About Varsha Lafargue
The president and Chairperson at i-Transition and ONE HealthCare Worldwide, Varsha Lafargue is the founding director for both the US-India businesses. Lafargue has 20+ years of experience working in various European, US and Indian markets in a variety of sectors. She has been collaborating with the government and the NGOs in improving education, leisure, and hospitality sectors. She is an active proponent of corporate social responsibility and ethics in work. Lafargue is also a contemporary entrepreneur in high-end retail industry, lifestyle products, infrastructure, healthcare and global expansions.
Medical Travel Today (MTT): Please describe your business model?
Varsha Lafargue (VL): As a business family we have been established since 1946. We are multi-faceted organizations that offer a variety of business portfolios, ranging from manufacturing and distribution of industrial and consumer products. Within this wide portfolio of our businesses, research and education are my forte.
MTT: Can you describe your role in the medical travel industry?
VL: Our aim at ONE HealthCare Worldwide (OHWW) is to bring focus to the primary healthcare providers and recipients. Our goal is to establish the good old-fashioned doctor-patient relationship. This relationship enhances patient care quality by increasing physician’s responsibility and betters risk management practice.
As the individual physicians become accountable for their patients, there are then fewer burdens on the entire healthcare system, as effective cost management becomes a reality. We aim to bring education and accountability to every tier of the healthcare system.
MTT: There are multiple opportunities to do that, correct?
VL: Yes. When we say people need to have a responsible healthcare delivery system, we are talking about protecting patient rights and protecting individuals with limited sources of information. So how do we go about ensuring that? We (the U.S. and most advanced countries) have a great legal system in place and it is crucial to protecting patient rights; however, it is contributing to the rising costs of healthcare delivery.
A simple doctor visit for an honest medical opinion soon becomes a more complex and expensive relationship. Complexity adds costs for all; therefore, well-informed parties to any healthcare system are essential.
MTT: Are you going to be targeting patients or individuals domestically (U.S.) or internationally?
VL: Internationally. Everyone needs quality healthcare. It doesn’t matter where an individual receives the care, as long as they know what they are getting and where-the right place for them will offer great value healthcare.
MTT: What makes you different than others that are in this space?
VL: We are focused on bringing education to the end consumers and the healthcare providers by setting realistic expectations, backed by a compliance system.
MTT: Are there specific Indian providers that you will be working with?
VL: Everyone is welcome! As long as they meet our goals and standards, we are open and ready to work with all.
MTT: Are there any specific areas of healthcare that you think are more needy than others? Is it in chronic conditions? Orthopedic surgery? What areas are most troublesome?
VL: With an aging population, orthopedics is very popular, as well as chronic conditions, neurology and cardiology, each advancing benefits with new technology. Even basic preventive healthcare and wellness are essential for all.
While the developing countries, like India, are not traditionally focused on aesthetic surgeries, there is a growing desire for cosmetic surgeries and enhanced aesthetics in the country.
Certainly, other areas of healthcare are being looked at more closely — stem cell therapy, surrogacy and IVF, etc.
MTT: If people wanted to find out about you and the kind of opportunities that you would offer to them in terms of accessing quality care at a more cost-effective cost/pricing structure, how would they find out about you?
- Business insights – Research, market intelligence and segmentation, cost effective methods, among others.
- Education – Improving quality of human capital and patient care, accreditation and training.
- Alliance opportunities – Our conferences offer an open and unbiased platform for all to meet and benefit through collaboration.
- Patient care – Expectations and review system through technology integration (this is a work in progress).
MTT: Your clients would typically be the hospitals themselves?
VL: They include independent clinics, hospitals, and government institutions.
MTT: How do you like the health care industry? Where do you think it is going?
VL: Intellectuals are collaborating while attempting to find solutions to the many healthcare problems that have developed over time. We believe global healthcare is heading in a positive direction, as medical tourism and its exponential growth has shown. Healthcare seems to be gaining recognition and gradually moving past the tipping point of escalated cost issues into a more stable value based healthcare system.
MTT: What do you think is the biggest challenge to the industry?
VL: The biggest challenges are lack of patient education and finding measures to cut wasteful expenditures in healthcare.
MTT: Please describe your upcoming event.
VL: The upcoming event will be held in India. We are determining the appropriate time to hold the conference, as it deserves undivided attention.
We would like to hold this event in Ahmedabad, a city in Gujarat, India. We opted for this city because of its location, which is closest to UAE and Africa, and there are several healthcare success stories to showcase.
Some success stories and efficient practices come from a public hospital system that includes hospital services with research capacities. Here patients can walk-in and seek professional care for approximately 70 cents. This fee gives them access to any specialist’s service for a period of15 days. These specialist doctors are paid at 600 rupees an hour, which translates to $10/hour and devote 3 hours per week away from their private practice.
MTT: Did you say 70 cents? You can’t even buy a pack of chewing gum for 70 cents.
VL: The extraordinary factor is that specialist doctors are enthusiastic about these opportunities to serve at this public hospital because they get recognition for their contributions in research.
They are meeting new types of patients where they are able to practice their knowledge fully since these facilities are research institutions, as well. Since this practice is welcome by the doctors, they get to practice medicine on specialty cases that needs collective efforts in treatment – under one roof and the experience they develop with such collective endeavor is priceless for their own practices.
Another excellent feature that needs to be mentioned is that couples (husbands and wives) are able to get insured for cancer for 2005 rupees, which translates into $35 for life with no age restriction.
If one hospital is successful at creating quality research material, than I think this is the most cost affordable way of doing research-a great value to healthcare.
I believe these are models that people need to be aware of.