After playing a human version of the god Hanuman in Bajrangi Bhaijaan earlier this year, Salman Khan returns as an avatar of Lord Ram in Sooraj Barjatya’s Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. The title has been inspired by the Hindu prayer Payoji Maine Ram Ratan Dhan Payo, and the whole movie genuflects before the powers of the screen god who holds every character big and insignificant in thrall. Barjatya made Salman Khan a star with Maine Pyar Kiya in 1989, and 26 years later, Khan has clearly outgrown his mentor. He is in nearly every frame of the movie, and nothing works in his absence.
Khan plays Prem, a Ramlila performer from Ayodhya who is the spitting image of Vijay Singh, the duty-bound and humourless prince of the fictitious kingdom Pritampur. Vijay Singh is at war with his step-brother Ajay (Neil Nitin Mukesh) and step-sisters Chandrika (Swara Bhaskar) and Radhika (Aashika Bhatia), and as the date for his crowning as Pritampur’s king approaches, his heart grows heavy. Is that the reason he chooses such an antiquated mode of transport as a horse-drawn carriage?
Vijay is removed from the scene by an accident engineered by Ajay and his co-conspirator Chirag (Armaan Kohli), followed by the chance spotting of Prem at a marketplace by the prince’s loyalists. The commoner takes the place of the royal, and the movie moves into Bawarchi mode. Prem starts correcting Vijay’s minor wrongs and wins the heart of his reluctant fiancé, the princess Maithili (Sonam Kapoor). Aided by the faithful family retainer known only as Bapu (Anupam Kher), Prem emerges as the maryada purush, or idealised Hindu male, that Vijay should have been.
Barjatya’s latest overcooked family opus is dipped in the same batter of clarified butter and sugar from which emerged Hum Aapke Hain Koun…!, Hum Saath Saath Hain and Vivah. The expected ingredients are all there -- the importance of the family unit, the emphasis on propriety and good public behaviour, the celebration of mercantile culture, the worship of wealth and social status, the assigned roles for men and women. This is the fairy tale world of Disney movies, but with Indian touches. Rajshri films are to Indian cinema what Vicco Vajradanti is to the toothpaste industry – locally produced and proudly conservative – but the family-owned banner has been forced to acknowledge that popular taste has shifted since the mid-1990s. Prem Ratan Dhan Payo contains what might constitute radical alterations to the Rajshri template. Sonam Kapoor’s princess has the temerity to wear a strapless black dress and gets clingy and cuddly with Prem. Some of Prem’s dance moves fit right into the average Salman Khan movie, and his overall personality is a milder and more controlled version of the typical streetwise devil-may-care Salman Khan type rather than the polite and dutiful Rajshri hero.
The star swallows up the character whole, but it works in this case, since Prem Ratan Dhan Payo has nobody else in its sights. The characters of Sonam Kapoor and Anupam Kher are the most fleshed out in an otherwise sketchy narrative. Barjatya shows his hand while directing the tender family moments, but he doesn’t have any feel for thrillers. The conspiracy that replaces Vijay with Prem is mostly forgotten, and the real question is not whether or not Vijay will return, but who will walk away with the bride.
Sonam Kapoor is 20 years younger than Khan – she was four when Maine Pyar Kiya was released – and the age gap is painfully apparent in the numerous romantic moments. Yet, she doesn’t have a fourth of her senior’s energy. Salman Khan works harder at his twin roles than he has in recent movies, and he turns on the charm for the director who set him on his remarkable career. Prem Ratan Dhan Payo muddles through its 174 minutes, neither hitting the highs expected from such an expensive and high-profile project nor the lows that plague mid-career filmmakers. Like its intended audience, the movie sticks firmly in the middle.
Putting the patient first - insights for hospitals to meet customer service expectations
These emerging solutions are a fine balance between technology and the human touch.
As customers become more vocal and assertive of their needs, their expectations are changing across industries. Consequently, customer service has gone from being a hygiene factor to actively influencing the customer’s choice of product or service. This trend is also being seen in the healthcare segment. Today good healthcare service is no longer defined by just qualified doctors and the quality of medical treatment offered. The overall ambience, convenience, hospitality and the warmth and friendliness of staff is becoming a crucial way for hospitals to differentiate themselves.
A study by the Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions in fact indicates that good patient experience is also excellent from a profitability point of view. The study, conducted in the US, analyzed the impact of hospital ratings by patients on overall margins and return on assets. It revealed that hospitals with high patient-reported experience scores have higher profitability. For instance, hospitals with ‘excellent’ consumer assessment scores between 2008 and 2014 had a net margin of 4.7 percent, on average, as compared to just 1.8 percent for hospitals with ‘low’ scores.
This clearly indicates that good customer service in hospitals boosts loyalty and goodwill as well as financial performance.Many healthcare service providers are thus putting their efforts behind: understanding constantly evolving customer expectations, solving long-standing problems in hospital management (such as long check-out times) and proactively offering a better experience by leveraging technology and human interface.
The evolving patient
Healthcare service customers, who comprise both the patient and his or her family and friends, are more exposed today to high standards of service across industries. As a result, hospitals are putting patient care right on top of their priorities. An example of this in action can be seen in the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. In July 2015, the hospital launched a ‘Smart OPD’ system — an integrated mobile health system under which the entire medical ecosystem of the hospital was brought together on a digital app. Patients could use the app to book/reschedule doctor’s appointments and doctors could use it to access a patient’s medical history, write prescriptions and schedule appointments. To further aid the process, IT assistants were provided to help those uncomfortable with technology.
The need for such initiatives and the evolving nature of patient care were among the central themes of the recently concluded Abbott Hospital Leadership Summit. The speakers included pundits from marketing and customer relations along with leaders in the healthcare space.
Among them was the illustrious speaker Larry Hochman, a globally recognised name in customer service. According to Mr. Hochman, who has worked with British Airways and Air Miles, patients are rapidly evolving from passive recipients of treatment to active consumers who are evaluating their overall experience with a hospital on social media and creating a ‘word-of-mouth’ economy. He talks about this in the video below.
As the video says, with social media and other public platforms being available today to share experiences, hospitals need to ensure that every customer walks away with a good experience.
The promise gap
In his address, Mr. Hochman also spoke at length about the ‘promise gap’ — the difference between what a company promises to deliver and what it actually delivers. In the video given below, he explains the concept in detail. As the gap grows wider, the potential for customer dissatisfaction increases.
So how do hospitals differentiate themselves with this evolved set of customers? How do they ensure that the promise gap remains small? “You can create a unique value only through relationships, because that is something that is not manufactured. It is about people, it’s a human thing,” says Mr. Hochman in the video below.
As Mr. Hochman and others in the discussion panel point out, the key to delivering a good customer experience is to instil a culture of empathy and hospitality across the organisation. Whether it is small things like smiling at patients, educating them at every step about their illness or listening to them to understand their fears, every action needs to be geared towards making the customer feel that they made the correct decision by getting treated at that hospital. This is also why, Dr. Nandkumar Jairam, Chairman and Group Medical Director, Columbia Asia, talked about the need for hospitals to train and hire people with soft skills and qualities such as empathy and the ability to listen.
Striking the balance
Bridging the promise gap also involves a balance between technology and the human touch. Dr. Robert Pearl, Executive Director and CEO of The Permanente Medical Group, who also spoke at the event, wrote about the example of Dr. Devi Shetty’s Narayana Health Hospitals. He writes that their team of surgeons typically performs about 900 procedures a month which is equivalent to what most U.S. university hospitals do in a year. The hospitals employ cutting edge technology and other simple innovations to improve efficiency and patient care.
The insights gained from Narayana’s model show that while technology increases efficiency of processes, what really makes a difference to customers are the human touch-points. As Mr. Hochman says, “Human touch points matter more because there are less and less of them today and are therefore crucial to the whole customer experience.”
By putting customers at the core of their thinking, many hospitals have been able to apply innovative solutions to solve age old problems. For example, Max Healthcare, introduced paramedics on motorcycles to circumvent heavy traffic and respond faster to critical emergencies. While ambulances reach 30 minutes after a call, the motorcycles reach in just 17 minutes. In the first three months, two lives were saved because of this customer-centric innovation.
Hospitals are also looking at data and consumer research to identify consumer pain points. Rajit Mehta, the MD and CEO of Max Healthcare Institute, who was a panelist at the summit, spoke of the importance of data to understand patient needs. His organisation used consumer research to identify three critical areas that needed work - discharge and admission processes for IPD patients and wait-time for OPD patients. To improve wait-time, they incentivised people to book appointments online. They also installed digital kiosks where customers could punch in their details to get an appointment quickly.
These were just some of the insights on healthcare management gleaned from the Hospital Leadership Summit hosted by Abbott. In over 150 countries, Abbott is working with hospitals and healthcare professionals to improve the quality of health services.
To read more content on best practices for hospital leaders, visit Abbott’s Bringing Health to Life portal here.
This article was produced on behalf of Abbott by the Scroll.in marketing team and not by the Scroll.in editorial staff.