FOR BRINGING MEDICAL CARE
TO THE MASSES
Narayana Hrudayalaya is Walmart
meets Mother Teresa.
The organization, a complex of
health centers based in southern India
(narayana hrudayalaya means “God’s
compassionate home” in Sanskrit), offers
low-cost, high-quality specialty care in a
largely impoverished country of 1. 2 billion
people. By thinking differently about
everything from the unusually high num-
ber of patients it treats to the millions for
whom it provides insurance—and by
thinking a lot like the world’s largest
retailer—the hospital group is able to con-
tinually wring out costs. Narayana Hruday-
alaya’s operations, for instance, include the
world’s largest and most prolific cardiac
hospital, where the average open-heart
surgery runs less than $2,000, a third or
less what it costs elsewhere in India and a
fraction of what it costs in the U. S.
Two days on the job with Dr. Devi Shetty, the
hospital's founder and still a practicing physician
1 A mother implores Shetty to save her daughter.
2 Via Skype, Shetty explains a diagnosis to the
father of a sick child in Calcutta.
3 The waiting room outside Bangalore. Shetty
estimates that as many as 2. 5 million people in India
need heart surgery, but the treatment is still too
expensive for most. The hospital group helps many
of its patients through its micro-insurance pro-
gram, the largest in the country.
4, 5 Shetty operates six days a week, performing
operations that typically last four hours but can
take twice as long when complications arise.