Even while juggling multiple roles – as an investor in Chennai Angels, an advisor to businesses, a teacher at B-schools, and a mentor of startups – what is top on the mind of Sameer Mehta, the group CEO of Mehta Hospitals is the 80th year milestone of his institution, which sees thousands of customers every year. During a brief interaction with YourStory, he observed how, in health care, many medical professionals dedicate big chunks of their life. It was moving to hear Sam recall, for instance, the services of late Dr A. N. Parthasarathy, who was associated with the hospital for 50 years. “The ultimate tribute is where the family shows you the photographs and videos of Dr Parthasarathy, and these are all in Dr Mehta’s Hospital,” reminisces Sam.
I think you have to thank the people who had shared the journey with you. Clinicians, doctors, nurses, technicians, and other health care workers sacrificed a lot of time, and worked for the hospital, despite many glorious opportunities in other parts of the world. They shared time with us. It is a big thing working with people and making them feel comfortable, making them feel respected. We are not a large corporate house. We do not put targets on clinicians. We don’t say that you have to give this number of cases, this number of investigations, that’s not the right way of approaching health care. The right way of approaching things, we think, is if you share time with technicians and partners to look after your customers.
You make customers feel that they are part of the extended family. We share time with people who are going through transitions, transitions to a tougher part of the journey. We are one of the largest birthing centres in the city, so the obstetrics and gynaecology practice here is one of the biggest in the city. I think a lot of it has to do with personal touch. The irony is that some of the newer players who come to health care say they have facilities that don’t exist. We always said we got facilities that we have today. We are always honest, and at the end of the day it is the clinician who carries a lot of pain.
We will never turn away anybody from Dr Mehta’s. Our target audience is the middle income group across Chennai, across Tamil Nadu. We get the sick from Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Assam, and the North-East. And we get them from the US, Africa, too, but you know they are not our primary customers. Our primary customers are in front of us; it’s somebody from Chennai city, close by. We look after you, and we will do our best. We won’t deliver a perfect world, because, sometimes, you come to us on the roughest day of your life. We hope to help you at that time.
More than anything else, if you see the fact that grandparents, parents, children, and the grandchildren are born in your institution, you got something very different. Because it’s very hard; and this is the thing that took me a long time to understand. I will be quite honest. I come from the world of McKinsey and Shell and big companies; and, I see here people who do things on a very basic level, day in and day out, especially the nursing community, and the technician community, and a lot of senior consultant doctors who can do many things in many parts of the world. Our technicians, nurses and staff, and the families that stick behind them, and allow them to come to work every day happily, it’s not that easy. In fact, the family is the biggest secret.