Today we are publishing an interview with NefroMed CEO Ashish Sudhanshuevich Tyagi. We talked about the opening of new centers, the results of 2022 and plans for 2023.
— Ashish, please tell us, how are the areas of responsibility distributed in NefroMed?
— In general, quality control in the company is provided for by our SOPs —standard operating procedures based on the methodology of the German company B. Braun. The company has been developing them for years and has implemented them in more than 350 centers around the world. Our staff is trained on their basis, so the quality meets international standards. Of course, we also have our own achievements, but in general, our company relies on the international experience of B. Braun.
— How is quality control carried out at different levels?
— Our company has different levels of responsibility, which are implemented by the medical director, chief nurse, chief engineer and other specialists from the central office in St. Petersburg. We also have regional managers who manage centers in different regions of the country. Our management experience is verified by both internal and external audits.
— You run the company together with your sister: how are the areas of responsibility distributed between you and Shalini?
— We have a very large staff of experienced employees, besides Shalini and me, who are involved in the company's day-to-day running.
Shalini and I have different tasks: I’m in charge of the strategy and financial management of the company, and Shalini takes care of the company’s image and the appearance of the centers. Most of the ideas for marketing, social networks, and centers design are entirely her merit. She is a visualizer and creator of the NefroMed brand.
— There are heads of centers, a medical director, a manager for internal quality and safety control in the company, but at the same time, patients also come to you with their questions. What are these questions about?
— Yes, there are some patients I talk to a lot. And I am pleased to do it. Unfortunately (or fortunately), due to the size and the number of centers of the NefroMed company, I'm not able to visit them as often as I want to. But I communicate with both patients and staff upon arrival.
According to world statistics, more than 80% of patients' questions do not directly relate to medicine and treatment. In general, these are questions of comfort: the comfort of the seats, the availability of the Internet and its speed, and the temperature in the rooms: cold or warm. We regularly communicate with patients in our centers and we are trying to consider their comments.
Social networks have made it easier to get these comments and respond to them. Now we can do it much faster and more often.
— How do you see NefroMed?
— It seems to me that NefroMed has proved itself very well over the past few years. And this is a big merit of the staff. Our company has got highly qualified specialists who love their work. The success of treatment and the relationship between patients and the dialysis center are often the merits of the local staff.
In most cases, patients come to the center not because of comfort and convenience, but because of the medical staff. It is nurses who devote a lot of attention and time to patients: they connect and disconnect the dialysis machine, and they observe a patient during the treatment.
— What growth points do you see for the company?
— First, we always plan our centers in such a way that they have the opportunity to receive some more patients if necessary. We receive daily requests from new patients. It is not always possible to find the desired time, but we always try to make concessions.
Secondly, we are trying to develop our centers in regions where we do not yet exist, and where it is needed. There are still regions in our country, where patients spend quite a lot of time on the road because there are no dialysis centers near their place of residence.
— How do you make a decision on which city to choose for a new center?
— In most cases, our patients let us know because they communicate with each other, they know each other. And often the experts themselves talk about the workload of the center and the need for a new one.
According to world statistics, an average amount of dialysis is calculated per million population. These data depend on the dialysis availability of regions and countries. In some countries, the average number is 600-700 patients per million population, in Russia - much lower.
This does not mean that we have fewer patients, it's just because the country is very large. We are gradually covering the regions in need. Some patients are not included in the statistics.
Even within the country, the availability of dialysis is different. For example, it is more available in Moscow and St. Petersburg. But I want this to change positively and I want dialysis to become available to all those in need.
I believe that this is our job (including all medical organizations) to make medicine more accessible and closer to the patient's place of residence. They need dialysis not once a month but on an ongoing basis three times a week. Of course, I would like each patient to have the opportunity to get to the center in a reasonable time.
— Why do you choose this equipment manufacturer? Are there any supply issues right now?
— Our patients know that we use high-quality medical equipment and consumables from the B. Braun company. Today it is a global manufacturer. Very many patients during treatment in our clinics said that they began to feel better.
We believe this has to do with both water quality and our water treatment systems. We regularly test ourselves and our work. It is very important for us. But I think that everything in general makes the treatment effective and safe for our patients: water, consumables, equipment, and, of course, the experience of our specialists.
Why did we choose this manufacturer in the first place? The story is simple. My father has been associated with this company for a very long time. At first, he was a distributor of the company, then he was in charge of B. Braun's Avitum division in Russia, and now he’s in charge of B. Braun in the whole country.
I consider it merits of him and his team to open B. Braun centers in Russia. They have already opened more than 80 clinics around the country.
To be honest, I am also a pupil of B. Braun: I worked in the central office in Germany and managed clinics in Asia. Therefore, it is obvious why we chose B. Brown.
There are no supply problems today. But even if they arise, patients do not notice this, because we keep sufficient stocks of materials.
—What was 2022 for NefroMed, in your opinion?
2022 has been a challenging year. In 2021 it was much more difficult of course: high infectious risks, the workload on staff, additional shifts and work 24 hours a day. The hardest part was for the staff on the ground. The main office was organizationally more difficult: chaos and agiotage in the market (what cost 3 rubles began to cost 30). And remote work was not easy for everyone.
— What is the main achievement, in your opinion?
— I believe that this is an opportunity to give our patients access to high-quality treatment and comfortable conditions - this is important to us. Any person who is at least a little aware of what it means to visit a medical institution for at least 4 hours three times a week understands how important this is. Therefore, our achievements are the words of patients who thank us for the fact that they were able to work again, lead an active life and gradually return to their previous lifestyle.
We have a lot of such stories: some of the patients are musicians, some are athletes, some are tutors and all of them continue to do what they love. It's valuable and important to us. We want to know these stories, we want to support our patients in their endeavors and their favorite activities.
— How do you see the company in 2023?
— We will continue to improve the safety, quality and comfort of our centers. We will open new clinics; we will make them more accessible for those who need dialysis. We still have many ideas of how to get it better for our patients, so there is something to work on.
Dear colleagues and patients, your feedback is very important to us. We read it, we listen to it, we respond to it and we make changes to our work if it is required.
I would like to take the opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year! I wish you happiness, joy, smiles and health!