THIS IS A MOMENTOUS year for Apollo Hospitals. The hospital chain turned 40, while its founder chairman, Dr. Prathap C. Reddy, turned 90. It was in 1983 that the first 150-bed Apollo Hospital opened on Greams Road in Chennai and redefined Indian healthcare. Reddy, then a 50-year-old cardiologist, had returned from U.S. on his father’s request to do something to improve the lives of ordinary people in India.

Apollo Hospitals, named after the Greek god of healing, offered consumers a state-of-the-art multi-specialty hospital that was years ahead of the dysfunctional government hospitals. At the end of FY23, it remains India’s largest hospital chain with 70 hospitals and over 9,900 beds. It has the largest offline pharmacy in the country and is the leading retail healthcare network with 343 primary clinics, 129 dental clinics, 111 dialysis centres and 1,750 diagnostic collection centres. Net sales rose from ₹10,605 crore in FY21 to ₹16,612.45 crore in FY23. Profit after tax was ₹819.07 crore in FY23; it has grown at a CAGR of 21.65% over last three years.

Apollo has many firsts to its credit. It set new standards by getting the first JCI accreditation in India in 2005. It is present across the healthcare value chain right from tertiary hospitals, secondary hospitals and pharmacies to primary care and diagnostic clinics. It also offers telemedicine facilities in several countries and has a large medical tourism practice.

After focusing on cardiology, Apollo today puts great emphasis on oncology and robotic procedures. It has carried out 10,000-plus robotic surgeries till date. The benefits have been obvious. For instance, use of robots has reduced patient stay in joint replacement procedures by up to 25%. “Robotics is one more step in our mission to bring the best healthcare to all and we strongly believe that it will form the backbone of our country’s medical infrastructure in the decade to come,” Dr. Prathap Reddy said at the recent annual general meeting. He is convinced that technology will drive growth. “Artificial intelligence and machine learning models will enable us to build superior decision support systems to help our clinicians,” he said.

After dealing with Covid, vaccination and patient care, the group has turned focus towards Apollo Connect with a vision to touch a billion lives. Apollo wants to create the largest connected healthcare ecosystem in India and empower hospitals and nursing homes across metros and non-metros. It has created a partner network for which it has rolled out proprietary services like e-ICU, diagnostics, surgical consultations, remote monitoring, clinical & quality training as well as accreditation support using IT as the backbone. Cashing in on digital technologies, Apollo Telehealth has enabled consultations from anywhere. It has handled over 3,000 tele-emergency cases and established more than 700 centres in seven states. It helped a hospital in Moradabad set up a laboratory in collaboration with Apollo Diagnostics.

Over the last few years, Dr. Reddy’s four daughters — Dr. Preetha Reddy, executive vice-chairperson; Shobana Kamineni, executive vice-chairperson; Suneeta Reddy, managing director; and Dr. Sangita Reddy, joint managing director, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise, have been running the enterprise. Apollo Hospitals was the first to roll out telemedicine services almost 20 years ago. Now, the founder family is using their expertise to create a network that caters to the needs of the average Indian.

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