The continuing boom in the healthcare industry, despite slowdown has invited many players into the healthcare industry and forced many older ones for strategic change, to invest more and standout with specific USP edge over the competitor.
Despite competition and prevailing pessimism on the success of a new hospitals, a group of young doctors turned entrepreneurs have come across with new concept of exclusive specialty hospitals or rather healthcare centers in their respective specialty across India and even trying their luck across the borders, the promoters of many such healthcare centers in the country and elsewhere are relishing great success. All of these successful new generation entrepreneurs have adopted different business strategies to justify high investments, reaping benefits for themselves and their investors.
The multiplicity of players in the healthcare industry has created the need to ensure quality of clinical care in a cost effective manner, whether it is the high end specialty disciplines such as oncology, gastroenterology, ophthalmology, day-care surgery, dental care and skin care, all these players have registered tremendous growth by sticking to their knitting and while there have always been stand alone specialty clinics or hospitals run by doctors, these single specialty providers have grown like some of the big corporate hospitals and have set up infrastructure at multiple locations, offering the same precision of quality and care through out all their centers.
Experts, successful in this area say that getting the model right is just the beginning. Then all lies in the execution. “When you focus on one thing you better be the best,” says Dr. Vivek Desai managing director of Hosmac. He also stated that in order to address the current challenges in the hospital, efficient Business Process Re engineering and Process Management tools can be used to reduce operation costs, generate new revenue opportunities, deliver services faster, improve customer service, increase visibility and control. It’s all about aiming to be the best in the segment, they mean business in all their actions and while aiming to fly with eagles then, why waste time swimming with ducks.
In one of the past ‘WHO’ reports, mentioned that India needs to add 80,000 hospital beds each year for the next five years to meet the demands of its growing population. This had been positive news for the healthcare investors. India is well equipped to reach this benchmark with critical parameters in favour, high quality skilled talent pool, proven track record, favourable government policies and the ability to deliver healthcare services at low cost along with high quality infrastructure has now put India on the global map for outsourcing various healthcare related services. This has been further intensified by Government of India’s policies, where enough emphasis has been given on setting up of healthcare delivery infrastructure mainly in Tier-I & Tier-II cities. In view of the aforementioned studies, Indian healthcare delivery industry is upbeat about the future of hospitals in the country.
The success of these single specialty hospitals setup are now quite visible in India, some of these brands in south is the Vasan Eye care network of hospitals in the ophthalmology segment, which is aiming 100 centers by 2012 across India and at some international destinations, the Apollo with the Dental care centers, Kaya and Ayurcare in skincare segments have shown tremendous growth.
In high specialty, cancer care segments the Healthcare Global has changed the traditional cancer care along with its partner spokes are at different levels of expertise in different parts of the cancer treatment paradigm. They all have to be brought to the same level so that a patient undergoing radiotherapy in an HCG spoke has a similar outcome as he would have at the hub (assuming the equipment is the same). HCG tackles it by using common training modules for doctors and paramedical staff such as nurses and social workers. There are video conferences every week to discuss patients and standards of care. Trainers are trained in the hub and then dispatched to spokes. This is still a work in progress.
Opportunities and Challenges:
There are many challenges in running specialty centers at multiple locations. One of which is maintaining uniformity across the centers.
And unlike any booming industry in India, there is acute shortage of experienced personnel, medical professionals and other paramedical staff, brain drain in the medical field is a matter of concern, especially with skilled, experience specialist doctors moving out of the country to other developed countries, Doctors today are certainly businessmen par excellence and medical is no longer a charity. A doctor may be seen practicing in one corporate hospital, next time he might have moved and taken his practice somewhere else, says one expert.
Even equity participation is not a guarantee that they will stick to that hospital. For instance, a good number of the founding team of doctors that started Asian Heart Institute in Mumbai are now out of it due to differences with management. They have formed the Western Heart Clinic, which is a group of heart specialists that ties up with large hospitals such as Fortis to offer its services.
Healthcare in India is no longer a charity business, but a billion dollar money making entity, which promises enormous opportunities to those serious players who offer healthcare products and services at par with international standards, that is not just confined to major cities.
All these positive business trends once again speak in favour of the professionals and students who are aiming for a career in the healthcare sector, galore of opportunities are awaiting them in the years to come.