Dr. Vikram Shah, Health News, ET HealthWorld

Shahid Akhter, Editor-in-Chief, ETHealthworld, spoke with Dr Vikram ShahChairman & Managing Director, Shalby Multispeciality Hospitals, to learn more about current trends in orthopedic surgery and the need for centers of excellence.

Orthopedic surgery: Trends
Orthopedic surgery includes five main sub-specialties such as joint replacement, sports injuries, spine, trauma, and pediatric orthopedics. They are all progressing rapidly and the advancement of joint replacements should bring promising results for the next 25 years or so.

There are different types of implants available today that have the potential to treat almost any type of case. We haven’t rejected a single case in the last 20 years since implants were available even for polio cases and we were able to give them a better quality of life. Due to the competence and the nature of the implants available today, we are able to operate on patients aged 20 to 100 years. After the operation, they recover very well and can go home to enjoy a good life.

By applying our own Zero Technique in surgeries, patients are virtually painless after their operation and they are able to walk within hours of surgery. They are even able to take the stairs a day or two after their surgery. If the surgery included a single joint, the patient can go home within 3-4 days, and the infection rate is one of the lowest in the world.

Shalby Hospital: idea, creation and vision
Upon my return to India, I visited several trusted hospitals and found that they all had a poor setup. None of them had a hundred OT class, laminar flows, body escape suits, nor were they interested in orthopedics as a fraternity. Everyone was focused on doing cardiology or heart surgeries. I had no choice but to build my own retirement home that would develop class one hundred OTs, laminar flows, and body escape suits. Body escape suits are similar to a space suit that we wear to prevent any spread of infection to the patient.

To be honest, I was forced to start the nursing home because none of the hospitals were willing to invest money, effort or time in building such an infrastructure with such demands in operating room material. I was not mentally ready to open a nursing home since my previous work in the UK and US was in hospitals which provided all the amenities and facilities needed by a surgeon. However, when I started my retirement home here, I had to deal with additional staff and government paperwork. However, over time I started to get used to the setup and even started to like it.

All hospitals in Shalby have the best operating theaters and top notch emergency facilities. All are equipped with backup equipment in case of equipment failure. This is useful when even if you drop an instrument, another set of instruments is still available. All of our hospitals are NABH & NABL accredited with surgeons trained by us. Unlike many other hospitals that set up the infrastructure and work with surgeons who are available locally or have surgeons from other locations; we train our surgeons in our mother institute, then we have them return to their cities and work in our hospitals. These surgeons are highly skilled and experienced.

Shalby Hospital: plans for the future
Our plans for the future are focused on even greater growth in the years to come. Currently we have 11 hospitals from Mohali to Goa and from Jabalpur to Ahmedabad. We also launched the Shalby Orthopedic Center of Excellence (SOCE). This is based on an asset franchise model where those who own assets like 10,000 to 20,000 square feet of land in various cities and towns can partner with us to open our Orthopedic Centers of Excellence on a franchise. This model is similar to KFC or McDonald’s where we don’t invest in real estate and they don’t need to invest in expertise. We train their staff and provide our qualified surgeons for each of these centers. We have already launched such centers in Udaipur and Ahmedabad each and have signed another in Rajkot. At the current rate, we hope to activate about 50 centers of this type in the next 2 to 3 years. This approach will help us grow very quickly. It took us almost 10 to 15 years to build 11 hospitals because acquiring real estate in the country is very expensive. The franchise model will allow us to grow faster and expand across the country. This model will eventually help us spread our expertise in training more surgeons while creating employment opportunities for the local population. Our plan is to build a successful model here and then replicate it in countries in Africa and Southeast Asia.

We bought a company in California, USA that makes the best joints, knee joints, hip joints, revision surgery joints because I wanted to get away from our reliance on imports for these joints . This company has more than 50 patents that we can use and already sell seals in America and Japan. Once we get Indian FDA approval, we will sell these gaskets to our hospitals and other Indian hospitals across India. After this, we plan to sell these joints in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. These joints are best in class and over the past 31 years have implanted nearly 60,000 hips and 40,000 knees. In its 31 years since its inception, they have had zero implant recalls, which is a very big achievement considering that the USA FDA has not recalled any implants for the company. The company manufactures very high quality products and we will participate in our Prime Minister’s Make in India initiative as we now have the patents to manufacture these seals in India.

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