Interview with Dr.Sameer A Khan: Chief Executive Officer, Rockland Hospitals

in Hospital Owners/Hospitals

From 80 to 800 beds in one year, Rockland Hospital has embedded a tremendous scale-up plan for its operational growth. Dr Sameer A Khan, Chief Executive Officer, Rockland, speaks to Aashruti Kak about his plans for the hospital.


“We have a huge advantage of learnings on controlling costs, managing doctors, leveraging on the ‘brand’ of doctors and ensuring their visibility, which impacts immediate patient flow.”

What strategy have you put in place for Rockland?

I have always been a part of organisations which are very young. Although Rockland is a 10­year-old company, whatever visible growth that there has been has taken place in the last one year. I have taken it as a greenfield project, but with an added advantage of the learnings that the hospital and its promoters have gathered. Rockland (Qutub), starting in 2004 with just about 100 beds, has now expanded to 200 beds. It was mid 2012 that we launched our facility in Dwarka, and began operations at our Manesar facility in April this year. Over the last one year we have added all specialties-cardio, neuro, trauma, a good criticare team-and we are adding nephrology as well, which means we would be starting kidney and liver transplants soon.

We are also looking at international tourism in a big way. So if you take a look at our hospital in Manesar, which is a large 500-bedoed facility, we have introduced an ancillary block, the International Patient Centre that has been designed specifically keeping international patients in mind, as these patients usually want to stay for some more time for full recuperation. So in case of an untoward incident post surgery, they are still on campus and can come immediately to the hospital.

Manesar will be our flagship facility, as we plan for it to be a very comprehensive tertiary care Hospital. By next year, we would also be adding the elements of Comprehensive cancer care to it. Our focus on trauma is also very big, which is why a team of Drthopaedic, neuro, plastic and general surgeons are available to us 24×7. And since we are just off the highway, we get to treat many trauma cases. By planning a hospital in Noida, we intend to penetrate deeper in the markets that are closer to NCR and from there we will chart our growth path.

What is the current status of the Rockland medical corridor?

We are trying to go as close to patients as possible through the Noida-Manesar medical corridor. We have four outreach clinics in Manesar and one in Gurgaon and another clinic at Bhiwadi and Rewari (Rajasthan-Haryana border) and are going to establish two to three more around Manesar and other areas. We could either have our own doctors present at these clinics or tie-up with other nursing homes, clinics and hospitals and try to do a seamless transfer of patient and data (reports, patient information), using IT as much as possible.

We are working with a few technology partners both in India and abroad in terms of medical technology and on the IT front. The regions that we are exploring lack not just manpower, but also crucial medical technology.

Do you plan to move out of North India or enter education?

For the next five years our focus is going to be just Delhi NCR and ensuring complete coverage in North India. We are also looking at the North-East as it is grossly underserved and we could utilise some linkages there thanks to our promoters.

We will be foraying into hard core medical education as we have concrete plans of having two medical colleges soon. We already have DNBs in two specialties running at the moment, which benefit the doctor as they get to teach, while maintaining a continued stream of residents as well. We are also getting into nursing and paramedical education; the hospital being built in Noida is planned to be both hospital and a full-fledged educational wing which would have the above institutes. We would be finalising the land for the college at Manesar very soon.

What should be ‘the ultimate checklist’ for visionaries to start an entity or to expand a standalone project?

If you are a standalone hospital and are making enough profits, the biggest thing that is missed out on is the broader vision. The basic question is whether you can leverage your current learnings for growth and the answer to that needs to be a clear ‘yes’! We have a huge advantage of our learnings on how to control costs, managing doctors, leveraging on the ‘brand’ of doctors and ensuring their visibility that will directly impact the immediate patient flow.

For instance, our Dwarka, Manesar and Qutub hospitals are all at a decent distance from each other, but we have instilled this model, where while building up our specialties we are also sharing our resources, even our doctors, amongst the three. Your geography should be planned in such a way that it does not put too much pressure on your resources, in addition to making sure that the choice of geography is such that you are at an advantage to serve maximum patients. Had our hospitals been too far apart from each other, it would have led to
a duplication of resources.

This benefits our doctors as well, as they can see their practice and their experience grow at a rapid pace. Also, our locations in Dwarka and Manesar have been chosen keeping in mind that there are less or no hospitals serving these areas; completing a checklist that is just right for us. So, it is the vision, geography, your appetite for growth, application of previous learnings and finding a way to share your resources that factor in the checklist. •

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