Quality, Affordable Healthcare – Dr. Iraivan K. Thiyagarajah

There’s something different and special about the Healthcare services in Sri Lanka, especially at Melsta Hospitals Ragama, and according to the Chief Executive Officer of Melsta Health (Pvt) Ltd, Dr. Iraivan K. Thiyagarajah, it boils down to affordability.

Dr. Iraivan began his journey in the Healthcare industry as a Medical Officer at the Apollo Hospital Colombo, known as Lanka Hospitals in the present-day. Progressing in the industry, Dr. Iraivan took a career turn, which guided him to the position of the CEO of Browns Hospital, and eventually a Founder CEO of Melsta Health.

“I’m proud of my career as I started as a mere Medical Officer and today, I have positioned myself as the Executive Director of two hospitals. It’s interesting, because I’m a Doctor by profession and my knowledge in business and management makes it even more interesting. Today, I’m the CEO of Melsta Health, which is a fully-owned subsidiary of Melstacorp PLC, a blue chip company in Sri Lanka. It acquired the management of the renowned and prestigious Joseph Fraser Memorial Hospital and renovated it to a hospital with high standards, and eventually acquired the Browns Hospital as well.”

As claimed by Dr. Iraivan, the Melsta Hospitals Ragama, which is a subsidiary of Melsta Health, is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and reputed consultants from the Colombo North Teaching Hospital.

He continued: “The most important factor is that we provide cost effective, excellent services to the customer. In the private Healthcare sector, the cost plays an integral role. Due to the prevailing situation, people find it difficult to meet the outer-pocket expenses for healthcare, therefore, Melsta Hospitals Ragama is offering the best possible healthcare solutions at a nominal price. I foresee that even the people in Colombo would come to Melsta Hospitals Ragama for their medical needs since the Colombo hospitals are becoming expensive.”

Speaking of how Melsta Health has contributed to the battle against the COVID-19, the Doctor said, “The COVID-19 is a universal problem and has affected all institutions in general. Both, the Melsta Hospitals Ragama and the Joseph Fraser Memorial Hospital, have fought against this. Especially, at Melsta Hospitals Ragama we had a setback with a staff member being infected. However, the team at the Melsta Hospitals Ragama had successfully managed the situation and today, it is one of the safest hospitals in the country. We are extremely happy to say that the hospital staff and the management are aware of how to handle any critical situation with regard to any pandemic. And, both the hospitals have taken adequate precautions to safeguard the interest of the patients and the stakeholders.”

Emphasizing the key challenges faced by Melsta Hospitals Ragama when competing with other organizations in the same industry, Dr. Iraivan stated,

“We have limitations with the availability of Consultants at Melsta Hospitals Ragama because it depends on the Consultants from the Colombo North Teaching Hospital. The other challenge we face is the spending capacity of the people in the area. Due to the low spending capacity, the hospital has taken measures to reduce the consultation and hospitalization fees while maintaining the quality. The consultation fees of Melsta Hospitals Ragama are the lowest in the industry and we are committed to offer the best services at affordable prices.”

When questioned about how technology is shaping the Healthcare industry, the CEO said that technology in the Healthcare industry had always been challenged, especially, in the private sector due to the advancement in medical science with the invention of technology, and the diseases which prompts inventors to develop new technology.

“The private Healthcare sector is quite competitive because technology has dominated the industry. People are becoming more demanding, thus, comparing the facilities of local and foreign hospitals. Therefore, the way of differentiating the Healthcare industry could be with technology and service standards, but like mobile phones, technology also keeps changing, so the investment becomes a challenge for the Healthcare administrator and the hospitals. It’s quite challenging but interesting,” he added.

Medical Tourism will boost a country’s economy while allowing the Medical professionals a more global exposure and experience in the procedures they perform. Elaborating the same, Dr. Iraivan stated, “Sri Lanka is in a better position now to promote Medical Tourism. I strongly believe that rather than promoting low-skilled foreign labour, Sri Lanka should promote its core strengths which is Tourism. Since the incumbent government has taken adequate steps to promote the Tourism industry, I believe, Sri Lanka can position itself as a destination for Medical Tourism. Since most of our Consultants and Doctors are trained in America, European countries and Australasian countries, the cost of medical treatment compared to hospitals in Southeast Asia is quite competitive and the quality of care is much better compared to the regional centers like India. I believe Medical Tourism could be promoted aggressively because most of the hospitals in Sri Lanka, especially in the private sector, have international accreditations such as JCI, Australian accreditations and ISO accreditations. Sri Lanka is in a much better position to promote Medical Tourism, even though there is a threat of COVID-19. The pandemic will end in the near future and the country should prepare itself to embrace the Medical Tourism sector which will bring foreign revenue, satisfaction, and credibility to the country.”

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