“Besides entirely touch-free restrooms, concierge medicine is getting popular”
Indian healthcare, which is estimated to be a Rs 20 lakh crore industry, will ride on the wave of swelling precedence of lifestyle diseases, heightened health awareness, rising income, and greater access to insurance, according to India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF). The country’s hospital industry itself is expected to touch Rs 8.60 lakh crore in turnover by FY22, IBEF adds. Besides, healthcare is today in sharp focus due to the Covid-19 pandemic and related health concerns.
In such times, the building products industry is expected to rise to the occasion and help create robust healthcare infrastructure across the country. Industry leaders such as Sloan India have a crucial role to play in safeguarding occupants and make these facilities pandemic-proof through the use of state-of-the-art plumbing technology. The company’s country head Anup Kumar Tripathi discusses the outlook for the healthcare sector and Sloan’s vision and goals therein, in Sourcing Hardware’s #BPHIHealthcare series.
What is the outlook for the healthcare industry from the point of view of building products?
Well, healthcare facilities of all types are working to mitigate the spread of healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) through smart restroom design. The HAIs can be spread through direct contact, ingesting infected water or inhaling infected water vapour. In fact, studies have shown that almost half of HAIs may be caused by infected water.
Let me underscore this. Commercial restroom products are now minimising the spread of HAIs through the development of touch-free products, as well as product features that minimise the amount of stagnant water in pipes and keep water from mixing with germ-filled air. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, I believe that this is now more important than ever.
What technologies or services that you have developed are particularly targeted at the healthcare industry?
Our company has developed touch-free products for application across the entire restroom, to help minimise contact with surfaces where germs breed and promote hand hygiene. Specifically speaking, some of our faucets feature LCD panels to guide users through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) handwashing recommendations. Our Gooseneck faucet spouts also allow handwashing up the elbows, working in concert with the ESS-3100 stainless steel one-station wall-mounted deluxe scrub sink. Additionally, SloanTec hydrophobic glaze not only makes fixtures easier to clean, but it also inhibits the growth of germs and bacteria.
Healthcare facilities are specifying all-in-one integrated sink systems like Sloan’s AER-DEC to keep water within the sink and reduce the potential for water spilling on the floor. With the faucet, soap dispenser, and hand dryer all within arm’s reach, users do not have to tread halfway across the restroom with wet hands before drying them.
Another recent trend I must emphasise is the advent of faucets and flush valves that conduct an automatic purge every 24-48 hours to rid themselves of bacteria and the core components of Legionnaires’ disease that live inside stagnant pipes.
What have been your key achievements in the overseas healthcare industry?
Tremendous! Our products are supporting healthcare facilities across the United States. Sloan Optima faucets are heightening hygiene with their touch-free operation to improve the handwashing process for patients and caregivers at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) in Nashville, Tennessee. We have the ETF-80 Optima hardwired deck-mounted faucets that enable the VUMC maintenance team to remotely monitor each faucet through the Sloan Connect App and put data right at their fingertips.
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What vision or goals have you developed for the industry?
In addition to developing an entirely touch-free restroom experience, concierge medicine is very popular right now. The trend to instil a sense of ‘home’ in maternity wings and rooms started years ago. Now that home-like environment is moving to other areas of the hospital, you have floors that are entirely concierge, so these rooms look and feel much more like home compared to a typical hospital. We are designing more aesthetically-pleasing products that fit well with the new design trend.
Who are the key influencers for this industry, and how are you going to address their knowledge and information needs?
When we talk about influencers for the industry, it is an amalgamation of architects and hospital consultants. As far as Sloan is concerned, we mostly interact with plumbing consultants and architects across the nation and closely engage with them. We have developed an excellent network in the southern parts of India also, because there are several emerging hospital chains. As far as their knowledge and information needs are concerned, we are providing regular learning programmes or educational courses, presentations through webinars and video meetings. We are ensuring that all information in terms of products and restrooms infrastructure is duly made available.
What role could your channel partners play in addressing the demand from the segment? How are you preparing them to represent your company effectively?
I see channel partners playing a crucial role because they are the representatives in their respective areas. We are providing regular training to all our channel partners’ sales teams, customer care teams, storage teams and also the showroom managers. We are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that they are well accustomed to the values, integrity and business tree of Sloan, as they represent and promote the company to the stakeholders.
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