How Dr Mohan’s Diabetes Specialities Centre grew from a few rented rooms to 30 clinics

18th Aug 2017
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Dr Mohan’s Diabetes Specialities Centre offers comprehensive diabetic services through 30 branches all over India. It recently raised $10.23 million and is looking to establish 100 centres in the future.

Dr Mohan’s Diabetes Specialities Centre had its humble beginnings in a few rental rooms of a building in Royapettah, Chennai. Dr V. Mohan, the founder was well-experienced in this field, having worked with his father for 20 years. He had also helped him establish the M.V. Hospital for Diabetes in North Chennai. Dr Mohan is also the President and Director of the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation in Chennai and was awarded the Padma Shri for his work in the field of diabetology.

Initially, the Centre had a team of 20 people, which included Dr Rema Mohan, his late wife and also an Ophthalmologist trained in diabetes retinopathy. She was also instrumental in the setup and growth of Dr Mohan’s Diabetes Specialities Centre. The other members included an Ophthalmologist who worked with Dr Rema and, Dr NG Sastry, a student at M.V. Hospital for Diabetes who joined the diabetology team.

(L-R) Subham Bardhan - CEO, Dr R.M. Anjana - Managing Director, Dr Ranjit Unnikrishnan - Vice Chairman, Dr V. Mohan - Chairman

The initial days

“We formed the core team, and along the way, added managers, dieticians, and laboratory staff. From the beginning, we aligned everyone to the idea of setting up a diabetes specialities centre. We now have over 1000 people working at the centre,” says Dr Mohan.

Once Rema joined and got a specialisation in diabetes specific eye diseases, the team decided to focus on complications arising from diabetes, that affected the feet, heart, kidneys, nerves, etc.

“A year before we left my father’s hospital, we were on holiday at Thekkady and suddenly I came up with the idea of the Centre. My wife agreed to join me, and from then, there has been looking back,” says Dr Mohan.

The challenges

The specialists at the Centre comprise diabetologists, ophthalmologists, general surgeons, Orthopaedic surgeons, biochemists, IT personnel, diabetes educators, technicians and others. Many of them were trained in-house while others were recruited based on their experience in other organisations.

Though Dr Mohan had worked at M.V. Hospital and came with experience of setting up a centre, he faced challenges of his own. “We had no funds and had to borrow heavily from banks, financial institutions and friends. Some patients also came forward to help,” adds Dr Mohan.

With location, experience and technology as advantages, the Centre’s growth was rapid.

Looking at complete diabetes care

India has often been referred to as the diabetes capital of the world. According to a report by the Indian Council of Medical Research-Indian Diabetes (ICMR-INDIAB), more than 10 percent of urban Indians have diabetes and many are undiagnosed.

Diabetes is also responsible for several fatal diseases of the eye, kidneys and heart. While top hospitals like Apollo and Columbia Asia have their own diabetes centres, there are other specialised diabetes centres like Kovai Diabetes, Coimbatore and MS Diabetes Speciality Centre based in Bengaluru.

The team claims to be one of the first diabetes centres in the world to obtain the ISO 9000 certification in 1998. They also have to their credit certifications from NABL, College of American Pathologists (CAP) and recognition from several national and international bodies.

While Dr Mohan refused to share revenue details, he says that their model is different from that of a regular hospital. He says, “This is because most of our branches are outpatient clinics. Only about five percent of patients require inpatient services. Most of the revenue comes from investigations, i.e., the laboratory and the consultations.”

Perfecting the model

A report by Ken Research suggests that while the Indian insulin market is witnessing development it is yet to mature. It further stated only 25 percent of diabetics are currently receiving treatment.

Dr Mohan informs that the Centre has perfected the screening model for complications, where they not only assess the type of diabetes but also whether there are any complications arising from the disease.

“We do a complete screening of the eye, kidneys, heart and feet and this helps us to not only treat diabetes but also the complications. We also go a step further and counsel families to identify high-risk individuals in the next generation and help them to prevent diabetes,” adds Mohan.

The team is aiming to scale their operations from 30 branches to 100 in the next three to four years. In April this year, Lok Capital invested $10.23 million in the company.

Future plans

“What sets us apart is that we go to the core of the problem, identify the type and cause of diabetes, and offer tailor -made treatment.  We call this ‘Precision Diabetes’ or ‘Personalised Diabetes’, adds Dr Mohan.

Primarily based out of Chennai and Tamil Nadu, the team is now looking at a pan-India expansion.

“Our plan is open more centres in the four southern states. We are now in New Delhi and Lucknow and in the future would like to expand to other parts of the country. Our aim is to focus on areas where diabetes is still underserved and bring our specialised services to them,” says Dr Mohan.

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