Indian Health care delivery market is growing steadily ( 13 + %) for last 10 years and expected to grow much faster over next two decades. However, we will witness much faster growth in smaller towns (Tyre III and II towns). Some of the reasons are:
- Availability of Specialists or Doctors: Availability of medical skill is sole hindrance to penetration of quality health care delivery in hinterland. However, with significant increase in MD/ MS / Post graduation seats in present medical colleges and increase in new medical college has resulted in churning out specialist doctors. Metros and Tire I cities are already saturated with excess manpower (specialist doctors) and stiff competition from colleagues is pushing young doctors to look for new markets.
- Technology: Cost of medical equipment is competitive with entry of many local players. Also, now we have technology, which suffices basic needs and is far more cost effective.
- Material / Consumable: India is fast shifting to producer counter instead of importer for most of medical consumable / medicines. Indigenous products are not just good in quality but are affordable, which is helping smaller hospitals to procure and provide to their patients. Indian companies have much better supply chain, which makes easy for hospitals in smaller towns to procure it.
- Cost of Care: Cost for treatment in metro cities and big towns are not only high, but availing treatment with comfort is now difficult too. Travelling time , excess rush at big hospitals, non availability of doctors , beds , long stay etc are few deterrent for patients from smaller town to avail treatment at hospitals in metros.
- Low Investment and fair returns: investing in small 50 to 150 beds in smaller towns is good business proposition for Investors. Group of doctors are now joining hands and trying to wear two hats: Doctors & Entrepreneur.
- Government Push: Skill India, reduction in Interest on bank loan, unshackling of the medical education and simplification of doing business are welcoming steps.
- Rising customer expectation and Economic growth: Rise of middle class and exposure of consumer to quality care is pushing hospitals in smaller towns to upgrade their facility. Also, now patient is ready to pay for quality service even in small towns. This is a welcoming change.
- Prime mover advantage: young entrepreneurs look at this as an opportunity. Better connectivity, net connectivity and availability of doctors and nurses is encouraging investors to enter new markets and get financial benefits on being first mover.
Finally on a long term,smaller towns in India are not a place that one can afford to miss as more than 60% population still resides in these towns.
Dr Vikram Singh Raghuvanshi is leading Hospital Planner . He has also worked in area of Strategy & hospital operations for over 25 years. He has designed and managed hospitals in India. He is visiting faculty @ leading management Institutions.