While corporate hospitals are often seen as emotionless money-making machines at the expense of the patients, Dr Gurava Reddy, the Managing Director of Sunshine Hospitals, has set out to change this with his motto of “patients first”. In his 12 years at Sunshine Hospitals, Gurava has taken it to become one of the leading multi-specialty hospitals in the country with a focus on joint replacement surgery – 4,000 of which he performs each year.
The hospital will soon hit the Guinness World Records for the fastest thousand robot-assisted knee replacements in the world. What sets Gurava apart from his competitors is his vision. “We have the slogan: ‘Bring back the hospitality into the hospitals,’” he says.
He wants to take this forward and “McDonald’s-ise” orthopaedic care in India. This means opening a neurosurgical and trauma care hospital with about 200 beds in every metro city, all focused on patients’ wellbeing. Along with this, Gurava wants to revolutionise assisted-care facilities in India.
“I want to take some 8–12 hectares of land outside Hyderabad and develop a beautiful facility for retired people, where about half the beds will be for people who can live independently, but with occasional medical input. And the other half the beds will be for people who cannot live independently and who need assistance,” he explains.
This will offer unprecedented comfort and care for both the elderly and their children; something which Gurava feels is particularly necessary after the horrors of COVID-19.“This pandemic has opened Pandora’s Box,” he says. “I have seen hundreds of parents languishing in their homes because their children could not come from America. Even if they could afford it, they could not even hail a cab to drop them off at the hospital.”
To further the level of comfort, Gurava also aims to set up a membership facility with the tagline, ‘We are adding one doctor to your family’. Under the program, every medical need of the patient will be provided for, including regular medical check-ups, hospitalisation and post-operative care. He is uniquely situated to make this vision a reality.
“My strength is that I have a network of 20 hospitals,” he points out. While many companies view retirement homes as luxurious condos away from the city without the requisite medical support, Gurava aims to achieve something different.
“We are going to create a 10-bed, super first-class facility, and I’ll circulate my doctors there so people won’t need to move. They will have the utmost care where they are,” he shares. While its competitors may try to copy this idea, especially those with deeper pockets than Sunshine Hospitals, Gurava is not in the least bit worried about the prospect.
“Right from the beginning, my unique selling proposition is that personal touch,” he says. “You don’t need to cut down your emotions and you don’t need to bury your heart to run a corporate hospital. It can still be run with the utmost success, still having your heart in the right place.” There are many practices which Gurava has implemented to make a stay in hospital more personal for his patients. One such program is Sunshine Delight, where patients are not treated but rather pampered.
“All outpatients and their relatives are served with free coffee, tea, sandwiches and biscuits,” he explains. “In the summer, a nice cold lassi or buttermilk – all free of charge. “And suppose we talk to a patient’s husband about her interests and he tells us, ‘My wife likes Sidney Sheldon novels.’ When she is admitted, there will be a Sidney Sheldon novel waiting in her room.”
Gurava has also implemented a system where each patient’s family gets a real-time health update through WhatsApp. “Communication from our doctors to our patients is so important,” he stresses. “It’s something I ensure happens.”
Such personal care and communication means that the reputation of Sunshine Hospitals has spread by word of mouth, with new domestic and international patients being referred by former patients. This, Guruva believes, is the key to long-term success. It’s the same ideology of care that Gurava has carried through to the relationships Sunshine Hospital has with its vendors.
“I greet my vendors as partners,” he points out. “We have established a relationship-based practice. “I always say that goodwill is an unquantifiable asset in your emotional bank. Nobody can steal it and nobody can rob it. But time and again, that goodwill will bail you out of difficult situations.”
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