A Constitution bench of the Supreme Court last week began hearing challenges against triple talaq, a form of divorce in Islam that is extremely unfair to women. The practice considers a marriage to have been dissolved if the man utters the word “talaq” three times. As many Muslim women have pointed out, this leaves wives completely vulnerable to the whims of their husbands
But instead of testing the practice of triple talaq on grounds of gender equality, the primary question the Supreme Court will seek to answer through the case is whether this method of divorce is a fundamental aspect of Islam. The court has made it clear that if triple talaq was indeed an integral part of religion, little could be done about it.
This has opened the doors for faith to take precedence over rights. This is exactly what happened on Tuesday, when the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, an non-governmental organisation, told the court that triple talaq was a 1,400 years-old custom with which the government had no right to interfere. Senior lawyer and Congress leader Kapil Sibal, who argued on behalf of AIMPLB, made a stunning comparison between triple talaq and the Ram temple movement. In the late 1980s, the Bharatiya Janata Party launched a violent campaign to have the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya demolished, claiming it had been built on the exactly spot where the god Ram had been born. On December 6, 1992, the party’s supporters tore down the ancient mosque. In court on Tuesday, Sibal claimed that while the belief that Ram was born in Ayodhya is never questioned, triple talaq alone was being disputed despite being a similar article of faith.
On the very face of it, the argument is deeply flawed. Whether Ram was born in Ayodhya has little to do with the everyday lives of Hindus. This belief does not manifest itself in the form of a discriminatory process that hurts one half of the population at a very personal level. Instantaneous triple talaq, on the other hand, robs the woman of the ability to safeguard her own interests in a marriage and renders her dignity irrelevant by privileging a man’s claims.
Secondly, there is no reason for a custom to be considered infallible merely because it is thought to be ancient. By claiming that the practice of triple talaq should be preserved simply because it is 1,400 years old negates the very idea of constitutional reforms. If the argument of antiquity is accepted, there is a very good case to be made for untouchability in Hinduism, a caste-based discriminatory process that was encoded in its scriptures.
Allowing religious customs and laws to be deemed immune to constitutional morality undermines the very idea of a modern republic.
The Big Scroll
Here are six articles that will help you understand the controversy surrounding triple talaq.
In The Hindu, A Faizur Rahman says triple talaq is not fundamental to Islam and that the government should go ahead and ban the practice.
Ejaz Ghani in the Mint argues that the Indian economy is heavily biased against women.
In the Indian Express, Ram Madhav says not being part of China’s “One Road One Belt” project will not affect bilateral relations.
Anita Katyal reports on what the meeting between Congress president Sonia Gandhi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday means.
“The Congress and the communists are no longer the dreaded political enemies of the Trinamool chief – the two parties have been virtually decimated in West Bengal. Instead, Banerjee has to contend with the rise and rise of the BJP, which appeared an impossibility in West Bengal till recently.
Though the Trinamool chief was a member of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was prime minister, Banerjee is now locked in direct confrontation with the saffron party, which has made deep inroads in West Bengal and has emerged as the chief challenger for the Trinamool Congress.”
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 cardstohelp 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 Scroll.in marketing team and not by the Scroll.in editorial staff.