Aravind Eye Care system – An Integration of Business and Humanity
Aravind Eye Hospital was founded in 1976 by Dr. G. Venkataswamy in India to eliminate needless blindness. Though the first hospital was established in Madurai, it serves in many locations like Pondicherry, Salem, Coimbatore, Theni, Kolkata, Tirunalveli and Amethi. It was named after Sri Aurobindo, one of the most esteemed spiritual leaders in twentieth century.Dr. G. Venkataswamy was inspired by the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and wanted to turn the essence of his teachings into humanity.
Initially the hospital was established with a motive to serve poor people who could not afford eye surgeries by providing them surgeries for free. However, it was not as successful as expected. Later, a hybrid model was introduced. In the earlier stages, eye camps were conducted where the prescribed eye glasses were fitted. The cases which require eye surgeries were referred to main hospital. The patients that require IOL (Intraocular Cataract Lenses) surgeries had to pay a cost of Rs 500. It was even lower for poorer patients. But in 1995, the Government of India launched a cataract blindness control program with the aid of World Bank and provided subsidy to Aravind camp patients. Hence, this amount is waived from the patients. But, this is less than 20%, so there is a chance of one in five patients to get a free surgery.
However, due to constant efforts to improve their efficiency and management methods, Aravind hospital successfully reduced its time to perform each surgery which helped to increase the acceptance rate by more than 80% at present. Aravind’s HR policies are unique. The success of Aravind made it a case study in several national and international institutions and business schools including Harvard Business School. Aravind achieved many awards. FICCI award, India’s Most Innovative Hospital Award, Gates Award and Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize are some of them.