Devi Prasad Shetty is a name synonymous with affordable healthcare in India. The 68-year-old cardiac surgeon and entrepreneur is the founder and chairman of Narayana Health, a chain of 21 medical centres in India that has performed more than 100,000 heart surgeries. He has been recognized with the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan, the fourth and third highest civilian awards by the Government of India, for his contribution to the field of affordable healthcare.
Shetty's journey started in Kinnigoli, a village in the Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka, India. He was the eighth of nine children and was inspired to become a heart surgeon after hearing about Christiaan Barnard, a South African surgeon who had just performed the world's first heart transplant. Shetty completed his MBBS in 1979 and post-graduate work in General Surgery from Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore. He then went on to complete FRCS from Royal College of Surgeons, England.
After returning to India in 1989, Shetty performed the first neonatal heart surgery in the country in 1992, on a 21-day-old baby Ronnie. He later operated on Mother Teresa after she had a heart attack and subsequently served as her personal physician. In 2001, Shetty founded Narayana Hrudayalaya, a multi-specialty hospital in Bommasandra on the outskirts of Bangalore.
Shetty's approach to healthcare is unique in that he aims to use economies of scale to reduce the cost of healthcare in India by 50% in the next 5-10 years. He has been successful in doing so with the Narayana Hrudayalaya model, which provides cardiac surgery, cardiology, neurosurgery, paediatric surgery, haematology and transplant services, and nephrology among other services. The heart hospital is the largest in the world with 1000 beds performing over 30 major heart surgeries a day. Shetty's hospitals also provide substantial free care, especially for poor children.
Shetty's efforts have been recognized by many, including The Wall Street Journal newspaper, which described him as "the Henry Ford of heart surgery." He aims to trim costs with measures such as buying cheaper scrubs and using cross ventilation instead of air conditioning, which has cut the price of coronary bypass surgery to 95,000 rupees ($1,583), half of what it was 20 years ago. In 2013, he aimed to get the price down to $800 within a decade, which is significantly lower than the same procedure that costs $106,385 at Ohio's Cleveland Clinic.
Shetty's approach to patient care is also innovative, such as drafting and training patients' family members to administer after-surgical care. Surgeons in his hospitals perform 30 to 35 surgeries a day, compared to one or two in a US hospital. His approach has made him a hero to many, with urban India calling him "Henry Ford" for his assembly line approach to heart surgeries and rural Indians calling him "Bypasswale Baba" (bypass saint) because anyone who comes to Devi Shetty's Ashram/hospital gets a bypass if he or she dreams of it.
In addition to his impressive work in the field of healthcare, Shetty has also been recognized for his philanthropic efforts. He has established several charitable organisations, including the Aditya Heart Foundation and the Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty Foundation, which focuses on providing free or subsidised healthcare to those in need. His hospitals also provide substantial free care, especially for poor children.
Shetty's achievements have earned him numerous accolades and awards, including the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan, two of the highest civilian awards in India. In addition, he has been honoured with several international awards, including the Raffles International Award for Medicine and Healthcare from Singapore and the Franchise India Award for Healthcare Entrepreneur of the Year.
Despite his many accomplishments, Shetty remains humble and committed to his mission of making quality healthcare accessible and affordable to all. He continues to work tirelessly to expand his network of hospitals and to innovate new ways to drive down the cost of medical procedures.
In conclusion, Devi Prasad Shetty is an inspirational figure who has made a tremendous impact in the field of healthcare. His dedication to providing affordable and accessible medical care has helped thousands of people in India and around the world. As he continues to expand his network of hospitals and implement new cost-saving measures, he will undoubtedly continue to be a leading figure in the healthcare industry.