Sunday, September 18, 2011

Aravind Eye Care System

For people who may not know about doctor Dr.V, Founder of Arvind eye care systems. Here is an article written by me for my academic purpose. Just have a look at it. Useful and interesting.

At present the medical science has a tremendous development and achieved some amazing breakthrough in terms of innovation, pushing frontiers of surgery, transplant technology, drug therapy and a host of other research fields to make the people live a dignified and healthy life.
But the medical treatment has always been an expensive or costlier means for the poor people. The poor people were unable to afford huge amount of money needed for medical treatment.
This is especially in case of eye related treatment. Thus in order to make this eye related treatments and corrective surgery Dr. Venkataswamy who worked as the head of the Department of Ophthalmology at the Government Medical College in Madurai, who had the vision for eliminating curable blindness started Aravind Eye Clinics.
That vision drove programmes of innovation which persists today and has already achieved significantly against the original goals. The Aravind Eye Care System is the largest and most productive eye care facility in the world.
Whilst there are many complex optical disorders, cataracts are not generally regarded as a difficult challenge in eye care. But for nearly fifty million people around the world and nine million in India cataracts mean blindness. Dr V’s vision was to target and treat this group, using the simple tools and techniques which he and colleagues had worked with over many years but bringing them into the reach of everyone.
This report is concentrated majorly upon the HR related strategies followed by Aravind Eye Care System.

In the HR perspective some successful strategies that are followed by Dr. Venkataswamy and Aravind eye care systems in order to achieve their vision successfully are discussed.

One of the strategies which he followed was “Design Thinking”, which was actually Thomas Alwa Edison’s idea. This is a methodology for practical, creative resolution of problems or issues that looks for an improved future result. As a style of thinking, it is the ability to combine empathy for the context of a problem, creativity in the generation of insights and solutions, and rationality to analyze and fit solutions to the context. Thus he formulated new innovative methods of training to the Doctors and introduced the concept of two surgeries at same time. This is like one doctor with four helping nurses, in this two will be helping the doctor and two are the running nurses. This strategy was introduced mainly in order to increase the no patients getting benefitted in a particular period of time. Thus by “Design Thinking” he made increase quality and utilization of time.
Along with this the Division of Labour also practiced in performing the surgeries. In fact these principles of division of labour go right back to the 18th century and the observations of Adam Smith on pin-making in the early days of the UK’s factory system, but they represent a powerful model which Dr V. was able to adapt.

This strategy may not be complete human resource concept, but along with slight financial terms it needs its accomplishment with human resources department of the system. As we know that Aravind Eye Care System has a policy of charging only to the patients who can afford to pay. And free treatment for the poor people. This was the first ever thought and ambition of Dr.V. In fact what Dr V wanted to do was find a way of making service available to poor people like what C.K. Prahalad calls, ‘the bottom of the pyramid’.
He also found inspiration in McDonalds, the fast food company which has managed to spread its golden-arched empire across the planet based on systematic, high volume production of a range of meals offered at low cost. Central to their success is the idea of reproducibility. Dr.V was able to understand from this concept is that with high no of patients the cost incurred may be lowered. This in turn will also pave way for lucrative compensation for ophthalmologist. Thus talented doctor will be attracted to work in Aravind eye care systems.

Aravind systems believes that appropriate training is required at all levels to work as a cohesive team and this has become one of the core activities that being carried out from the early eighties, aligning to the mandates of the global initiative, Vision 2020 – the Right to Sight.
So in order to supply the quality service they started an Institute for Community Ophthalmology. This institute assists Aravind eye hospitals in improving the three broad dimensions as given
1. Organizational Capacity Building
2. Enhancing the Capacity for Patient Care
3. Capacity Building in Human Resource Development
Dr.V also inspired by Ford’s “SYSTEM” approach for example, a dedicated factory for producing lenses, a training center to provide key skills, specialist ophthalmic research centers, and an international eye bank.
• Another important element in the system approach is the attention given in training to ensure an adequate supply of key skills. Ophthalmic assistants are taken on and trained each year to support the specialist doctors, whilst other skills such as counseling and education are also developed via dedicated training courses. Significantly recruitment and motivation are still strongly linked to the core values of Dr V. There is a strong social welfare commitment which means that staffs often work for comparatively less than they could earn in other parts of India’s health system.
• The doctors were also trained to perform the operation with all high standards the important factor that this operations is not only provided at low cost but also there is no compromising on quality of work done. For e.g. infection rate in 2004 was about 4 per 10,000 cases at Aravind, while the UK published infection rate was 6 per 10,000.

Models of the learning curve effect and the closely related experience curve effect express the relationship between equations for experience and efficiency or between efficiency gains and investment in the effort. It demonstrates that the more we do something the better we become at doing it.
• With such a high volume of surgery, 200,000 plus cases per year, with each doctor carrying out around 2600 operations/year (against an Indian average of around 400) here comes a rich learning opportunity. The principles of the ‘experience curve’ have applied across many different industrial sectors and there is no reason to suppose that healthcare is any different. Learning by doing is a powerful aid to developing robust systems.
Thus the Aravind model is now being looked at by many health authorities around the world.

Author: Sooraj R,

1 comment:

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