A New Type of Workshop to Address Global Health Challenges

In November 2017, key decision makers in Indian health care joined the HKS New Delhi office for a unique workshop, the first in an international series paving the way for new, collaborative initiatives in research and analytics. While the workshop gave clients and colleagues information on HKS’ international research and analytics, it gave HKS an opportunity to understand the challenges and thought processes shaping India’s medical facilities.

“This was the most interesting workshop I’ve ever attended,” said Lalit Varman of Apollo Hospitals. “This kind of workshop helps everyone share their thoughts and make health care planning better.”

In contrast to most workshops, where information is distributed from hosts to attendees, this daylong workshop proposed an exchange of knowledge, with questions aimed at comprehending the burning issues of hospital CEO’s and health care professionals.

By asking the audience questions like “what keeps you awake at night” and “to what extent do you trust the data you have,” we discovered that close to 100 percent of the workshop’s participants have very little trust in the data available to them. While this is a clear problem, it presents an opportunity for new, collaborative research between HKS and workshop participants, with the potential to greatly improve health care outcomes in India.

The workshop was punctuated by numerous interactive exercises and dialogue, leveraging the brain power behind some of the largest health systems in India. We presented research, produced with academic partners at Texas A&M, on emerging cancer care models that inform the shifting paradigm in cancer – now a chronic disease – with a focus on preventive, predictive, precise and participative care.

Dr. Upali Nanda, HKS’ director of research, broke the design process into simple components – why, what and where to build, and how to build, occupy, assess and improve. The role of research and analytics, in providing foresight and insight on meaningful impact, connected each stage of design.

The HKS team demonstrated how capital expenses can improve operational expenses, making the business case that focusing on value, not cost, can improve outcomes in the long run. Using Ohio’s Akron Children’s Hospital as an example, we demonstrated how a lean, integrated project delivery process involving a responsible design framework ensured considerable cost savings, with the additional benefits of ahead of schedule delivery, zero change orders during construction, and increased staff and patient satisfaction.

A hospital in the Delhi National Capital Region was also showcased for its use of these principles for right sizing and cost control, while achieving the cleanest air among similar facilities in the capital.

“It’s a great solace that we can consult this kind of research analysis. The material presented will go a long way in educating this team of experts, who come from various hospitals and architects,” said Dr. Surender Kumar of Fortis Healthcare. “This is the result of a great group who can debate and consult each other for the benefit of all.”

Using this workshop’s success as a stepping-stone, Dr. Nanda and other HKS team members are looking to repeat this format in China and the Middle East to gain a better understanding of patient and health care provider needs in economies positioned for tremendous growth.

“We have a tremendous opportunity, to not only bring our resources as a global firm to countries like India and China, but also to learn from them how innovation can be crafted with fewer, creatively utilized resources,” Dr. Nanda says. “This global exchange of knowledge can truly catapult change within every unique health system.”

The value of this knowledge offers countless opportunities to improve health care outcomes through research and analytics. If you are interested in attending potential future workshops, reach out to us at [email protected].