his first encounter with Bhagavan, one can see his sharp brown eyes getting wistful as he searches his memory. His head falls back and he looks remotely at the white wall facing him in his room.

“I am not all that good with the details”, he says breaking the silence. He, however, remembers the picture of a ‘man’ his wife had placed at the location of their marriage ceremony, which took place in Buffalo, New York in 1992. “During our wedding, Seema had kept the photograph of Sai Baba at the place where the wedding ceremony was to take place,” he says. “‘Who is this man?’ I had asked. ‘My Guru,’ was her answer.”

Mrs. Dewan has been an ardent follower of Baba since she was seven years old. She has visited Puttaparthi on several occasions and also authored several books on Swami, the first one being, “Sai Darshan”.

“I did not have any reservations about having the photograph of Sai Baba at my wedding, but somehow was not impressed with the ‘man'” says Dr. Dewan and continues, “It was several years after our marriage that one day my wife said, ‘let us go to India and visit Puttaparthi’ . I somehow felt like accompanying her. But I told her, ‘we will stay only for a day at the ashram as we have other engagements’.”

It was in 1995 that Dr. Dewan visited Prasanthi Nilayam for the first time. “We got down at the Puttaparthi airport, after taking a connecting flight from Bangalore. It was as if some invisible hand was taking care of all our concerns. As soon as we descended from the aircraft, a person volunteered to guide us to the ashram. We hesitated, but he took us along and made adequate arrangements for our stay. Only after we felt comfortable inside the ashram, he left,” Dr. Dewan recollects. He told us that he worked with the Indian Airlines. That was all we could gather about him, Dr. Dewan adds.

The Numinous Attraction of Divine Love
When it was Bhagavan’s darshan time, the family quickly reached the hall. “I sat far away from Swami, somewhere in the multitude of devotees. As I saw Swami walking among the devotees, I felt drawn to Him. Something overcame me. I wanted to be close to Him. ‘Why cannot I be close to him?’, ‘Why this distance?’, I kept asking myself. That night I was almost in tears,” Dr. Dewan confesses. “Then I told my Seema, ‘all right, we will stay for two days more!'” Now, Dr. Dewan chuckles.

The next day Dr. Dewan visited Bhagavan’s birthplace, where now stands a Shiva Temple and lies at one end of bustling Puttaparthi town. “During our visit Mr. Bhatt was the temple priest. He took us with him to his home and started narrating stories of Baba, I could not be satiated. Acknowledging my interest, Mr. Bhatt went from one story to another. Yet I wanted to hear more.” Soon Dr. Dewan was visiting Prasanthi Nilayam along with his family of five every year.

The Gift of True Vision
In innumerable ways, Bhagavan helped the Dewan family in their difficult times. One of the doctor’s three sons, 12-year-old Karan, was suffering from isotropia in one eye, which is an in-turning of the eye which makes a person cross-eyed. Due to his condition, Karan used to wear glasses.

Dr. Dewan says that during an interview granted to his family in the year 2000, Swami looked at his 12-year-old bespectacled son and told him: “Boy’s eyes are weak”, He then paused and added, “Glasses will go”. It is sometimes difficult to understand what Bhagavan means. But soon enough, Dr. Dewan was to witness the manifestation of Swami’s infinite grace.

“We went back to the U.S. and one day Karan came to me and said, ‘Dad, I see everything blurred when I wear glasses, but when I don’t, everything looks perfectly clear’. I thought he was joking. I specialise in paediatric ophthalmology, so I took Karan to my clinic and tested his eyes. His eyes were perfect. They had healed!” Dr. Dewan says, his eyes aglow with happiness reminiscesing this amazing miracle. “As Swami said, the glasses went,” he adds, jubilantly.

Working in the Temple of Healing
“I always feel that we are just instruments in His hands. I have experienced so many wonderful things here. The first time I came to the Hospital I was awestruck, as it looked more like a temple than a Hospital”, he says.

On his first visit, a large number of people with specific eye disorders, whose treatment was Dr. Dewan’s expertise, suddenly arrived at the Hospital. “This is Swami’s grace. And this happens on every occasion any visiting physician arrives at the Hospital. People may think it might be because the message spreads through word of mouth. But on many occasions the visiting physician might be visiting the Hospital for the first time. This has happened too many times for it to be just a coincidence.”

“Also when I come here, my efficiency suddenly increases. I am able to treat more people here than what I do back home in the U.S.. When I return my efficiency drops,” Dr. Dewan chuckles. “I believe it is Baba’s grace!”

He adds that on several occasions he had come across cases which he had never seen during his practice in the U.S. “Working here also helps me to gain new insights into several rare cases. I take back the experience with me to America”, he adds.

According to Dr. Dewan, in India he finds more cases of nerve palsy than back in the U.S.. He explains that there are three nerves which control the movement of the eye, and nerve palsy leads to abnormal movement of eyes. “Many cases coming to the Hospital are of such kind,” he explains.

Dr. Dewan had also yearned to teach, which he is able to do now during his present visit to the SSSIHMS. “I wanted to teach and now Swami has fulfilled my desire”, he says with a smile. “Teaching helps a doctor to remain abreast with the latest developments in the field of medicine. I have to answer questions, which are put to me by the resident doctors, so I have to strive harder to learn and then teach the same. This process helps me to be a better physician myself.”

An Aspiration for Peace
Speaking about the transformation which has come about in him, Dr. Dewan says that his experiences with Bhagavan have helped him to re-align the goal of his life. The goal has now changed to peace and unity. “I have a yearning to speak less and accept more – and to serve without desire.”

“It is difficult to explain to my colleagues where I go off to every year for three weeks. They think I am taking off to some beach,” he chuckles. “They find it hard to imagine that I am taking off to volunteer in a Hospital, which lies in a remote corner of India and treats patients free of cost,” he adds.

Dr. Dewan says he tries to explain to his colleagues that it is not a holiday but an experience that takes a person to a different level. He tells them that when he started visiting the Hospital he realised how much people appreciated the work that he was doing. “The fact that I was able to serve was itself highly rewarding,” he adds.

During an interview granted to Dr. Dewan and his wife, Seema, by Bhagavan, Dr. Dewan had asked Swami, “Why this separation between You and me, Lord?” “No separation, no separation.” Bhagavan had affirmed.

“Before I came to Bhagavan, I used to ask ‘God, where are you?’ I don’t ask that question anymore”, Dr. Dewan ends the conversation with a satisfied smile, to continue doing what he loves the most – serve patients in Swami’s Hospital.

– Heart2Heart Team

Reference

Dr B Somaraju – The Leader Who Cares

Dr B Somaraju

Dr B Somaraju

Dr B Somaraju – The Leader Who Cares

Hailing from a small agriculturist family, Dr B Somaraju is not only proud to be associated with the Kalam-Raju stent, but he is equally proud of the fact that he has escalated his dream project’s worth from Rs 30 crore to Rs 300 crore in just a decade.

Born on 25 September, 1948, Dr Raju was born in to an agriculturist family. He did his MBBS and MD from Guntur Medical College, DM Cardiology from PGIMER, Chandigarh and PhD (HonCausa) from JNTU, Hyderabad. He worked as a Registrar in Endocrinology and Internal Medicine, PGIMER and Chandigarh and Registrar in Cardiology, PGIMER, Chandigarh.

Why an entrepreneur?
“We wanted to build a place where we could have professional satisfaction of an academic institution and freedom and flexibility of a private enterprise,” says Dr Somaraju.

Before being an entrepreneur
In 1978, Dr Raju joined Osmania Medical College as Assistant Professor in Cardiology. In 1983, he joined Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS), Hyderabad as Assistant Professor in Cardiology. For one year, he was with Osmania General Hospital. Then from 1984 to 1993, he was with NIMS first as Additional Professor in cardiology division and later as the Dean and Professor.

His brush with private healthcare happened only when he along with his 60- member team cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, cardiac anaesthetists, cardio-vascular nurses and technicians came out of NIMS to start the Division of Cardiology at Mediciti Hospitals, Hyderabad in 1993.

The first move
In 1996, Dr Raju along with same colleagues formed the Care Foundation. Informs Dr Krishna Reddy, CEO of Care Hospital and a close aide of Dr Raju, “We presented a project with an integrated healthcare delivery model encompassing delivery, education and research aiming at making high quality care affordable and accessible to Technology Initiative fund of Government of India being administered by ICICI. Based on the strength of presentation an amount of six crore was sanctioned as soft loan. That became the seed crystal for subsequent Care story!”

An additional amount of about Rs 1.5 crore was mobilised from the team members, who borrowed loans at 24 per cent interest. The group first acquired AK Diagnostic Limited which was managing newly commissioned ABM Hospital in erstwhile premises of a three-star hotel at Nampally, Hyderabad.

“Things moved very fast in June 1997, wherein the 100-bed hospital was commissioned with cardiac services. This was within four weeks of beginning of our negotiations with the group,” says Dr Reddy.

Over the years
In 1998, it opened its second cardiology unit at Secunderbad. In 1999, it opened its third unit in Vizag. In the same year, neurosciences specialty was started at Nampally. “By 2000, from a single specialty hospital group, we wanted to be a multi-specialty hospital group. Thus, we founded our first multi-specialty tertiary care hospital at Banjara Hill by acquiring and renovating a sick five-star hotel (Bhaskara Palace Hotel),” says Dr Somaraju. It was 200 beds when it was commissioned and now has been scaled up to 405 beds.

From 2000 to 2005 there was a lull. In 2005, the group started its facility in Vijaywada with 100 beds. From 2006 onwards, the group decided to venture outside Andhra Pradesh. In December 2006, it opened a hospital in Nagpur, acquired a hospital in Pune in 2007 and started a JV project in Raipur in 2007.

“We have witnessed phenomenal growth among private healthcare providers in terms of capacity, geographic spread and business. Care grew from single specialty single unit to multi-specialty hospital chain with 12 units in five states; from 100 beds to over 2,000 beds; from 20 medical staff to 400; from 200 associates to 6,000 associates; from Rs 30 crore per annum revenue to over Rs 300 crore annual revenue over one decade,” says Dr Somaraju.

Revenues have been growing at 36 per cent year-on-year over the decade. “This year Care will have 500,000 out-patient visits, 100,000 admissions, 4,000 cardiac surgical procedures, 10,000 cath procedures, and 15,000 non-cardiac surgical procedures,” says Dr Somaraju.

Care has also been synonymous with research, encompassing epidemiological, basic sciences, clinical and translational research. There are approximately 60 ongoing clinical trials. Beginning with Kalam-Raju stent, translational research lead to cardiovascular stent development programme, including drug-eluting stents and polymer-based various diagnostic and therapeutic catheter technologies, it has been working in developing telemedicine and remote diagnostic and point-of-care solutions.

Overcoming roadblocks
Building the first hospital was not that difficult. “The major challenge has been to sustain Care philosophy founded on strong ethics and values with patient interests in the centre and Care model of an integrated system of delivery, education and research with professionals working in closely knit teams, especially when we are spreading to across the country,” says Dr Somaraju.

The group is mainly finding it difficult to recruit trained manpower in remote corners of the country. “It is also difficult to look for people who are in sync with our philosophy. For us healthcare is not a business model, it is a passion for medicine and an ongoing mission” says he.

Mistakes made and lessons learnt
The group has burnt its fingers in managing hospitals through franchisee models. “This model failed for us because of clash of interests. And after a couple of failure in this model, we decided to discontinue it,” says Dr Somaraju. Additionally, lack of knowledge of corporate governance and business management made the group go through some rough patch. “However, we are a learning organisation and our enterprise is an experiment in motion. While we steadfastly preserve our core philosophy, we provide a large framework to innovate,” says he.

Fears and apprehensions
“Frankly, we were more fearless and bolder when we begun than when we are attempting to spread our wings outside tested waters. We were ignorant of business and management. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss!” says Dr Somaraju.

Tips for entrepreneurship
“You need to have enormous passion coupled with hard work to drive your vision. If your purpose is patient care, everything else follows. You need to be the change that you want to bring,” says he.

Contribution to healthcare
Dr Somaraju and his team set up the Department of Cardiology at the charitable Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Puttaparthi and provided free professional services from 1991 to 1994. He had participated in randomised study of balloon mitral valvuloplasty Vs Surgical Closed Mitral Commissurotomy – Immediate and long-term results, Randomised Study of Balloon Mitral Valvuloplasty Vs Surgical Open Mitral Valvotomy – Immediate and long-term results. Dietary correlation’s with lipid profiles in patients with and without Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) in Indian population, Phase-III Clinical Investigation of EB Sideri’s Button device for closure of arterial septal defects and patent ductus arteriosus, indigenous development of cardiovascular catheters- diagnostic catheters, coronary angioplasty balloon, valvuloplasty balloon catheters.

He has been involved in indigenous development of external and implantable pacemakers in collaboration with Research Centre Imarat (RCI), Hyderabad, development of indigenous coronary stent in association with Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory Centre (DMRL), Hyderabad, development of PC-based cardiac stress test system in association with Defence Bio-Engineering and Electromedical Laboratory (DEBEL), Bangalore.

He has conducted the first Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty (PTCA) in India on April 17, 1985. He has developed India’s first coronary stent (Kalam-Raju Stent) and implanted on December 22, 1996 at Mediciti Hospitals. This contributed to significant reduction of the cost of stents, as a whole, in India.

He has contributed to the introduction of India’s first Coronary Balloon Care Ultima on October 29, 1998. He also has written a book called ‘clinical methods in cardiology.’

Awards
He has been honoured with Padma Shri, ‘Uttama seva patra’ by Government of Andhra Pradesh, Asian Innovation Award in 1998 by The Far Eastern Economic Review, Andreas Gruentzig Memorial Award, 8th Yudhvir memorial award and Express Healthcare Lifetime Achievement Award.

An entrepreneur that he admires in healthcare
He respects Dr GN Rao of LV Prasad Eye Institute.

The road ahead
Dr Somaraju plans to scale up its tertiary care model by setting up new state-of-art hospitals in newer territories. His vision for the next decade is 10,000 beds. The Group may also consider going public.

He is also working on transforming the group to become an integrated healthcare delivery model. “We want to build a network of urban hospitals (both secondary and tertiary care models), country healthcare, disease management set-up, home-based healthcare and high-end quaternary care hospital. We have already started work on this on a pilot basis,” says Dr Reddy.