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Apollo Hospitals - hospitable?
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  Apollo Hospitals - hospitable?
Apollo Hospitals
hospitable?
by Preeti Khicha
January 12, 2009

Apollo Hospitals, founded by Dr. Pratap C. Reddy, is the largest group of hospitals in Asia. Established in 1970 to meet the needs of financially strapped Indian citizens with limited access to quality medical help, this chain of healthcare centers is now celebrating its 25th year of operations.
 
Healthcare is an essential service to any society. India, propelled by an affluent and health-conscious growing middle class, has witnessed a 14 percent per annum growth in the last decade. The industry is currently estimated at US$ 45 billion. The country is now home to 1.1 billion people, and there are just 143 doctors for every 10,000 people (the US, by comparison, has 2,400 doctors for every 10,000 people). In India, the need for quality and accessible healthcare is dire, particularly among the young, with a mortality rate of one out of every 12 children.

With plans to significantly increase its 10,000-bed capacity across India, Apollo’s aspirations must coincide with a concerted and aggressive strategy to exploit every avenue of communicating with the Indian population—especially online. So does Apollo’s e-presence receive a healthy review, or does it fall ill and fail to deliver on its founder’s altruistic brand promises?

Keeping with the latest trends, Apollo Hospitals’ homepage features a flash banner. The rotating images—evocative pictures of hospital facilities and happy patient-doctor interactions—help create a sense of sincere concern and personal care on behalf of hospital staff and doctors. In an often impersonal and bureaucratic industry such as healthcare, instilling confidence in patients and building trust (as with any brand) results in customer satisfaction and repeat business.

Furthermore, the homepage’s YouTube link leads visitors to a portal filled with patient testimonies regarding their experiences and treatment at Apollo Hospitals. Utilizing this type of media, especially to deliver such personal and direct content, helps reinforce the credibility of the Apollo Hospitals brand, though Apollo may want to consider showcasing such testimonials on its own website.

The different menu options on the hospitals’ homepage allow visitors to easily explore different areas of the site. They can check out the offerings and amenities at different hospitals across the country or simply learn more about the group in the “About Us” section.

The homepage also includes a blinking emergency contact icon on the top of the page for anyone interested in learning more about emergency protocols and how ambulance services—even air ambulances—work. There is an e-contact icon that takes visitors to the “Apollo edoc” portal, which is very informative, well designed and practical for people looking to schedule appointments. It provides relevant details for prospective patients such as the availability of doctors, their specialties, locations and even pre-consultation tips. However, when users are directed to the Apollo edoc area, there is no option that allows them to return to the corporate site.

 
 
Apollo Hospitals - hospitable? As with other brands, customers look for unique features and differentiating factors that influence—based on their individual needs—their purchases. From that perspective, the Apollo website effectively highlights specific aspects of the patient’s experience, such as insurance filing, community-based activities, corporate programs, check-in procedures, types of rooms, and other nuances and bureaucratic hurdles endemic to the sometimes convoluted process of being admitted into a hospital.

The virtual patient section of the website deserves special attention. This feature allows patients to upload videos, photos and audio clips for loved ones staying at the hospital. Concerned family and friends can do this with the help of a vPv (a coordinator from the hospital), and it serves as an important and uplifting service for people who are unable to visit loved ones in person. Sadly—at the time this article was researched and written—this feature was out of service and displayed an error message. This definitely has a negative influence on the brand, particularly in an industry like healthcare, where mistakes and lack of attention to detail take on an even greater significance.

All in all, the Apollo website has done an excellent job organizing important information and focusing on usability and navigation from the perspective of a patient or loved one of a patient. With an obvious concern for and focus on people—and not just anonymous customers to put up with—the Apollo website successfully reinforces the intent and promises behind the original brand and its founder.

 

Preeti Khicha currently lives in Mumbai, India. She graduated from the University of Bath, UK, with a master's degree in management, specializing in marketing. She holds an undergraduate degree in economics and psychology from the University of Virginia, USA.

*Due to the constantly changing environment of websites, some reviews may no longer reflect the current website for this brand.
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