By Shabiya Ali Ahlam
World famous Falck has launched its emergency medical services in Colombo at the Ministry of Disaster Management by implementing a state-of-the-art pre-hospital care system to reduce preventable death and disability in Sri Lanka.
The company said hundreds of people were left disabled due to accidents and medical emergencies every year in the country, hence its services would be very useful.
Danish emergency services company Falk, which acquired Medi1 Ltd. in mid 2012, is shaping up as a national healthcare infrastructure development project and its initial 18 months of operations are focused on establishing a strong foundation of pre-hospital care training and developing a sustaining business model.
On launching this much-needed emergency medical service in Colombo, Falck CEO/Managing Director Donnie Woodyard Jr told the Daily FT that the company was committed to providing high quality emergency services and expanding these services in Sri Lanka.
“Although our initial ground ambulance response is limited to Colombo, our air medical response is available islandwide. We will continue to expand our staff and fleet as demand for our services increases,” he said.
Equipped with experienced multinational staffs along with a technically designed fleet of emergency ambulances, Falck in Sri Lanka is accredited and registered with the American Safety and Health Institute (ASHI) and Australasian Registry of EMTs in addition to the Sri Lanka Ministry of Health (MOH) while all of its medical personnel are trained in accordance to the international standards for pre-hospital and emergency medical services.
Renowned as the world largest international ambulance provider treating over five million patients around the globe every year and with its operations in 36 countries, this Nordic-based organisation provides both emergency and non-emergency out of hospital medical services, including 24-hour emergency ambulance response in its service area and 24-hour doctor at home services.
Designed and outfitted according to the strict European Union standard (EN-1789), every ambulance of Falck has the latest emergency cardiac, trauma, maternity and paediatric life support equipments.
Putting GPS technology to good use by ensuring closest ambulance and rapid response unit sent immediately to the called location, the 24 hour trilingual emergency communications center will dispatch within minutes skilled personnel who will provide life saving emergency treatment at the scene of the emergency and continue the care during transporting period to the most appropriate hospital.
When questioned on how far the establishment of Falcks services will be by the end of 2013, Woodyard expressed that Falck was committed to its core values, which means no accommodation would be made to compromise on the quality of service and meeting its promise to the customers.
The organisation wants to ensure its responding to its current service area – Greater Colombo – before expanding elsewhere. Nevertheless the managing head said that Falck was working on expansion plans to take its service to other parts of Sri Lanka including cities, tourist areas and business zones.
The concept being fairly new to Sri Lanka, to make known to customers the availability of such services in the country Falck will continue to expand its marketing campaign which will include traditional marketing and awareness campaigns.
One of Falck’s international mottos is ‘People helping People’. “Based on this, we will focus much of our efforts on a grass-roots campaign including door-to-door, special events, and word of mouth. We believe the best way to promote our services is to provide the highest level of service when someone calls,” Woodyard asserted.
Strengthening its collaboration in Sri Lanka, Falck is already in partnership among a number of leading corporations in Sri Lanka with primarily the telecommunications, insurance, and healthcare industries. Organisations partnered with include; Dialog, Airtel, Etisalat, Mobitel, HNB Assurance, Lanka Hospitals, Asiri Hospitals, and Nawaloka Hospitals.
As a global company, Falck seeks to work in partnership with related industries and the one partnership that is very specific to this emergency medical service provider is its telecommunication partnership. Woodyard stressed that this partnership was being looked as a potential example which could be replicated in other markets.
“For the first time, anyone can subscribe for a high quality Falck membership plan in less than 10 seconds,” he said. Registration is accomplished and paid for via the SMS platform with the telecom operators.
Commenting on what made Sri Lanka an attractive market for a company like Falck to enter into, Woodyard expressed that in Sri Lanka, two elements were of particular interest. First was the passion of the people. Falck started as Med1 (Pvt) Limited, a company formed in Sri Lanka with the passion of introducing an international quality out of hospital medical service to the nation.
Secondly, the ability to effectively provide a membership style service in Sri Lanka that was easy to register for and affordable. Med1 had already forged strategic partnerships with the telecommunications industry and even launched an initial product with Dialog Telekom. This membership registration and payment model for medical care is the first of its kind.
“Not only does this model easily allow membership registration, but the daily micropayment model also makes membership affordable for millions of people as they may not have the ability to pay for an annual membership,” the CEO said.
Woodyard opined that the success of this model was not just a benefit to Sri Lanka, but would also have implications around the world in similar economies.