National News

Rohingya crisis: Citizens urge Modi not to forcibly send asylum seekers back to Myanmar

In a letter to the prime minister, the signatories asked New Delhi to try and cease the violence carried out in Rakhine state.

Fifty-one personalities have come together to appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to not forcibly send back Rohingya refugees to violence-hit Rakhine state in Myanmar. In an open letter to Modi, the signatories have asked India to try and stop the persecution carried out by security forces in Myanmar.

The signatories to the letter include Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, former Union minister P Chidambaram, academic Nivedita Menon, former Home Secretary GK Pillai, actor Swara Bhaskar, activists Teesta Setalvad and Harsh Mander, writer Anil Dharker, mediaperson Pritish Nandy, activist and politician Yogendra Yadav and journalists Sagarika Ghose and Karan Thapar, among others.

The signatories said it would be against India’s humanitarian principles and its obligations under international law to deport the asylum seekers and refugees currently residing in India. “At a time when the Rakhine State is literally burning, more urgent and immediate steps are needed to stem the current wave of violence,” the letter read. Until the violence, gangrapes and arson against the Rohingyas come to an end in Myanmar, they enjoy the right to stay in India, according to international law, the letter said.

“India’s justification to deport the Rohingya is premised on the false assumption that all Rohingya people present a potential threat to the national security. This is simply not the case, and the evidence to support these assertions have not been held up,” it said.

The signatories further said the solution to the crisis does not lie in the deportation of the refugees, but in ending the state-led violence in Rakhine state. “India’s credibility as a net security provider for our neighbours in the region would be severely compromised if we fail to act on behalf of our broader interests in the region,” it added.

Supreme Court to hear Rohingya refugees’ plea on Friday

On Friday, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, will hear petitions challenging the Centre’s decision to identify and deport Rohingya refugees.

In August, the Centre had announced that it was planning to deport all 40,000 Rohingya refugees living in the country. On September 18, the Centre told the Supreme Court in an affidavit that the continued illegal immigration of Rohingyas to India had “serious national security ramifications and threats”. It claimed that inputs from security agencies indicated that some of the refugees had links with terror groups in Pakistan.

The Centre’s plea was in response to a PIL filed by two Rohingya immigrants, Mohammad Salimullah and Mohammad Shaqir, who said they had taken refuge in India after escaping discrimination, violence and bloodshed against their community in Myanmar.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

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.

Play

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.

Play

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.

Play

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.”

Play

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.