Dr Sanjeev Singh | Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences
Dr Sanjeev Singh is blending technology, passion and inspirational mentorship to bring back the touch of care into healthcare.
Dr Sanjeev Singh is the Medical Director of Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences & Research Center (Delhi-NCR) and Chief Medical Superintendent at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi.
We begin the session by inviting Dr Singh to capture his personal and professional identity briefly for our audiences. As it turns out, the man has had an eventful journey around the atlas, with leading global organizations. Here’s an excerpt…
“I’m a pediatrician by training and post passing out as a resident of Pediatrics. I practiced Neonatology & Pediatrics at my parent town in Jaipur after passing out from SMS Medical College Jaipur. I than got an opportunity to join Disease eradication program at WHO (World Health Organization). This was a very enlightening years understanding the nuances of Public Health and working closely with GOI and policy advocates at Center and States.
We move on to Dr. Sanjeev Singh’s career trajectory. The idea leader reflects on the ‘wonder year’s and shares…
“I joined Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in Kochi as a faculty and Medical Superintendent of the hospital. The hospital was a 1350 bed university teaching hospital which also has a Medical College, Dental College, Pharmacy and Nursing College. I started the accreditation process of Medical College through Medical Council of India. I was instrumental in designing and building a State-of-the-art teaching hospital which aided medical education and clinical care. Following several other medical accreditations, we also got into the domain of postgraduate medical education programs, such as MD/MS and DM/MCh, other than select fellowship and advanced Degree courses in clinical specialities. I had a keen interest in establishing Structure, Process and Outcome in the hospital and initiated SOPs in all clinical and non-clinical areas. I also got closely associated with the National Accreditation Board of Hospitals (NABH) during its formative years and worked as member technical committee for 2 terms and was responsible for drafting standards. Passion towards quality was reflected in improving Patients’ experience and including Risk assessment and risk management at all levels of care through robust engagement with all clinicians. Amrita was the first university teaching hospital in the country to be accredited with NABH, NABL.
Around this time, I met an infectious disease physician from Michigan (US) who was visiting our facility. This rendezvous led to my interest in infection prevention and control and antibiotics stewardship. This was around the year 2005, wherein we were one of the first institutes to lay down surveillance structure and do data analytics for safer care. I subsequently went ahead to do my PhD in infection prevention from Amrita University and worked extensively in developing most advanced “In House” software along with Cost effective care for all Healthcare Associated Infections. Following this, I have attained a few Fellowship programs around Patient Safety and Healthy Worker Safety from the University of Virginia (US). I also took Fellowship in Health Technology Assessment from the University of Adelaide, and Fellowship from the International Society for Quality - which happens to be the topmost body for quality globally. I also became Improvement Advisor in Institute of Healthcare Improvement (IHI), US.
I have worked extensively in drafting and implementing State Level (Kerala) Infection Prevention Strategy and Antimicrobial Resistance Containment Program as a technical advisor for the State. I have worked with Drug Safety Council (GOI), National Advisory Board for Occupational Exposure and National Coordinator for Point Prevalence Surveillance. So this has been my journey. And then it's been couple of years that I was asked to take additional charge as a medical director for a new facility coming up in Faridabad, Delhi-NCR. This is again a university teaching hospital and campus. I am currently essaying dual responsibilities – as a medical director in the Faridabad Facility and as a Chief Medical superintendent at Kochi.”
Every idea leader is driven by a big passion. We wonder what that might be for Dr. Singh. What is the driving philosophy that defines his life’s mantra. The man shares spontaneously…
“I think what is important for me is to keep inspiring people. There has to be a joy in the workplace, along with professionalism. I like to balance both. So those who work with us should be should be performance driven, competent and skilled, but they should also enjoy what they are doing. They should feel happy to come to hospital each day. So for me, the big question is : Can I create or inspire people to attain passion in their area of work and give back to the community? It doesn’t matter what the domain of expertise is - it could be clinical, it could be nonclinical, it would be administrative, it could be an overall comprehensive development. So that is one part.”
“The second aspect that defines my passion is improving patient experiences with the evidence based quality care delivery. It is an often used, and abused, term these days - but there are powerful data driven tools today that can actually make a difference when implemented properly, and turn healthcare truly personal.
Patient centricity is essentially a Western terminology. For India, the concept is both Carer AND Patient centric. It started with the idea of an attendant who comes with the patient who keeps changing almost every two days and he or she carries most of the information of the patient and narrates the patient's story to the nursing staff and the doctors, whereas patient participation is limited.
My goal is to reinstate and reimagine this CARER + PATIENT CENTRIC FRAMEWORK for the new age with evidence based quality interventions at all levels - Be it customer satisfaction, clinical care, patients, reported outcomes or just the comfort care within the hospital.”
Every leader’s crusade begins with a point of inspiration. Was there a similar inflexion point in Dr. Singh’s life – something that changed the equation completely? As it happens, the answer is in the affirmative. The idea champion quenches our curiosity with a detailed narration…
“Post my stint with the WHO, I was in a vacation in Delhi and there is where my life took a turn. I got the ‘darshan’ of Amma (Mata Amritanandmayi Devi) whose hug was so blissful and enlightening that my Life changed. She also asked me to work in her hospital at Kochi. Amma being a Divine Satguru, it is seen as an indication that my life may have a deeper spiritual purpose, and I subsequently joined Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in Kochi as a faculty and also in administration as Medical Superintendent.
Amma has played a role in whatever I am today. She is Founder of our Institute and the university, but above all, she is a divine, humanitarian with spiritual presence. The more you see her, interact with her and engage with her, the more you realize that the secret of life is to get the small, often ignored and apparently insignificant things in life right. And to be compassionate and love giving to the society. Reach out to the under privileged and needy who are in pain and require basic healthcare needs at an affordable high quality care.
Everybody talks about empathy, but Amma is a living and breathing embodiment of the concept. She embodies empathy, energy, compassion and love. I lost my mother almost 25 years back - but having Amma in my life has been an extremely fulfilling experience full of motherly love and care. She charges you up with positive vibrations – so that you are rejuvenated not only to focus back on your work, but to be inspired enough to give back to society as well. It could be through an act that is as small as a cleanliness drive, where the focus is to involve participation across the community and the organizational hierarchy – right from the top leadership to the bottom most rung – and ensure every member is fired up by the common zeal of respecting and recapturing the glory of nature. Amma plays a lead in all these activities with her highly innovative and cost-intelligent ideas, which is a result of her divine consciousness and a proactive interest in the newest technologies.”
Dr. Singh moves on to a passion zone – turning hi end health truly affordable and accessible for those at the bottom rung (high touch) of the social ladder. He explains…
“Be it a PET CT and PET MR for which we have had a second installation in the country… A robotic training center that is the first of its kind in Southeast Asia... or a 3D navigation system… robotic interventions in unexplored areas like neurosurgery, orthopedics (again a ‘first’ in the country) … Amma has a keen sense for the latest and most contemporary technologies.
And while she welcomes it with an open heart and mind, Amma always stresses that the wonders of tech must be disbursed at an affordable price to the community. And that is where there is a challenge. And that is where she drives us to strategize, to work with the finest minds in the industry… and figure out how to boost operational efficiencies and reduce cost.
So yes, Amma has been a profound guiding force, and I am extremely privileged that she provides us blessings and grace on a daily basis – so that we can go back and enjoy the work we do, and feel passionate and empowered about our mission. The big goal is to work as a close knit team that is continuously interacting and engaging with each other, with patients, with carers and with the community to foster an environment that is positive, stimulating and healing - all the while keeping an unerring eye on the highest yardsticks of quality and tech centric care.”
While the divine grace of Amma has been steadily pushing Dr Sanjeev Singh and his team to higher and higher levels of performance, she isn’t the only one that has left a strong impression on his idea leader’s life. Explains Dr. Singh…
“Another gentleman who has left a strong mark on me is Dr. Ashoke Saini, who was the co-guide in my PhD program and a person of great repute, skill and with spiritual inclination. When I was trying to get into hospital management and learn all the nuances, he brought in this concept of how to be patient-centric and safety-first, and how to keep monitoring performance dashboards and indicators to stay on top of performance and deliveries. So Dr. Ashoke Saini has also had a huge role to play in whatever we do.
My wife has been a pillar of support as well. She has suffered with many medical complications and has been hospitalized during PG days for 6 months in ICU. She has undergone 5 major surgical procedures and spinal issues decapitating her. Despite her medical illnesses, she has been a great support, true friend and a great soulmate. She has allowed me to travel, grow and work extensively in my field, while she took care of my father and my son. Her sacrifice, love and investment in our life, has been fulfilling with a strong purpose.
Of course, my mother who has been my best friend and guide and despite constraints, she gave me all comfort and direction in my life. There is nothing more precious than seeing your become a MAN and be your friend, who helps in all processes and a fantastic shoulder of support in need as well.
Apart from them, there is Mr. Prem Nair, the overall Group Medical Director (including the Director of the Kochi campus) who truly stands tall as an inspirational figure. The way he performs, the manner in which he interacts with people, and the way he keeps introducing and embedding fresh ideas that are high on technology, touch, care and affordability… is truly unique.”
It is time to wind down a truly memorable session with an idea champion who is taking his passion for care to exciting and unexplored new frontiers. So is there anything Dr. Sanjeev Singh wants to share with the healthcare community and colleagues via the Voice of Healthcare platform? The man generously obliges…
“I think there is lot of dynamic changes which are happening in healthcare. There is huge involvement from government. They have brought in a great policy change, and are working extensively on mammoth missions like digital health missions, Ayushman Bharat, and COVID pandemic preparedness. The public sector, too, has been in dynamic mode, with tremendous levels of competition driving fantastic quality work by highly skilled professionals and extremely competent leaders. India is delivering outcomes that is superb, outstanding and truly remarkable. There is a lot of newer technology coming through in the industry, such as the pharmaceutical market for instance…
What I would like to say is that we need to coordinate all this activity. Unfortunately, there is a divide between public and private. The public sector feels that the private sector is minting money. The private sector feels that the government is creating hurdles in its way. So we stand divided. If only we can turn the table and unlock common synergies, we can do wonders.
Secondly, we are unfortunately becoming very commercial in our approach. Things currently are very transactional. So even a doctor - who is extremely well educated and working hard – is reduced and relegated to only collecting money. I think this is both demeaning to, and an injustice to, his substantial training and significant ability. What we need are souls who let their compassion, care and humanity lead. Instead of a transactional approach, healing must happen in a constructive context… there must be a constant fire and hunger - to get better, to learn new things, to mentor the next generation.
That is where Voice of Healthcare can intervene and create transformation with the next generation of doctors and professionals – via sharing knowledge, inspiring growth and building the next generation of leaders.
Another thing. Why are we always following Western technologies and Western processes, why can't we have something which is new? There have been so many noble inventions in our nation in mathematics, physics, economics and more. So why can't we have something which is completely new and Indianized? Well, that will only happen when we jettison our commercial approach… and co-build ecosystem that celebrates culture, creation, mentorship, empathy and achievement. Some ways to achieve this is to (1) build a highly accomplished and inspired pool of professionals, paramedical and nursing staff… (2) Robust public - private participation…. and (3) a very comprehensive clinical care and supportive care framework.
This story is published by VOH team.
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