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SUT Hospital: A promise to prioritizing ‘care before commerce’…

Modern healthcare has witnessed some phenomenal shifts in the past two decades owing to tech integration, patient-centric care, datadriven decision making and several other factors. Creating value-based models is quite significant for the healthcare players to speak to the global populace.

Harnessing the power of advanced healthcare alterations, Pattom Sree Uthradam Thirunal Hospital aka SUT Hospital, has been a cornerstone of modern healthcare in Thiruvananthapuram for over thirty-five years.

To cover the overall journey as well as the length and breadth of the institution, we sat down with Col Rajeev Mannali, the CEO, for a virtual interview. In the conversation, we discussed various aspects of the institution and its worth more than a glance at the journey of revolutionizing the healthcare experience in the country. We hope the insights shared here would befit your entrepreneurial fervor and offer you insightful ideas to contemplate.

The profile

SUT Hospital was established in 1987. Since its inception, it is bridging critical healthcare gaps in the region. So far, it has emerged as a trailblazer in providing tertiary and quaternary healthcare services to people.

The foundation of the institution was laid by Dr. C Bharath Chandran, a distinguished cardiologist and strengthened by the steadfast commitment of its clinical and support teams. The hospital has become a leader in healthcare, crafting a narrative of unmatched excellence in treatment and pa – tient care.

Under the visionary leadership of Chairman B R Shetty, SUT Hospital has reached unprecedented heights as a premier healthcare provider. Collaborative efforts from all stakeholders have been instrumental in not just navigating challenges but also propelling the hospital towards the pinnacle of excellence.

Under his guidance, the hospital has transformed into a dynamic institu – tion that seamlessly integrates cutting-edge medical advancements with compassionate care, fostering an environment where patients not only recover but thrive.

When referring to what sets the institution apart from the rest, Col. Mannali articulated that it stemmed from its transformation from a renowned palace into a healthcare facility. After a huge change in ownership which occurred in 2012-2013 under the leadership of Dr. B.R. Shetty and the group, the hospital scaled to greater heights.

This shift marked its evolution into a common man’s hospital, shattering the typical image of prestigious medical institutions. As mentioned by Dr. B.R. Shetty, the chairman, the hospital’s ethos revolves around prioritizing the primacy of human life over financial benefits unlike most multi-specialty hospitals.

The leader in command

Col. Rajeev Mannali leads the institution from the forefront based on his extensive experience of serving the Indian Army. His spectacular voyage is a testament to versatility and excellence that blends tenor with profound dedication. Starting his academic and professional training at a young age, he transitioned from a distinguished military career to a transformative role in healthcare leadership.

His military career speaks volumes of his valor and leadership. In this expedition, he spearheaded pivotal roles during active operations and strategic diplomatic engagements. When he transitioned his career to healthcare after retiring from defense services, he led institutions to premier status based on his learning from his previous roles that made him earn accolades for excellence in management.

“My approach is to consider leadership over management principles. I draw inspiration from my military background. We focus on caring for our people, fostering a people-centric environment in a dynamic workforce oriented environment like the one prevalent Kerala.

Encouraging managers to embody leadership qualities, we aim to create a culture of leadership at every level. My goal is to nurture and empower more leaders, ensuring that the organization can function independently without reliance solely on top leadership,” explained Col Mannali about his leadership mantra that has been shaping the institution’s growth.

Col. Mannali’s influence has now extended beyond healthcare where he has led many initiatives in societal development and has been applauded nationally. In a nutshell, his journey is an inspiring narrative of sheer dedication, resilience and a steadfast commitment to excellence, making him a multifaceted luminary in both military and healthcare domains.

A Legacy of Innovation

SUT Hospital never fails to amaze its peers with its innovative streak. In its early years, the institution was successful in launching several groundbreaking milestones, including hosting Kerala’s first beating heart surgery and performing the first complicated mitral valvuloplasty within three years of its establishment. These milestones speak volumes on the hospital’s dedication to pushing the boundaries of medical science and delivering state-of-the-art treatments.

A pledge to serve people

SUT Hospital has been grabbing nationwide acclaim for its dedication to serving people. And this assertion is evident in the hospital’s policy of not increasing tariffs for the past six years, a remarkable feat that sets it apart from other institutions.

This commitment to affordability and accessibility aligns with the hospital’s mission to provide the best care, including primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary services, at rates that could allow the community to afford ‘best- in-class healthcare’. Indeed, this mindfulness stands in contrast to practices observed elsewhere testifying the hospital’s unwavering focus on ensuring quality healthcare, accessible to all.

Receiving the Young Indian Excellence in Healthcare Award from Hon’ble Governor of Kerala Shri Arif Mohammad Khan on 10th Dec 2023.

Guiding the leadership as the CEO, Col. Manalli has guided SUT’s values such that it is able to provide affordable treatment. highlighting that the hospital has maintained consistent treatment costs over the past six years.

Despite challenges such as fluctuating exchange rates and the need for advanced medical equipment upgrades, SUT prioritizes cost-effectiveness, ensuring that top-quality healthcare remains accessible to all. The hospital adheres to the principle of “Pulse before Purse” as articulated by the Chairman Dr. B R Shetty.

Patient centric approach

SUT Hospital’s unique selling points (USPs) are deeply rooted in its historical ties and patient-centric mindset. Worth noting is the fact that it is named after a revered ruler of the Travancore royal family.

And based on this, the hospital embodies a legacy of royalty and heritage while fostering a strong relationship with the royal lineage. This historical connection allows the institution to establish an atmosphere where every patient is treated with utmost respect and care, akin to royalty.

The hospital’s commitment to patient-centricity could be measured by high Google rating acceptance. These ratings showcase the positive experiences of patients and their families. Upholding the principle of “do no harm,” SUT Hospital prioritizes patient safety and well-being. These values are guiding every member of the institution to ensure that every care-seeker receives the highest standard of care and attention.

Moreover, SUT Hospital goes beyond conventional healthcare by actively engaging in disease prevention initiatives. Establishing several medical camps and awareness programs, especially in underserved areas like tribal communities, the hospital promotes preventive healthcare measures at minimal or no cost.

This proactive approach to preventing diseases underscores SUT Hospital’s dedication to holistic wellness and community health, making it a trusted destination for comprehensive healthcare services.

Comprehensive Specialties and Services

In terms of explaining their service portfolio, SUT Hospital is proud to talk of over 30 specialty / super specialty departments. These include cardiac sciences, neurosciences, gastro sciences, plastic surgery, urology, nephrology, obstetrics and gynecology, and vascular surgery.

The hospital’s 24-hour emergency and trauma care services further solidify its position as a comprehensive center of care. From its modest beginnings with fewer than 100 beds, SUT has expanded to a 200-bed hospital with seven stateof-the-art operating theaters and 67 ICU beds.

Centers of Excellence and Accolades

SUT has plans to establish thriving centers of excellence and has commenced work with its neuroscience department, garnering recognition for its outstanding contributions in stroke care. Dr Thomas Iype, Head of the Neurology Department, received the “Best Stroke Care Provider of the Year” Award in October 2023 from ‘Voice of Healthcare’, a national-level NGO. In addition to this, SUT’s commitment to ethical clinical practice has been widely acknowledged.

Recognitions and Training Excellence

SUT is not just a healthcare provider but also a recognized training center approved by the American Heart Association, offering courses in Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), and Heart Saver courses. The hospital ensures high-quality training with in-house AHA licensed instructors and faculties.

SUT’s commitment to quality is further evidenced by its esteemed certification from the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH), ensuring patients receive care that not only heals but also upholds the highest ethical standards. SUT is also an “Adverse Drug Reaction Monitoring Center,” approved by the Pharmacovigilance Program of India.

Its exceptional dedication to Mother and Baby care has earned it the prestigious Mother & Baby Friendly Hospital accreditation (MBFHI), with an impressive score of 99.03%, the second-highest in the state, solidifying SUT as a safe haven for newborns and mothers.SUT conducts DNB courses under the National Board in four disciplines.

Commitment to Ethical Research

SUT’s Institutional Ethics Committee for Human Subject Research achieved a significant milestone in January 2024 by obtaining approval from both the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Department of Health Research (DHR). This recognition reaffirms SUT’s dedication to conducting ethical research in the healthcare sector.

Shaping the Future of Healthcare

In the current times, SUT Hospital stands as a beacon of healthcare excellence, embodying a legacy of innovation, affordability, diverse specialties, and numerous accolades. For the upcoming years, the goal is to expand beyond Kerala. The institution continues to influence and redefine healthcare standards everyday that exemplify the management’s ceaseless commitment to excellence.

Explaining his goals and viewing the institution’s future, Col. Mannali shared, “Change is the only constant in healthcare and we need to stay abreast of it.”So, we must prepare to accept changes in, the way we function, the way we provide care, and everything that, you know, seems to be dynamic, we have to be prepared to accept changes.

And therefore, we accept changes most willingly because we know that some stagnancy and status quoism is not a good thing for any establishment”. Now, I look at the challenges ahead of me. Firstly, we have already talked about integration of technology that’s going to be a major challenge.

We will take into account what all we can do as far as technology is concerned. Secondly, I find a very disturbing trend happening across the spectrum in healthcare that we have all heard about attacks on doctors and abusing them in the worst possible way. There is somehow an animosity that has come up between those cared for and the ones who care.

Now, the most unfortunate thing is that, that age-old bond between the doctors and the patients no longer exists. We would look at attempting to change the scenario in every possible way. We would like to adopt a leadership role in fostering change in this particular area which is particularly important in the days ahead.

“Outlook Business Brand Icon of the Year 2023 Award” honored by Shri Kapil Mishra, Vice President BJP Delhi and Bollywood Diva Ms. Kriti Sanon.

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