Elizabeth G. Clark, a Hospital Analyst for Kerala Institute of Medical Science (KIMS) in Thiruvananthapuram, India, leads multiple projects for the improvement of patient services, and heads the development of training for emergency medicine services for hospitals in India.
KIMS is a 600 bed multidisciplinary hospital that offers specialty services at affordable costs. Four years ago the hospital was entering a new phase of growth, and the Chairman of the hospital, Dr. M.I. Sahadulla knew assistance from experts outside of India could help create needed change. Ms. Clark, a trained professional in public health, was recruited by Dr. Sahadulla to help KIMS develop systems that would better support patient care. There are a variety of services the hospital provides for patients on a daily basis that require extensive training. Her job was to figure out what services were not working well, and how they could be improved or changed.
Ms. Clark is especially passionate about making improvements to emergency medicine in India. In her first month at KIMS, Dr. Sahadulla put her in charge of a project to improve emergency services. She contacted Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY to start a three-year residency program for emergency medicine in India, with the academic support from the University.
Earlier this year Liz also approached Boston University School of Public Health, and hosted two graduate researchers. The three of them have published a paper based on their research findings entitled “Development of post graduate program in emergency medicine in India: Current status, scope and career pathways.” This research will assist in the development of curriculum for emergency medicine.
“I see emergency medicine as being integral to strengthening the Indian healthcare system in terms of its performance, accessibility, its cost effectiveness. It bodes well for everyone who comes to India for healthcare. This will help strengthen healthcare across the board,” says Ms. Clark.
The majority of KIMS international patients are from the Maldives and Gulf region of the Middle East. KIMS is the largest and closest tertiary care center to the Maldives. The Maldivian government provides citizens with small cash stipends for healthcare. Since its healthcare infrastructure is not well established, citizens often travel to India for services. KIMS has a help desk, chef, and guesthouses in the surrounding area that cater specifically to Maldivian patients to make them feel more comfortable.
The Gulf region and Kerala have shared cultural history and have been trading partners for centuries. KIMS has promoters for the hospital in the Middle East that make people aware of the services, especially the high-end oncology services, and often bring patients and their families to the hospital.
This past year KIMS installed a PET scan, as well as other specialized equipment not regularly found in the Middle East, India, or Southeast Asia. Non-resident Indians that work in other parts of the world often still come home to India for healthcare because of the high-end, specialized services and complex surgeries available at a low cost. “I would argue that India has a good track record of delivering high quality care that meets clinical needs to patients that are presented to the hospital system,” says Ms. Clark.