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Medgate Today exclusive interview with Founder and CEO of Sukino Healthcare, Mr. Rajinish Menon

Medgate Today spoke to Mr. Rajinish Menon about his journey, and his unique initiative Sukino Healthcare. An inspiring piece of work introducing India's first continuum care provider and changing the lives of thousands of patients

Medgate Today spoke to Mr. Rajinish Menon about his journey, and his unique initiative Sukino Healthcare. An inspiring piece of work introducing India’s first continuum care provider and changing the lives of thousands of patients so far.

CA by profession and vast experience across IT, banking, and energy, how did you manage to have this big shift towards the healthcare sector?

We had seen our loved ones grapple with their illnesses and suffer due to an inconsistent healthcare system. In my case, my mother went through frequent periods of hospitalizations. Sometimes it was for surgery (till date she has had 9 surgeries) whilst in others, it was to manage her pre-existing CVD and Neuro conditions. Each time it was a phenomenal seesaw moment. At times there was hope and help
all-round but at certain other times, we just did not know what to do and thought why we do not have systems working. Here in India, we have piecemeal working systems, and it is left to the patient families to sew it together and one can imagine sewing when the condition of a loved one, and in this case my mom’s condition that was fast going down to acute intervention state at times. This is when I thought
of the CRM processes that enterprises have and how such systems enable one to call and get a very customized warm welcome and solution. A case in point being the American Express card division. They seem to know it all and that is exactly what I wanted in healthcare too. Someone who understood my mom’s case and provide the continuity of advice and help in execution. This was the pain point I had discussed with my founding friends. We sensed there was an intrinsic need to bridge the gap between post-hospital discharge and optimal recovery for patients especially those in need of transitory care. This urged us to explore further, and we worked ceaselessly towards formulating a comprehensive healthcare module. We wanted to offer the finest quality continuum of care services using a
combination of clinical expertise, skilled manpower, and advanced technology to alleviate the physical and emotional pain in patients. Thus, Sukino was born.

When you started Sukino five years ago, what all challenges did you face as India’s first and only continuum care provider?

Let me break down the challenges for them to be understood better. Our first challenge was that of the acceptability of our model. It took some time for us to convince the consultants of the continuum of care model. Most consultants and patients were then comfortable with the model of home care with a human resource provided for care. Whilst we met their need we also went above the normal
expectation and provided a concierge of services to win their trust. This way we built trust and our immersion into healthcare started smoothly. Second, when we set up our continuum care centers, hiring efficient clinical talent was difficult as most of the good consultants and nurses preferred to work for top branded specialist hospitals. We had to meet them repeatedly to convince them about our new
concept. Thankfully, most of them conceded due to our comprehensive and thoughtful service modules and investor profile. As we scale, we experience minor challenges like how we fit our continuum of care in a brown field infrastructure within a residential area without disturbing its tranquility and complying with city guidelines.

Our country faced a huge fall-back last year amidst the pandemic, which created a need for advance and quality healthcare in India, so what were the changes you and your organization went through to deal with the situation? How did you manage to provide the services to your patients post lockdown?

We launched a post-covid-19 multidisciplinary respiratory distress rehabilitative treatment for patients who have recovered yet suffer from the after-effects of Covid-19. Our round-the-clock team of doctors, cardio-pulmonary therapists, nurses, and caregivers with our unique and multidimensional patient-centric approach have helped patients make remarkable progress within just a month of rehabilitative care. We also treat patients with respiratory disorders like COPD, Asthma, Bronchitis, Respiratory Distress Syndrome, and Sleep Apnea. The rehabilitation package is available in our continuum care facilities at Bangalore and Kochi. Seeing the huge adoption of our services and care module, we wish to expand our operations both from the services and geographical perspective. As part of our continuum care offerings, we do intend to provide more services in the segment of oncology, day ambulatory services, and ICU care at home for our patrons. We would like to continue building a domineering presence in Bangalore, Kochi, and the adjoining cities of south India especially the ones that have a pronounced elderly population, people with advanced knowledge of healthcare, and an awareness of the concept of continuum care. And double down our investments. We have already drawn a road map to take our services to select cities of South India. Chennai, Hyderabad, Vijayawada are on our radar. We have a marquee investor group, and we are confident that necessary support will always come from them. I have always believed in good debt and equity mix and our fundraising will mirror this line of thinking.

How do you stay updated with the advancements in the healthcare sector?

We are in the core healthcare services sector and its imperative that we understand the new age developments in various fields of chronic ailments. Of course, this is needed from a perspective of keeping our patrons updated on the latest available treatment procedures and protocols. As you know, we follow the treatment plans of the primary consultant, and unless there is an emergency we don’t do
anything contrary to what the primary consultant would have advised. Hence, keeping abreast of the advancements and helping patients and their families understand is all that we do. Our knowledge advancement is primarily through the daily interactions we have with almost all the specialist consultants of our patients and these specialists are based both within India and abroad. Interacting
with such a diaspora gives us a good information flow.

What are your key achievements that you would like to share?

We are very happy to share that we have helped more than 5000 patients to date get better in their journey of recuperation and rehabilitation. Even in the case of providing palliation, the number of gratitude letters we get from our patrons runs into a good sizeable 3-digit number. For us, this kind of positive feedback is a huge validation of our model, something we are immensely proud of. Setting up
200 plus beds across 5 centers in itself proves the acceptance of our model, and now we are in the process of expansion so that more patients can benefit. When specialist consultants seek you out, it means you are doing something right!


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