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Digital Health is Impacting the World & the Future of Healthcare

Dr. Harish Pillai CEO Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings Dr Harish's exciting career in Healthcare Management? Am not sure of the adjective 'exciting ' to describe my career; yes the journey from Hyderabad to Dubai to Cairo to Kochi to

Dr. Harish Pillai
Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings

Dr Harish’s exciting career in Healthcare Management?
Am not sure of the adjective ‘exciting ‘ to describe my career; yes the journey from Hyderabad to Dubai to Cairo to Kochi to Bangalore to Manila does sound like having several fascinating pit stops and it truly has been. The principles of hospital management are the same everywhere and in my journey thus far I was very fortunate to climb the ladder from bottom-up starting in 1999 as an Executive Assistant to the MD of Apollo Hospitals to 2021 as the CEO of a Holding company that manages the largest hospital network in the Philippines. What has always been a blessing is the rich treasure trove of lifelong friendships with my staff and peer groups from all these locations even after leaving and moving on to the adventure called life.
How do you see Indian Healthcare? Your key learnings during your time with Indian Healthcare?
Indian Healthcare is on the cusp of transformative changes due to change in the attitude of the government and society at large. Covid has put the right spotlight on the deficiencies and solutions; with increased political capital and budget allocations the current inequities in the system will dissipate over time and a minimum assurance of quality along with ease of accessibility and affordability will be the mantra. My key learnings have been :

  • Adopt the right strategic plan based on location and market conditions
    Build a robust ecosystem that nurtures clinical, service and business excellence
  • Invest in a good clinical governance system that encourages evidence-based practice of medicine
  • Disciplined and cost-efficient operations that are detailed and ensure sustainable margins
  • Importance of an open and transparent management style that engages closely with staff
  • Deep and closer engagement with regulatory agencies to have an open dialogue
  • Impactful contributions to the communities in which we are located
  • Leverage technology for ease of access and enhance clinical and service operations
  • Invest in people and create a sustainable culture which is the bedrock of excellence

What factors made you move to Manila? Your role and responsibilities, future plans?
The opportunity in Manila came out of the blue; being an avid history and culture buff, I had always nurtured a desire to also work in South East Asia and it was just the ‘Universe’ responding to my subconscious prayers. As the CEO of a healthcare holding company that currently has the largest and a growing network of hospitals in the Philippines; it is a transformative opportunity to work alongside my colleagues and raise the bar in clinical and service excellence. We will continue to grow mostly via M&A and at the same time create an integrated health care delivery model that will support the communities we serve.
How digital health is impacting the world & the Future of healthcare?
Each decade has brought in its wake incredible changes that completely alter the face of an entire system; albeit healthcare has been slow off the block, however, the pace at which innovations are being churned out, this decade will mark an inflection point in mankind’s short history. I believe it will democratize healthcare and improve the quality of access multifold and bring down the cost of care. It will make the healthcare system less chaotic, more organized and infinitely safer. The melting pot of bioinformatics, machine learning and artificial intelligence will help us detect epidemic and pandemics earlier and conquer it in record time; we will soon find a cure for all cancers. Science fiction will become a reality by combining cutting edge, cost-effective and portable diagnostic tools with nanotechnology and genetic repair. The near term challenge will not be the burden of disease but the impact of climate change and access to potable water.
One earth one health – Insight on Global healthcare?
Unlike civil aviation where we have a global standard for safety; One earth one health is still a far cry for the WHO and the pervasive discrimination seen in Covid vaccine distribution has shown our ugly and selfish selves even though we are aware that in a pandemic no one is safe until each one is safe. The governance system of the WHO needs to be redone and the undue influence of nation-states based on the share of monetary contributions needs to be eliminated. Covid 19 has shown us as a highly vulnerable species and we sincerely hope that the hard and bitter lessons on the missteps in managing this pandemic will result in a new world order – One earth one health!



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