Dr. Dharminder Nagar: Czar of India’s Tier II Hospitals

By Sandhya Mishra

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Here’s the success story of docpreneur Dr. Dharminder Nagar, the founder of Paras Hospitals, who dared to take private healthcare to the road less travelled. In a conversation with Sandhya Mishra, he shares his journey.

Studies have marked that probably the most difficult role in the world is to be the son of a successful man. The pressure to come up to perceived expectations is inevitable. It can either make you or break you. Something similar happened with a guy named Dharmindar Nagar, one of the six sons of Chaudhary Ved Ram Nagar, the founder of one of India’s oldest and most thriving dairy businesses, Paras Dairy. Dharminder had not seen the hardships of poverty howbeit, born to a man who is a classic example of rags to riches. While the father made a huge splash in India’s dairy sector, Dharminder, though qualified enough, was not sure if he would be content practicing as a doctor. Today Dr. Dharminder Nagar is the successful healthcare entrepreneur surpassing all realistic and unrealistic expectations one can have from a son of a successful father.

He has the unique advantage of being a doctor, hospital administrator and entrepreneur all in one. Several qualifications that include an MBBS from Mysore Medical College, MPhil from BITS Pilani, MS from Imperial College and MBA from Harvard, have propelled this young and dynamic MD to the forefront of healthcare. 

Dr. Nagar was itching to bring about a difference in the healthcare availability scenario of the country. His desire was to do something towards bridging the gap in healthcare delivery between haves and haves not. When he returned to India post his medical stint and education in the UK, Dr. Nagar knew he did not want to practice medicine; he wanted to establish hospitals that would take quality healthcare beyond India’s select metropolitan cities. In 2006, out of his quest was born Paras Healthcare, a visionary organization that is leading the private healthcare surge in smaller towns and cities.

Started with a relatively small seed capital on a piece of land provided to him by his family, Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon was the first tertiary care hospital in this area, much before Gurgaon became the hub of high profile hospitals. It was also the beginning of Dr. Nagar’s journey to identify under-served populations and bridge their requirements through quality yet affordable tertiary care. As Gurgaon kept on growing, so did word of mouth about the affordability, accessibility and quality offered by Paras Hospital in multiple specialties.

Even as the Gurgaon hospital became a healthcare leader in its space, Paras Healthcare as an organization adopted a conscious approach to start a series of new hospitals in smaller towns and tier II cities where for years populations were deprived of quality healthcare facilities and had to travel long distances to nearest metropolitan cities in search of treatment. The first phase of expansion has focused on the north Indian states of Haryana, Bihar and Jharkhand.

Paras HMRI, Patna advanced the company’s mission of providing healthcare in remote, unchartered territories, being the single largest private healthcare provider in Bihar. This was followed by the establishment of Paras Hospitals, Darbhanga, the first private hospital in the region to have an ICU, cardiac facility and full-fledged in house diagnostics. Together, these two hospitals today provide state-of-the-art healthcare facilities and services to not just residents of Bihar but also those of adjoining areas of Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Nepal and Bangladesh. In Panchkula, Paras Hospitals’ new 232 bed multi super specialty hospital is again the largest private facility in the city. Paras Healthcare has also joined hands with reputed PSU Heavy Engineering Corporation for setting up a tertiary care hospital in Ranchi.

Specialty focus on women and child’s health is another domain that is close to Dr. Nagar’s heart. Paras Healthcare’s dedicated women and child hospitals Paras Bliss provides specialized maternity, neonatology & pediatric care in Panchkula and Delhi.

With profitability remaining a challenge in smaller markets, cost-reducing innovations have been a key driver of Paras Healthcare’s efforts. The innovations focus on keeping operational costs as low as possible without impacting the quality of healthcare. The hospital chain therefore puts a lot of emphasis on day care surgeries, laparoscopic procedures and digital technology. Lack of infrastructure and challenges in procuring talented healthcare professionals and support staff has also been a significant operational challenge in smaller towns. However, under Dr Nagar’s astute leadership, Paras Healthcare has devised solutions to these challenges.

Dr Nagar supports every Indian’s right to healthcare and plans to introduce new models of healthcare delivery that empower patients. Imparting awareness about healthy living practices is an important component of services at Paras hospitals. A dedicated rural strategy that includes telemedicine supports activities at Paras HMRI, Patna and enables communities in far flung areas of Bihar, Jharkhand and Haryana to access medical care.

Dr. Nagar was instrumental in securing a strategically important fund raising deal of Rs 275 crore (USD 42 million) from reputed PE firm Creador in 2017. The organization now intends to add 830 more beds, taking its total bed capacity to nearly 1600 across the country by 2020 with an approx. investment of Rs 500 crores.

In recognition of his pioneering work as an entrepreneur with a social bent, Dr. Dharminder Nagar was awarded the Entrepreneur of the Year (2015) Award at the India Health & Wellness Summit 2015 and Dynamic Healthcare Entrepreneur of the Year 2015 by Six Sigma Healthcare Awards at the World Entrepreneur Summit.