Dr. Devi Shetty is named as Economist innovator

The Economist magazine has named Dr. Devi Shetty as a recipient of its 2011 Innovation Awards. 

The magazine named Dr. Shetty, who plans to set up a medical tourism hospital in Grand Cayman, as an award winner for his pioneering work in business-process innovation. 

Tom Standage, digital editor at The Economist and chairman of the panel of 29 judges, said: “Dr. Shetty has shown that better health care need not cost more. Better processes can make a huge difference. He is renowned for his skill as a surgeon, but we are recognising his additional talent as an innovator, by naming him the winner of our business-process innovation award.” 

Dr. Shetty will receive his award at an award ceremony in London on 20 October. 

Previous award winners include the late Steve Jobs of Apple; Bill and Melinda Gates of Microsoft and their personal foundation; Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, and Sergey Brin and Larry Page of Google. 

The Economist also announced another health care innovator, Marc Koska, who set up a company called Star Syringe that created syringes that could not be re-used, thus preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS through shared needles. 

In April 2010, the government announced Dr. Shetty planned to set up the Narayana Cayman University Medical Centre in Cayman to provide tertiary care for patients from overseas.  

The first phase involves the creation of a 150-bed hospital that will provide tertiary care currently unavailable in Cayman, including open-heart surgery, cancer treatments, bone marrow transplants and organ transplants. The hospital would ultimately have 2,000 beds, the project developer has said. 

This August, the local partner in the project, Gene Thompson announced the hospital would be built on 600 acres in the High Rock area of East End. The site had been touted as the location for a proposed sea port, but the owner of the land, Joseph Imparato, facing opposition to that project, opted instead to sell the land to Dr. Shetty. 

Dr. Shetty’s local representatives say ground breaking at the site is expected “shortly”. 

A news release from the Economist read, “Devi Shetty, India’s leading heart surgeon and the director of a heart hospital in Calcutta, set out to apply Henry Ford’s philosophy – using mass-production techniques to cut costs through specialisation and economies of scale – to the Indian health care system.  

“In 2001, he founded Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospital in Bangalore with 1,000 beds, compared with an average of 160 in American heart hospitals. Dr. Shetty and his staff of cardiologists performed 6,272 heart operations last year, compared with 4,128 at the Cleveland Clinic, a leading American hospital. Each operation costs around $2,000 to $5,000, compared with $20,000 to $100,000 in America.” 

It cited the lower mortality rate at the Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospital of 1.4 per cent within 30 days of coronary-artery bypass-graft surgery, one of the most common procedures, compared with an average 1.9 per cent mortality rate in America.  

The Economist said during the next five years, Dr. Shetty plans to increase the number of hospital beds at the Bangalore site to 30,000 from 5,000 today.  

“Despite serving a much poorer population, Dr. Shetty’s privately owned hospital group earns an after-tax profit of 8 per cent, slightly above the 6.9 per cent average for an American hospital,” the Economist wrote. 

Mr. Thompson, who is director of operations in Cayman for the health care city project, said, “We are very pleased – but not surprised – that Dr. Shetty is being recognised internationally for his innovative approach to providing the highest quality health care at the lowest possible cost. His business model increasingly is being studied throughout the world, and his facilities in Cayman will help establish our country as a leader in the growing medical tourism industry.” 

The Cayman Islands government has passed several laws to pave the way to set up the hospital, including the Health Practice Law, which enables medical staff trained in India and other overseas countries to practise in Cayman; the Tax Concessions (Amendment) Law, which exempts companies from potential future taxes; and the Medical Negligence (Non-Economic Damages) (Amendment) Law, which caps pain and suffering damages awarded in medical malpractice cases to $500,000.  

A final piece of legislation, which will allow human organ and tissue donations and transplants to be done in Cayman, is being drafted and is expected to be tabled later this year. 

Dr Devi Shetty

Dr. Shetty


  1. I just hope the government gets things moving along as quickly as possible on this hospital, that we so desperately need, before Dr. Shetty changes his mind, or another island woos him away. The cost of the land is negligible to him, he’d just put it up for sale. They need to start construction NOW. Not next year, not next month, not next week — NOW. Expedite this through !!!

  2. Our population is roughly 55,700 here in the Cayman Islands. A 2,000 bed hospital is roughly 3.5% of our population.Hospitals generate A LOT OF GARBAGE.Do we have things in place to protect our environment including the water lenses. Look at Mount Trashmore. Do we need a much larger Mount Trashmore to leave as an inheritance for our children to sort out. Sure Health Care is costly and it sames to be a good idea to build such a state-of-the art hospital here in Cayman but are we prepared for the long term impact on our environment.The volume of patients that will be benefiting from this project are from overseas but we and our children have to live in this environment for the rest of our lives.Is it worth the cost to us here in Cayman?

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