I was born on a hot summer night in New Delhi in April 1949. My father was head of a joint family, which had his widowed mother, paternal uncle (retired), brothers and sisters. My father married my mother in 1948 and, she too became part of this joint family.

I was born at home as there was no hospital nearby. It was a rented house in Karolbagh, New Delhi. We did not have electricity in our home. We had hurricane lamps. The Doctor who was responsible for my delivery was Dr (Ms) J Mirchandani. She was a spinster and, I never found out what the initial “J” stood for? I believe I was her first case as a Gynecologist and Obstetrician!

Our Family Doctor:

Dr Mirchandani was our family doctor. She also helped my mother in the birth of my sister and brother in later years. Many years down the line, my younger sister’s children were born in Mirchandani Hospital! She was the doctor whom we went to for everything – cold, cough, fever, aches, pains, cuts, bruises etc. She attended to us and if required, directed us to a specialist but saw the reports and listened to the course of treatment suggested. She clarified all our doubts on the treatment suggested by the Specialist. She did not interfere with the advice, but if needed, clarified any doubts on our behalf.

For us, she was our Family Doctor. She was part of our family. She was invited to every celebration in our family. She did not attend many because she was busy but she had to be invited. The implicit faith that we all had in her was immense. Dr Mirchandani meant well for us and we could depend on her medical advice whenever we needed it. She knew the medical history of each member of our Joint Family.

Paying Respect:

When I was selected for National Defence Academy in June 1965 and decided to join the army, I went to her and took her blessings. Every time I came on leave, I had to go and pay my respects to her. Not only me, but all of us in our family met her not only for medical consultations but to share our joy and sorrow.

Dr Mirchandani is no more. I am not sure if her hospital still stands the testimony of time. I lost touch with her after her demise many years ago. But she is the only Family Doctor that I knew since in the army, we moved from one station to another quite frequently. We always had a different army doctor taking care of my family and me.

After my retirement from the army in 1995, we settled down in Coimbatore and I became an entrepreneur. In the past 21 years since retirement, we never had a Family Doctor. Either it was a doctor in a polyclinic or in a hospital. We choose doctors based on the need or recommendations from friends and relatives on our illness real and imaginary. Of course, Internet helps us to diagnose what the medical problem could be and, with so much of information you can get confused or worried! That is why you read, “Please consult your doctor before trying out the course of action suggested!”

Where have all the Family Doctors gone?

Where are the doctors who used Stethoscope, touched you, and checked your pulse, blood pressure and temperature? Why are we going to new doctors each time we have a medical problem and see them writing long list of tests? Why do we have multiple prescriptions and why most of the Specialist Doctor we go to, does not ask us about our other ailments for which we may be on medication or see the prescriptions?

Why do we go to Doctors who do not have time to listen to our medical problems? Why the very same doctors in whom we have so much of trust, are unconcerned, if we do not turn up with the reports of the lab tests ordered by them? Why do we never get to hear from the Doctor or his office as to how be our condition after the treatment has commenced? Where is the relationship that we had with our family doctors, which made us sleep well knowing that we will be cared for in times of need? Why our hospitals are so crowded that we have to wait for hours to see a doctor and when our turn comes, the doctor does not have time to speak to or listen to or examine or explain to us what our problem is and what the course of treatment is going to be and what we can expect and what is not possible? True, they are too busy with so many patients to see, patients in the wards to go and visit and spend time reading and learning to stay up to date with the developments in their respective fields.

So am I happy with what I go through to get my family’s and my medical problems attended to by a doctor who has no time for me or, would I prefer a Family Doctor? If family doctors are rare today, is there any way we can replace them by professional care with concern that a Family Doctor provided?

Innovation is the key to success:

Covai Property Centre (I) P Ltd (popularly known as Covai), are the pioneers in retirement communities that provides quality active living, services and care with passion and compassion to senior citizens across many cities in India, have come out with a concept named PolyCare that replaces Family Doctors in the modern times that we live today. As part of its diversification, brand CovaiCare of the Company will be opening its first PolyCare Centre (PCC) in Coimbatore very soon. I am the Managing Director of this Company.

COVAI’S PolyCare:

Covai’s PolyCare is a professional health care centre that provides a wide range of medical services to patients and maintains an efficient and effective monitoring system so that patients get professional assistance at all times. In effect, Covai’s PolyCare will be the “Family doctor” for each member of the PCC.

Members of Covai’s PolyCare can benefit from the following:

  • Consultation with doctors including General Physician, Dental, Pediatric, Neuropathy, Diabetic, Ayurvedic, Naturopathy, Acupuncture, Gynecologist, Geriatric, Physiotherapy, Heart etc.
  • Having personal medical and health record lifelong that is easily accessible. Strict confidentiality will be maintained.
  • Assistance for appointments with specialist doctors in multi-specialty hospitals including escort services with transport where necessary
  • In house Pharmacy and access to Laboratory facilities, including collection of samples
  • Ambulance Service in emergencies
  • Escort services to hospitals and Laboratories when requested
  • Ensuring timely visits to concerned doctors or hospitals as well as annual medical examinations.
  • Remainder services for medicines, medical tests, doctor visit etc
  • Care Giver Assistance
  • Physiotherapy and non intervention medical facilities

The Concept of PolyCare:

The concept is to provide professional and personal care as that of a Family Doctor to patients so that they get necessary diagnosis and treatment under one roof and where required meet Specialists in reputed Hospitals as per the need which will be arranged by Covai’s PolyCare and treatment monitored to ensure the patient gets professional care at all times. Covai’s PolyCare will be the nodal centre for its members for diagnosis, treatment, monitoring of medication and maintaining record of every member of the PolyCare that can be made available in times of need. The concept ensures that the patient does not go to hospital directly on perceived diagnosis but gets the necessary treatment in a professional and efficient manner with trained staff to assist at all times. The PolyCare will provide not only Allopathy but also “alternative” therapies like Acupuncture, Naturopathy, Non-invasive options from trained doctors, physiotherapy and rehabilitation etc. Covai’s PolyCare will be the nodal centre for professional patient’s care. Covai’s PolyCare will cater to all age groups with even ambulance and escort services for senior citizens.

Launch Details:

An initiative of Covai Property Centre (India) P Ltd, who are pioneers in senior living and care under brand CovaiCare, Covai’s PolyCare will be set up over 8000 sq ft in CovaiCare Towers in the famous Gated Community Gem Nirmaalayam at Ganapathy, Coimbatore and will be operational by end July 2017. For details please contact or +91 422 2567840

How can you help us?

We would be delighted to have your comments, ideas and views on this concept of PolyCare, which my Team CovaiCare and I are creating to bring in the concept of Family Doctors through Covai’s PolyCare. These are early days and your views and suggestions would help us a lot in refining what we have in our mind to implement. Look forward to your support and suggestions.

Thanks and regards.

Colonel (Veteran) Achal Sridharan, VSM

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