Bollywood controversy

Blinkered, insensitive, or merely supportive? Why Bollywood won't stop loving Salman Khan

The fans adore the burly actor so much they are willing to forgive his excesses. That in turn is used by the movie business to justify their support for him.

Salman Khan’s career has had its fair share of highs and lows, hits and flops. But his involvement in two crimes has not made him a social pariah in his fraternity nor has it turned away movie-goers.

Khan was sentenced today to five years in prison for drunk driving and running over a pavement dweller on September 28, 2002. The string of emotional and sorrowful tweets in his favour indicates that the leading lights of the Hindi film industry believe in the supertstar’s innocence and buy his argument that he was neither drunk nor driving his Toyota Landcruiser that night in 2002. Priya Dutt and Milind Deora from the Congress Party and Hema Malini from the Bharatiya Janata Party – all Members of Parliament with connections with the entertainment industry – told journalists or tweeted before the sentencing that they hoped that the actor would not be punished too harshly.

Blinkered, insensitive, or merely supportive? The reaction to Khan’s sentencing has to do with the fact that show business is considered to be a planet unto itself, made up of unique and exceptional creatures who have slipped off restrictions that bind normal people. When a celebrity, especially somebody as adored and imitated as Salman Khan, is dragged into the same muck in which the rest of us wallow, the general response is one of dismay, consternation and deep sympathy that they too must now suffer, just like we do.

Lesser beings who exist on the fringes of this special ethical zone don’t experience the same levels of curiosity over their misdeeds. On December 17, 1993, Raaj Kumar’s son, Puru, a struggling actor, ran over eight people sleeping on a pavement in Bandra, killing three. It was alleged at the time that Puru Raajkumar was drunk. The lack of interest in Puru’s fate (he got away far more lightly than Khan) may have a lot to do with the fact that he never made a dent on critics, the trade or audiences. Nor did Shiney Ahuja, the actor accused of raping his maid in 2009, suffer very much for his crime.

Gargantuan popularity

Khan, on the hand, is the master of his own universe. He became a star in 1989 itself with Maine Pyar Kiya. His box-office brilliance has dimmed and brightened over the years even as he made the tabloid headlines for a string of romantic dalliances (some accompanied by rumours of partner abuse), was accused of shooting two blackbuck in 1998, and then killing a pavement dweller in 2002 while allegedly driving under the influence. The trade as well as the public have been extremely forgiving of his excesses. Bollywood trade pundits will point to Khan’s gargantuan popularity as proof that he deserves a second chance, while fans will cite Bollywood’s silent and not-so-silent backing of Khan’s ways as evidence of his virtue.

It’s not as though filmmakers have been shoving Khan down our throats. Khan has lakhs of fans who ensure that “Bhai”, as they fondly call him, always gets an enthusiastic reception at the box office. In fact, Khan’s increasing popularity in recent years seems to be an unregulated expression of comradeship and an act of protectiveness by his devotees, who believe that he has been victimised by the Mumbai police and the legal system. As he falls, his following swells. That says as much about our society as it does about Bollywood.

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

What hospitals can do to drive entrepreneurship and enhance patient experience

Hospitals can perform better by partnering with entrepreneurs and encouraging a culture of intrapreneurship focused on customer centricity.

At the Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, visitors don’t have to worry about navigating their way across the complex hospital premises. All they need to do is download wayfinding tools from the installed digital signage onto their smartphone and get step by step directions. Other hospitals have digital signage in surgical waiting rooms that share surgery updates with the anxious families waiting outside, or offer general information to visitors in waiting rooms. Many others use digital registration tools to reduce check-in time or have Smart TVs in patient rooms that serve educational and anxiety alleviating content.

Most of these tech enabled solutions have emerged as hospitals look for better ways to enhance patient experience – one of the top criteria in evaluating hospital performance. Patient experience accounts for 25% of a hospital’s Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) score as per the US government’s Centres for Medicare and Mediaid Services (CMS) programme. As a Mckinsey report says, hospitals need to break down a patient’s journey into various aspects, clinical and non-clinical, and seek ways of improving every touch point in the journey. As hospitals also need to focus on delivering quality healthcare, they are increasingly collaborating with entrepreneurs who offer such patient centric solutions or encouraging innovative intrapreneurship within the organization.

At the Hospital Leadership Summit hosted by Abbott, some of the speakers from diverse industry backgrounds brought up the role of entrepreneurship in order to deliver on patient experience.

Getting the best from collaborations

Speakers such as Dr Naresh Trehan, Chairman and Managing Director - Medanta Hospitals, and Meena Ganesh, CEO and MD - Portea Medical, who spoke at the panel discussion on “Are we fit for the world of new consumers?”, highlighted the importance of collaborating with entrepreneurs to fill the gaps in the patient experience eco system. As Dr Trehan says, “As healthcare service providers we are too steeped in our own work. So even though we may realize there are gaps in customer experience delivery, we don’t want to get distracted from our core job, which is healthcare delivery. We would rather leave the job of filling those gaps to an outsider who can do it well.”

Meena Ganesh shares a similar view when she says that entrepreneurs offer an outsider’s fresh perspective on the existing gaps in healthcare. They are therefore better equipped to offer disruptive technology solutions that put the customer right at the center. Her own venture, Portea Medical, was born out of a need in the hitherto unaddressed area of patient experience – quality home care.

There are enough examples of hospitals that have gained significantly by partnering with or investing in such ventures. For example, the Children’s Medical Centre in Dallas actively invests in tech startups to offer better care to its patients. One such startup produces sensors smaller than a grain of sand, that can be embedded in pills to alert caregivers if a medication has been taken or not. Another app delivers care givers at customers’ door step for check-ups. Providence St Joseph’s Health, that has medical centres across the U.S., has invested in a range of startups that address different patient needs – from patient feedback and wearable monitoring devices to remote video interpretation and surgical blood loss monitoring. UNC Hospital in North Carolina uses a change management platform developed by a startup in order to improve patient experience at its Emergency and Dermatology departments. The platform essentially comes with a friendly and non-intrusive way to gather patient feedback.

When intrapreneurship can lead to patient centric innovation

Hospitals can also encourage a culture of intrapreneurship within the organization. According to Meena Ganesh, this would mean building a ‘listening organization’ because as she says, listening and being open to new ideas leads to innovation. Santosh Desai, MD& CEO - Future Brands Ltd, who was also part of the panel discussion, feels that most innovations are a result of looking at “large cultural shifts, outside the frame of narrow business”. So hospitals will need to encourage enterprising professionals in the organization to observe behavior trends as part of the ideation process. Also, as Dr Ram Narain, Executive Director, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, points out, they will need to tell the employees who have the potential to drive innovative initiatives, “Do not fail, but if you fail, we still back you.” Innovative companies such as Google actively follow this practice, allowing employees to pick projects they are passionate about and work on them to deliver fresh solutions.

Realizing the need to encourage new ideas among employees to enhance patient experience, many healthcare enterprises are instituting innovative strategies. Henry Ford System, for example, began a system of rewarding great employee ideas. One internal contest was around clinical applications for wearable technology. The incentive was particularly attractive – a cash prize of $ 10,000 to the winners. Not surprisingly, the employees came up with some very innovative ideas that included: a system to record mobility of acute care patients through wearable trackers, health reminder system for elderly patients and mobile game interface with activity trackers to encourage children towards exercising. The employees admitted later that the exercise was so interesting that they would have participated in it even without a cash prize incentive.

Another example is Penn Medicine in Philadelphia which launched an ‘innovation tournament’ across the organization as part of its efforts to improve patient care. Participants worked with professors from Wharton Business School to prepare for the ideas challenge. More than 1,750 ideas were submitted by 1,400 participants, out of which 10 were selected. The focus was on getting ideas around the front end and some of the submitted ideas included:

  • Check-out management: Exclusive waiting rooms with TV, Internet and other facilities for patients waiting to be discharged so as to reduce space congestion and make their waiting time more comfortable.
  • Space for emotional privacy: An exclusive and friendly space for individuals and families to mourn the loss of dear ones in private.
  • Online patient organizer: A web based app that helps first time patients prepare better for their appointment by providing check lists for documents, medicines, etc to be carried and giving information regarding the hospital navigation, the consulting doctor etc.
  • Help for non-English speakers: Iconography cards to help non-English speaking patients express themselves and seek help in case of emergencies or other situations.

As Arlen Meyers, MD, President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs, says in a report, although many good ideas come from the front line, physicians must also be encouraged to think innovatively about patient experience. An academic study also builds a strong case to encourage intrapreneurship among nurses. Given they comprise a large part of the front-line staff for healthcare delivery, nurses should also be given the freedom to create and design innovative systems for improving patient experience.

According to a Harvard Business Review article quoted in a university study, employees who have the potential to be intrapreneurs, show some marked characteristics. These include a sense of ownership, perseverance, emotional intelligence and the ability to look at the big picture along with the desire, and ideas, to improve it. But trust and support of the management is essential to bringing out and taking the ideas forward.

Creating an environment conducive to innovation is the first step to bringing about innovation-driven outcomes. These were just some of the insights on healthcare management gleaned from the Hospital Leadership Summit hosted by Abbott. In over 150 countries, Abbott, which is among the top 100 global innovator companies, 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 marketing team and not by the editorial staff.