“Metropolis will focus on tier II & III cities over next few years”

Dr Sushil Shah, Chairman, Metropolis Healthcare shares his views on the healthcare scenario in India, latest initiatives by his company, expansion plans, CSR activities and much more

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Inundated with business acumen, Dr Sushil Shah displays an exemplary mix of academic and business success. In addition to the evident accomplishments to his credit as the founder of Metropolis Healthcare, he has held directorial positions at leading corporations.
Here in this exclusive interview, Dr Sushil Shah, Chairman, Metropolis Healthcare shares his views on the healthcare scenario in India, latest initiatives by his company, expansion plans, CSR activities and much more.

BV LogoYour views on the current healthcare scenario in India?
Over the last few years, India has achieved considerable strides in overall healthcare including diagnostics. There is a vast pool of talented medical personnel in the country, including doctors, nurses, and technicians. The availability of advanced medical technologies across the healthcare industry has improved, however there are still significant hurdles to overcome. Both the private and public healthcare system play a significant role in reducing the burden on the healthcare system in the country and improving the overall health of the population.
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Which public health challenges deserve immediate attention from policymakers?
There are several public health challenges that deserve immediate attention from policymakers, both in India and around the world. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a significant public health challenge, with new variants emerging and vaccination efforts needing to be ramped up. Policymakers need to focus on measures to mitigate the spread of the virus, ensure adequate healthcare infrastructure and supplies, and promote vaccine access and uptake.
Non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer are the leading causes of death globally, and their prevalence is increasing. Policymakers need to implement strategies to prevent and manage these diseases, including promoting healthy lifestyles and ensuring access to screening and treatment services. In addition to this, mental health issues are a growing concern worldwide, with significant impacts on individuals, families, and communities.
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What role are the private healthcare providers such as Metropolis Healthcare playing to address the gaps?
Private healthcare providers such as Metropolis Healthcare play a significant role in addressing healthcare gaps. These providers have the necessary expertise, technology, and infrastructure to offer high-quality healthcare services. One of the key roles played by private healthcare providers is to bridge the gap between the demand for healthcare services and the supply of such services. We can provide access to specialized medical services, such as advanced diagnostic tests and treatments. We can leverage technology and innovation to offer more efficient and effective healthcare services, which can help to improve patient outcomes and reduce costs.
Furthermore, private healthcare providers can play a vital role in preventive healthcare by offering health check-up packages, wellness programs, and disease management services. These initiatives can help to detect health problems early and prevent the onset of chronic diseases, which can reduce the burden on healthcare systems in the long run.
“One of Metropolis’ primary goals is to expand our network and strengthen our domestic presence.”
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Key objectives of the MedEngage Scholarship offered by Metropolis Foundation? How has been the response to the program so far?
The MedEngage Scholarship Programme is one of the initiatives under MedEngage, a flagship CSR initiative of Metropolis Foundation. The programme supports the deserving and meritorious students to contribute to healthcare research in the country by rewarding them with financial grants and by providing them with practical knowledge through Metropolis’ world-class laboratories and panel of experts on board.
In FY 2022-23, MedEngage Scholarship programme received over 2670 applications from 516 cities across 29 states in India, in which 250 students were awarded with scholarships. In FY 2021-22, the program rewarded 122 students, 40 in FY 2020-21 and 30 in FY 2019-20.
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Other major CSR activities of the foundation?
For the past three decades, Metropolis has been at the forefront in conducting impactful camps and driving numerous workshops for different sections of the society. Metropolis Foundation runs another CSR program titled Too Shy to Ask (TSTA), a holistic adolescent empowerment programme implemented with an underlying principle ‘Educate, Empower and Encourage’. It works with two focused sets of interventions – Digital and physical outreach. The App that touches on various subjects such as gender education, equality, nutrition, mental health, and reproductive and sexual health etc. Physical Outreach is a set of community interventions under the Adolescent’ well-being program implemented through civil society partners (NGOs).
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In what ways has the healthcare sector adopted digital technologies during its daily operations?
People have witnessed the importance of digital technology in the healthcare sector in a variety of ways as a result of the pandemic. The use of digital technologies has increased the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare operations. We have come a long way from waiting in a queue to see a doctor or submitting a lab sample to accomplishing this without leaving the house. The focus of healthcare companies like us as of now has been on driving enhanced patient experience via creating a digital ecosystem along with improved service levels at optimal costs while driving better results.
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Any expansion plans at Metropolis Healthcare?
One of Metropolis’ primary goals is to expand our network and strengthen our domestic presence. We plan to focus on tier II and tier III cities in India over the next few years, by adding 90 labs and 1800 patient service collection centres in 100 to 150 cities. We are expanding our presence across the country and will continue to deliver healthcare services to almost 220 cities through various patient service networks. We acquired HiTech Diagnostic Centre, South India’s largest diagnostic chain recently in order to gain a larger market share, strengthen our leadership presence in South India, and increase the business’s B2C share by catering to the market’s mid-segment. Our end-goal is to make Metropolis as a trusted and most preferred consumer brand in the diagnostic segment in India.
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Major investment plans for acquiring new technologies and infrastructure?
As a scientific-driven healthcare organization, Metropolis will continuously invest in R&D and constantly look out for opportunities in bringing advanced tests and technologies and thereby improve its test menu and range of services. In addition, with our deep scientific knowledge and expertise, we will also look out for opportunities to offer more ‘affordable’ healthcare to patients across the country. We are also working towards expanding our capabilities in Molecular Diagnostics, Oncology, Cytogenetics and other areas.
We will strengthen our digital presence by developing and integrating a fully scaled applications programming interface and a full-fledged customer relationship management stack for service, sales, and marketing with customer data platforms. Also, we are also enhancing our B2C applications. It will be of service to view 360 degrees to consumers for better life management.
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What is your vision for the brand and future outlook for the Indian diagnostics industry?
I expect that the diagnostic to be a key contributor in the healthcare industry with the rise in spending, life expectancy, increasing income levels, growing awareness for preventive testing, advanced diagnostic tests offerings, increasing lifestyle-related diseases, coupled with Government healthcare measures. The diagnostic sector is already growing at a rapid pace, being one of the fastest expanding service verticals in India. Besides, changing behaviours and preferences of consumers towards seeking digital healthcare has given rise to huge investments in healthcare technologies and innovations.
Our vision is to make Metropolis ‘future-ready’ diagnostic chain of labs and continue to offer more robust and world-class diagnostic testing services, contributing to better healthcare across the country.

*This interview was first published in the May 2023 edition of the BioVoice eMagazine. 
VIABioVoice New Delhi Bureau
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Rahul Koul is a New Delhi-based journalist who writes on a variety of topics related to the life sciences sector. For a decade and a half, Rahul has been covering the industry and academia extensively, also contributing to many knowledge reports periodically. Besides being a qualified biotechnologist, he also has academic credentials in management and journalism. Rahul’s assignments have taken him to different destinations within the country and abroad. He was the recipient of CyberMedia's Person of the Year Award (Speciality Media Group Category) for journalism successively in 2010 and 2011.