“My initial tenure at AIIMS was extremely challenging”

Son- of – the -soil Dr Shakti Kumar Gupta, is a well known name in the medical fraternity not only in Jammu and Kashmir but other parts of the country as well. Holding the post of Medical Superintendent at AIIMS, Dr R P Centre for Ophthalamic sciences New Delhi, he has contributed immensely in the medical field. He talks to Excelsior Correspondent on a wide range of topics.

Excerpts of the interview :

Sir, you are one of the senior leaders in healthcare who has very humble beginnings, please highlight about your early days.
Ans: I hail from a border Village Ari (LOC), Dist. Poonch, J&K State and the childhood was spent struggling hard to achieve the basic requirements of education.I spent long hours travelling across very diffcult mountaneous terrain and studied under the challenging conditions in Government institutes.These experience in early days has made me more connected to the grassroot issues of our country and helped me to shape my goals.
Can you briefly highlight your academic journey?
Ans: After completing my initial journey of schooling at Ari,Mendhar and Jammu I moved to Government Medical College, Jammu from where I did MBBS. Then I came to AIIMS, New Delhi from where I obtained Masters in Hospital Administration.After that I have done Fellowships and have augmented my knowledge base with various academic activities. The education process is still continuing and I feel you stay a student all your life if you are striving for excellence.
How was your professional journey in your state?
Ans: I commenced my medical career at grass-root levels as an Assistant Surgeon in J&K Health Services. I actively provided curative, preventive, promotive and rehabilitative services at dispensary and primary healthcare centres.I also facilitated implementation of national health programmes and submitted project reports for district and general hospitals. It was a challenging time as healthcare was not one of the priority areas and one felt handicapped due to existing government infrastructure.
What prompted you to move to AIIMS ?
Ans: My quest for achieving professional excellence propelled me to relocate to AIIMS where I joined as a faculty.It was here that I realized the potential of professionalism and scope of our health sector.I found very effective mentors who graduated me to the level where I stand today with elan.
Please elucidate about your tenure at AIIMS?
Ans: My initial tenure at AIIMS was extremely challenging.Walking the professional path and handling various important assignments I headed the Department of Hospital Administration at AIIMS and mentored more than 45 Postgraduate & PhD students.Under my tutelage and guidance 112 research studieshave been conducted.I have published more than 71 research papers in several national and international journals of repute.I have also been the Principal Investigator of WHO projects on Public Hospital Governance: AIIMS-A case study; National Consultation on PPP; and Electronic Medical Records.The Department of Hospital Administration, under my leadership, had the honour of being the first Department of AIIMS to receive ISO Certification.
You besides being a doctor are also a teacher of repute,can you tell the innovative teaching methodology that was adopted during your time as HOD?
Ans: I have travelled far and wide and I decided that only didactic lectures will not help my department in scaling heights of excellence. I introduced Integrated Learning Module as a scientific pattern of teaching for aspiring hospital administrators. The module has been incorporated in other medical colleges conducting PG courses in Hospital Administration. I also standardized Curriculum for PG courses in Hospital Administration in association with MCI and WHO.
Please enlist the books which you have authored and the fellowships conferred?
Ans: I have authored nine books on various aspects of Hospital administration viz.planning and designing, medical store management, best procurement practices, disaster management, infection control & disease outbreak management. I’m also a Fellowof National Academy of Medical Sciences, International Medical Sciences Academy, Academy of Hospital Administration, and Institute of Hospital Engineering. I also received WHO Fellowship to study accident and emergency services at USA, and Management Development Programme of National University, Singapore.
The country has benefitted from your expertise as a Professional Hospital Administrator,can you please describe this journey for us?
Ans: I have been the Chairman of the Expert committee for Formulation of National Ambulance Code and Working Group on Emergency Care relating to Road Safety under Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. The National Ambulance code has been notified in the Gazette of India. I’m the founder President of Research Foundation of Hospital & Healthcare Administration (RFHHA)- a leading organization promoting research and training in Hospital and Healthcare management, Ex-President of the Academy of Hospital Administration, Editor of Journal Academy of Hospital Administration and Editor-in-Chief of International Journal of RFHHA since 2012. I’m also the Founder President of EMS Leaders Forum for providing a common platform for convergence of the global think-tank in the field of EMS. I’m also Consultant to Government of Goa to form a roadmap for best utilization of existing infrastructure; Consultant to the Govt. of Maharashtra for establishing EMS System; and Consultant to Govt. of Tripura and North East States for improvement in healthcare provisioning
Request if you can highlight your global footprints?
Ans: I’m also Member of the Advisory Board of Centre for Health Systems Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Oklahoma State University, USA. I’m also expert Consultant of Ministry of External Affairs for establishing 2 hospitals in Bhutan and Trauma Centre in Nepal. The projects of Bhutan and Nepal have actually translated into tertiary healthcare facilities. also been the Consultant for UNOPS Asia Office to study “Procurement & Supply Management System” of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Govt of India and based on his report, US$ 121 million were released for HIV and TB programmes from UN Global Funds. He has been WHO consultant to the Govt. Of Nepal to study health systems and recommend measures for improvements.I have also been the Consultant for UNOPS Asia Office to study “Procurement & Supply Management System” of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Govt of India and based on his report, US$ 121 million were released for HIV and TB programmes from UN Global Funds. I have been WHO consultant to the Govt. of Nepal to study health systems and recommend measures for improvements;
What are the various awards that have been conferred on you?
Ans: I have been honoured with prestigious “PRATIBHASHI SAMMAN-2002”, “CHIKITSA RATAN – 2010” and “SHRAM SREE-2010”. Bestowed with the International Partner of the Year Award by Institute of Rescue Engineering and Civil Protection, Cologne, University of Applied Science, Germany. I’m the first Indian to be awarded with this prestigious award of International significance. I have also been conferred the State Award for meritorious public service on the eve of Republic Day by J&K Government.
What is your vision as regards to role of Hospital Administartors to the country?
Ans: It is important to understand that Resources in terms of money, manpower and materials are limited whereas the demand for the quality healthcare is increasing day by day in any Health care set up. A professionally trained administrator can utilize these resources optimally and efficiently. The basic principle of economics has to be the guiding beacon for any Health care organization ” Stretching limited means to meet unlimited ends ”
This is a Technology driven era, Hence, professional experts are better placed to charter the course of successful health care delivery. Presently SMART hospitals and SMART healthcare is the order of the day. The concept of smart hospital has been designed to achieve Safety, clinical quality, productivity, Service excellence and Optimal integration of technologies. “Internet of things” and Mobile Health care delivery will boost up the Technology driven healthcare. The central government of India has prepared a blueprint for the development of SMART cities in the country. With the advent of SMART cities in our country, SMART hospitals will synergize the efforts of delivery of holistic Healthcare.