On the Road- India

Today I left for India. I am flying Jet Airways. I do have to say that the Business Class accommodations are pretty amazing- at least to me. Separate cubicles of sort for each person. I posted photos. I think I need a manual to figure out how the seat works. There was a lot to prepare for me to go. First I need to get a “visa.” This was a 2 day process but painless in retrospect. There is a company that the India Consulate farms this out to on 53rd and first in Manhattan. The good news is that there is a cigar bar a couple of blocks away allowing a Davidoff Double R and Gloria Cubana Serie R while waiting.

With Visa and Passport in hand I am on my flight. So how did I get this idea to go to India? First of all, as far back as I can remember India seemed a most exotic place to me. Asia, elephants, Gandhi. King Cobras, The Jungle Book (Disney movie), The Jungle Book (Rudyard Kipling). Not exactly why I am going. I am going because I really do believe this is a very small planet and that connecting the healthcare in the United States with the growing medical systems in India is happening now and I have some ideas on how this can happen- especially our of a hospital in the South Bronx that services some of the poorest people at least in the USA. I know there are all kinds of organizations that do this and do that but somehow I believe that individual people meeting individual people and doing things between each other will accomplish something different than corporate health ideas. This is a trip of colleagues meeting colleagues. Giving back and forth. There was an interesting opportunity to connect with some very interesting people and places so here I am. Along the way- we will see what happens.

Last May, I had the honor of being asked to give the keynote lecture to a very interesting and extremely smart group of people- the CIO Executive Summit in New York organized by a company Evanta (www.evanta.com, www.bycios.com). I was invited by the then CIO of Stryker Brian Lurie and met the CIO’s of many outstanding companies including JP Morgan, Avon, UPS, Ace Insurance, and TCS (Tata Consulting Services). As a long-time geek I felt quite at home, my talk- “It’s a Bug’s Life- Healthcare Reform from the Ground Up” was well received (I think) and afterward I was able to speak to many of the participants.

Chandra Sekar, the CIO of Ace Insurance, approached me about possibly meeting his brother-in-law who is a senior Orthopaedic surgeon in Chennai, India. His BIL, Nandkumar Sundaram (Kumar) within a month came and visited me at my hospital and into our operating room and had the chance to observe the information management system we put together in our department. This included a cloud database running over 80 databases analyzing every activity in the hospital and the clinics real time (programmed by the docs), OR video capture and streaming done with all off-the-shelf products, live feed videoconferencing with no more than $100 start-up, and more. After the visit he invited me to Chennai and I accepted.

Since I decided to go the Chairman of Pediatrics at my hospital Ram Kairam, spoke with me about extending my trip slightly north to the city of Visakhapatnam where he and the Chairman of Medicine at our hospital Sridhar Chilimuri went to medical school. With that said and with a lot of help from my colleagues I arranged two days there at Andhra Medical Collage and King George Hospital. Then Vellore Pirithival, MD, a general surgeon and colleague at my hospital invited me to speak at the 4th Indo American Winter CME Conference in Coimbatore, India. WIth all this done and with the extraordinary help of Chrissy Manning the Department Director of the Orthopaedics somehow all this and a tight itinerary was constructed and like a scene in Saving Private Ryan I was extracated from the Bronx, plopped on a Jet Airways flight to thrust to India.

Left at 6:30 PM from Newark on Saturday. Will arrive 12:30 AM on Monday in Chennai. Somehow there is a loss of a day. You need a physics PhD from Cal Poly to figure that one out.


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