The Health Sector in India is a promising sector for entrepreneurs as there is a wide gap between demand and supply in this field. While there is a huge scope for building new enterprises, innovative businesses and many more, many people are not foreseeing the opportunity in front of them. Many who have taken a plunge into the field have written many success stories, but there are many others expecting better governmental policies, investments and supports.
As part of our special coverage on the Health Sector in India, SE talks to various entrepreneurs in the health field right from online companies to medical device manufactures to doctors and innovative modern medical professionals, to understand the opportunities in the field, their expectations and the challenges they are facing.
Please brief about your institution/company
SkinAlive is a chain of clinics with expertise in multiple domains of medical dermatology as well as aesthetic cosmetology. The foundation of SkinAlive was laid in 1997 with our first clinic in Panchsheel Park, New Delhi and since then we have expanded our presence across Delhi NCR. Today we have 8 clinics in Delhi, NCR and Chandigarh and a clientele that is growing by the day. SkinAlive offers solutions for multiple beauty and aesthetic issues ranging from medical skin concerns like hormonal issues, infections and skin discoloration as well as other aesthetic concerns like signs of ageing, hair loss, traumatic scars and undesired blemishes, facial re-contouring, excess fat and bulge, bridal beauty procedures, acne, among a whole lot of other aesthetic solutions.
How do you see the growth of health care segment in India?
Over the past 20 years, the healthcare segment in India has grown dramatically powered by huge investments from the private sector. Even as the government spending on healthcare remained limited, private players entered the segment in a big way and practically transformed it. Today, it attracts people from all across the world -- the clichéd medical tourists – as they are called. Better healthcare facilities today are also available to Indians. One of the reasons for the growth has been a steady increase in disposal incomes of a big chunk of people who are now willing and capable of spending for the best healthcare services. We expect the segment to grow further in India over the next decade.
As for the medical cosmetology and aesthetics segment within healthcare, the past 20 years have been a game changer. Armed with greater purchasing powers and better awareness, we have seen more and more people embrace the realm of medical aesthetics. We believe this growth will continue as we make greater inroads into smaller towns and tier II cities.
What are the new opportunities for healthcare professionals and entrepreneurs who wish to invest in the healthcare segment?
Opportunity is where need is. Today, even as a large number of multi-specialty hospitals are coming up all around, there are still areas that remain untouched by big service providers. For example, the suburbs of big cities, tier II cities and towns are places from where people travel long distances to avail good healthcare facilities because of lack of adequate provisions in and around their spaces. The rise in demand for medical services has also spurred the demand for allied services like diagnostics, radiology, pharmacy, equipment and emergency trained staff. New investors can also look at these allied areas for opportunities.
Medical aesthetics is another sector that is growing rapidly year on year. With rising awareness, greater availability of safe procedures and increasing purchasing power, people are evincing more interest towards facial aesthetics. Many people who visited beauty parlors and salons 10 years back are today looking beyond to medical aesthetic providing clinics for more effective and long term solutions to their skin and beauty concerns.
What are the challenges faced by the health care industry / health care professionals in India?
To be equipped to care for a billion people is a huge challenge in itself. According to me major challenge is to institute better mechanisms of infection control, improve emergency care delivery and ambulance services to save more lives. Low cost of procedures is a major advantage that India enjoys; therefore retaining it by minimizing operational cost is another challenge that we must keep evolving to meet. We need more innovation to make healthcare services more affordable. At the same time, we need greater effort to constantly improve our quality of services so that it matches global standards.
How the governmental policies are helping the health care industry?
The government’s policy to allow FDI has certainly helped the sector improve quality and quantity in India. But there needs to be better collaboration between private sector and government if we want to achieve our stated goals of ‘universal health coverage’.
How FDI is helping the Indian health care industry?
It has been over 10 years since 100 per cent FDI was allowed in healthcare in India and during this period a number of foreign players have entered into the country, bringing with them not only money but also expertise and experience. This has also led to greater awareness about training and employing emergency care staffs as emergency services are far better in many other countries as compared to India. In what will benefit India in the long run, several of these players are also working on establishing their research and development units in India. Besides bringing better services for the consumer, this will also help in retaining doctors and scientists in India.
How start-ups can effectively tap the opportunities in the segment?
Start ups in Indian healthcare can invest in starting clinics, diagnostic centres, radiology centres in areas where there is a dearth of these facilities. The medical aesthetics segment also offers a good opportunity. In any growing sector, start ups have a fair chance. However, they should be very careful in their journey. The start should always be moderate in scale and one should keep reading and studying the market as they move ahead.