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With over 8500 beds across 50 hospitals within and outside India, the Apollo Hospitals Group is one

of the largest
healthcare groups in Asia. The legacy of touching lives stems from the four pillars of our philosophy - experience,
excellence, expertise and research. At Apollo Hospitals, we unite exceptional clinical success rates and superior
technology with centuries-old traditions of Eastern care and warmth, as we truly believe the world is our extended
family-something our 19 million patients from 55 countries can warmly affirm.

Marketing department

With the realisation of importance of hospital marketing, the presence of a full-fledged


marketing department has also been acknowledged. “The marketing department is said to
be the voice of hospital where the brand is fashioned and communicated, internally as well
as to the community at large,” says Anne Marie Moncure, managing director, Indraprastha
Apollo, New Delhi.

According to Dr Mitul Thakkar, senior manager, marketing, Asian Heart Institute and
Research Centre (AHIRC), “Since a hospital makes a lot of investments in setting up the
infrastructure and offering its services, selling the services of a hospital needs a proper
system. Therefore, the role of the marketing department in our hospital is of paramount
importance. Apart from helping to create a brand image for the healthcare institution, the
department acts as an interface between the doctor and the public.” Agrees Urmila Nabar,
marketing manager, Nanavati Hospital, Mumbai, “We provide the liaison between the
doctors and the public.”

The marketing department has assumed more importance after the boost in medical
tourism, opines Colonel B S Khimani, director, administration, Jaslok Hospital. The
marketing department liaisons with the medical officers of the foreign consulates to bring
patients from abroad. “FICCI is helping hospitals to utilise the potential of medical tourism.
Jaslok hospital has recently tied-up with FICCI to utilise the potential of this upcoming
sector,” informed an official from Jaslok Hospital.

The success of the marketing department depends on its association with various other
departments. “Organisational excellence is very important than the departmental
excellence. The front end cannot perform its duties without the backing of the quality of
back end operations,” says Anantram.

Marketing strategies

Though there are no specific strategies for hospital marketing, a systematic approach to
marketing has evolved over the past few years. “Unlike earlier, now the corporates prefer a
long-term association with the healthcare institution by signing a memorandum of
understanding (MoU),” says Deepika Gupta, marketing executive, S L Raheja Hospital,
Mumbai. Marketing experts believe that a sound Client Relationship Management (CRM)
forms the basis for soliciting corporate tie-ups, today.

Events, both indoor and out-reach programmes, play a significant role in marketing of
healthcare institutions. Continuous medical education, awareness sessions for general
public, check-up camps for public, organising events on various health days, conducting
interviews of specialists on visual media, informative and interactive website, printing and
making readily available various emergency or appointment numbers are the commonest
marketing tools.
According to Dr K S Bhimwal, medical director, Rockland hospital, with the surge in concern
in health check ups, hospitals have fashioned various types of special health check up
packages catering to executives, pregnant women, servants, shop keepers to slum
dwellers.“Recently, we celebrated Liver Day at Apollo, which was aimed at educating and
creating awareness amongst children and parents, so we organised a fashion show and
health quiz, which generated a lot of interest,” says Moncure.

Though hospitals are publicising through advertisements, according to Dr Saumitra


Bharadwaj, marketing manager at Fortis hospital, NOIDA, hospitals should create goodwill
for themselves and should not completely rely on advertisements.

“As patients are the best ambassadors, it is important to take care of their needs and
provide them with best possible care. Their apprehensions should be addressed so that they
have the courage to come back to the same facility,” he adds. Agrees Anantram, “In this
business, every satisfied customer brings thousand new customers.”

Future

Would hospital marketing become more aggressive in the future? “We can no longer rely on
word of mouth for getting patients. Hospitals, mainly the corporates ones, would definitely
get more aggressive to survive the intense competition,” avers Juhi Bhandari, marketing
manager, Hinduja Hospital. However, Nabar disagrees, saying, “Aggressive marketing is not
necessary in healthcare sector as it would not fetch more patients. Patients’s decision to
choose a hospital is based on three factors: facilities available in the hospital, expertise of
doctors and vicinity.”

Will new marketing mantras emerge in the future? The answer lies in the thought process of
the new faces in this sector. According to Manish Sharma, management trainee, Hinduja
Hospital, “As in the West, in future, tertiary care Indian hospitals need to conduct research
so as to segmentise the market and tap that area from which patients are not turning up.”
For instance, if research shows that a hospital is not attracting enough patients from a
particular age group or a disease profile, it needs to strategise to get those patients.”

Target Market Segment : Upper middle class, the wealthy, and company employees with health
insurance (108 million in 1994 ). Half of the middle class able to pay for private health care.

? Current Market Status : Most hospitals are state run at very low cost, low tech, and low quality.
Private medical facilities are available – highly specialized, charging market rate (not latest
technology but provides privacy and intimacy). Treatment of a complex ailment in a private
institution is more time consuming and expensive.

? Economic liberalization : domestic and multinational companies – more competition

? Demography : urban, high income as dictated by upper middle class and elite class,
neighboring countries.

? Psychography : Targeting people who can afford comprehensive high quality service; who are
ready to pay more money for the comfort and treatment by more reputed doctors.
? Market Growth (income + segments growth) : Sizable market of 30 million (wealthy ) and 135
million upper middle class person.

? Proposed Plan : Comprehensive hospital emphasizing on tertiary care — advance therapy and
surgery, complicated medical problems. Primary care is stressed mainly through preventive
measures. High quality medical care through the latest medical technology and the best qualified
staff.

2. Service Concept

? The aim is to provide outstanding value to patient through superior medical results, quick
treatment, and a low total cost of care relative to competitors. This can be achieved through the
Five stars management philosophy : medical personnel, medical technology, employees, value
and hospitality.

? Customers’ perception : high quality, comprehensive service at 10-15% below than the top
hospitals in Bombay and Delhi in a shorter time period (on average 7 days versus industry’s
average of 9-12 days).

? Superior medical treatment: success rate at par with highest international standard, competitive
total cost of care.

3. Operating Strategy

? Hospital operates under the Five Stars philosophy.

1. Medical personnel : Highly skilled and experienced doctors mostly returning from western
countries (well known both academically and clinically). Well trained and motivated junior
doctors, technicians, nurses, and other supporting staff.

2. Medical technology: Latest available technology, constant and quick update, high utilization
and availability. Large capital investment emphasis in this area.

3. Employees: Constant interaction between all levels. The environment promotes a sense of
family/community. Upper management recognizes attendance, punctuality, achievements in
sport, and honesty through awards. A 10-20% higher wage for the employees than local, private
hospitals. Flexible atmosphere, free medical care, and other economic benefits (loan, wedding
gift, subsidize meals) attract competent employees.

4. Hospitality : Customer oriented/centered service, 30 hrs/year training, well established


guidelines (Induction manual).

5. Value : Care/contact after even being released from the hospital. Guest relations department
improves quality of service and maintains relationship with patients.

? Emphasis on continuous improvements (CHANGE), avoiding a stagnation.


? Operation: Symbiotic relationship between doctors and the hospital: Doctors pay only rents for
the room, but set their own rate (within set boundaries from hospital management.) and keep all
of the fees received. The hospital earns revenues from running the supporting facilities (room,
board, x-rays etc.)

? Additional services to doctors: excellent and most recent library system (on-line system),
hospital supported technical conferences in and out house, weekly research colloquiums,
newsletter (Apollo Heartbeat), arrange visits/training session of recognized doctors from abroad.

? Continuous improvements effort at all levels

? Employee training and compensations and other benefits

? Finance : Initially from own money and stocks, Expansion and operation from revenue
generated from existing facilities, licensing, and insurance package.

? Marketing: major efforts focused on women in individual consumer market (Well Women
Clubs), outreach programs for schools, low price preventive check-up packages for families.

? Different categories of rooms to accommodate different economic level of patients. There is a


long term trusting relationship with patients.

? Referring doctors : There is a strong effort to keep referring doctors aware of the hospital’s
advances. Advertisements of the hospital’s capabilities and facilities exists. Organizing medical
conferences and publications like Apollo Heartbeat (distributed free of cost to referrals) keep
referring doctors attached to the hospital. And allowing referrals to maintain close contact with
own patients in the hospitals promotes the notion that Apollo does not attempt to compete with
them.

? Contracts with 150 companies for providing preventive care and advanced treatment (Master
Health Check).

? Organization Structure of Apollo Hospitals :

? Apollo Madras, Hyderabad

? Training wing/division (Apollo Institute of Hospital management)

? IHC (Indian Hospitals Corporations) consulting services

? Within each hospital :

? consulting doctors (independent)

? administrative and supporting staffs, different departments (Guest relationship) commensurate


with normal hospital practices.
? Human Resources: good compensation, good training.

? Control: CHANGE committees, guest relation department, employee empowerment.

? Measurement: Patients’ health most important yardstick for success.

4. Service Delivery System

? The people from all levels due to their high skills, training and motivation contribute towards
the hospital’s vision of providing high quality service and care at competitive price.

? Most updated technology and equipment with standardize procedures for operations high
quality contribute to high quality service.

? Differentiation based on multidimensional strategy which are high quality, reliable and quick
treatment at competitive price.

? Barrier to entry to the industry is high, mainly because of high capital investment, brand name,
well established marketing, referral network, presence in almost all aspects of business within
the health care industry, and contracts with highly recognized doctors.

? Expansion vehicle promises most effectively to enhance Apollo Hospitals’ profits while
expanding recognition of the Apollo name. Some the expansion efforts:

? Building more hospitals and control over entire operation

? Limited growth, high capital intensive, no risk sharing by others, no advantage of experience of
local channels.

? Consulting service: Indian Hospital Corporation (IHC) which share experience in hospital
management, license Apollo trade name to doctors and entrepreneurs and quicker expansion.

? Health maintenance organization (Insurance and medicare HMO) which promote high quality
health care through a large network of doctors and hospitals.

General information about Apollo Hospital: