Leading a Major Healthcare Facility with Graceful Ease

Sandhya

Thiruvananthapuram: Running a super specialty hospital is not an easy job even for the toughest of people given its sensitive nature. It is a stressful 24×7 engagement. But here is a woman who is managing a 300-bed hospital with close to three dozen specialties with ease. Meet Dr. Sandhya K S, the CEO & Executive Director of S K Hospital at Edappazhinji, near Pangode Military Station in Thiruvananthapuram.

A down-to-earth person, Dr. Sandhya hates to remain within the framework of a Chief Executive or follow the bossy way of ordering things around. Unassuming and thoroughly unpretentious, she is much like one among the hundreds of employees of the hospital. “Be it in the hospital or at home, I love to be simple. I do not have any problem in manning the pharmacy store or donning the role of a GM if required. I regularly communicate with the employees, constantly learn things and make changes if required,” says Dr. Sandhya, who joined the family-owned business as Management Executive around seven years ago after securing PG in Hospital Management from Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad.

For her, entrepreneurship was a natural choice. S K Hospital was set up in 2003 when Dr. Sandhya was doing her medicine course in Adichunchanagiri Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS), Karnataka. Her father, K N Sivan Kutty is the Chairman and Managing Partner of S K Hospital. “For us, this is a hard-earned property. With the support of my father, we are building the business in tune with the values and culture we follow as a family. Unlike other hospitals, we have our own style of functioning. Our objective is to provide utmost care to our patients so that they should feel comfortable. We are always accessible to the patients. They are absolutely free to bring their issues to our notice over phone or in person any time,” says the young entrepreneur, who describes herself as a very family-oriented person.

Being a woman entrepreneur, Dr. Sandhya says she never faced any specific challenge based on her gender. “In my experience, I think there is acceptance for women entrepreneurs at all levels. But, more women should come forward to this space. I believe women can manage things in a better way. There is an inherent knack for women to deal with things more easily. Unlike men, women have the capability to work with contentment. Either they are not realising it or suppressing the skills within themselves for various reasons. Given proper education and exposure, they will do wonders, and in turn, the world will become a better place to live,” says Dr. Sandhya, who has a passion for singing and driving.

S K Hospital had a humble beginning with 40 beds, mainly catering to the medical needs of the lower and middle income strata of society. Now, 14 years after its inception, the hospital has emerged as one of the most sought-after healthcare destinations in the State capital with seven operation theatres, state-of-the-art facilities for gastroenterology, diabetology, gynaecology and neonatology, and oral and maxillo-facial surgery. The tertiary care facility has secured NABH Safe-I accreditation. The proximity to Pangode Military Station has made the hospital a hub of Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS). Around 30 per cent of the patients seeking medical care here fall under this category. It is also a major centre of Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) in the region.

“The growth of the hospital is testimony to the dedication and hard work of our committed medicos and other para-medical staff. Their unflinching support facilitated the realisation of our dream. We are in constant interaction with the employees to understand and address their issues. This has helped us to keep the attrition rate really low. We could also rope in some of the most talented professionals to head various departments,” she says.

Dr. Sandhya is now busy looking after renovation of existing facilities at the hospital. “We are expanding the Cardiology department by setting up advanced facilities for cardiothoracic surgery. The Gynaecology centre will soon have facilities for IVF treatment. We currently operate a clinic at Peyad, a few kilometres away from the hospital, to handle emergencies in that area. We also have a plan to set up an exclusive centre for Gynaecology in Thiruvananthapuram in the future. Recently, our outpatient (OP) wing has become completely paperless. We are in the process of implementing the same for inpatient (IP) section also,” she adds.

Currently, the management is evaluating whether to source Private Equity (PE) funding for further expansion. “Besides my parents, my sister is also a partner in the business. Of course, we need to rope in investors to upgrade the facilities in tune with the advancement in technology. Each day, major changes are happening in healthcare sector. Being a leading healthcare provider, we are committed to offer our patients an opportunity to leverage modern facilities. It requires huge investment but we cannot pass the entire burden to the public. We are aware of this. But, we have not taken a decision in this regard so far,” she says.