Leveraging Technology for Healthcare Sector in India
Posted in Operations & IT Articles, Total Reads: 502
, Published on 28 July 2016
‘Sushruta’ is an oldest known milestone of Indian healthcare sector and India is still one of the leading countries across the world in providing effective and economical health services to some of the deadliest diseases such as cancer, cardiac care, paediatrics etc. But what is re-invigorating the fortune of Indian health care is its assimilation with technology, and indeed we are best in world for both of these.
On one hand major healthcare giants like GE, Philips etc. are partnering with Indian companies like Wipro, Infosys and many more to empower their healthcare solutions and give them a technological edge which is unique and unprecedented. One of such examples is of a Lucknow based healthcare firm known as ‘Chandan Healthcare Ltd.’. They operate on most fundamental principle of a ‘machine’ which is to minimize as much effort by human beings as possible.
Diagnostics is an important aspect of healthcare and medical treatment which almost all of us go through at some point in our lives; Conventional diagnostics process comprised of a patient going to a hospital and giving ‘samples’ for diagnostics to happen, after they are done with this process they have to again reach out to diagnostics centres for collecting their diagnostic results, but this effort is now reduced to half thanks to modern healthcare providers like Chandan Healthcare and internet, now patients can download their diagnostic results sitting at home and can even take a hard or soft copy of the report to their respective doctors for further treatment. Now a days some of the healthcare companies even provide door to door sample collection facility which has further allayed effort of patients that they used to experience earlier.
In one of my survey administered online it was found out that people highly prefer door to door facility for diagnostics tests and majority of the users preferred receiving their test results online or even through social media. Findings of the survey administered online on 67 people are indicated as below:
Figure: Preference figures depicted in percentages (Total population surveyed: 67)
Future Strategy for Healthcare providers:
As found out in the survey analysis we can see get first-hand information of the people’s perception and their expectations from health care service providers:
1. Around 75% of the people surveyed were willing to download their diagnostics test reports rather than handling the pain of visiting the diagnostics centre again to collect their test reports.
2. Around 67% of the people were willing to avail facility of door to door sample collection for their diagnostics. It however may be noted that some of the diagnostics require presence of patient at diagnostic centres, such as CT scan, MRI, X-Ray etc.
3. We also observed however that there is more than expected acceptance amongst patients regarding soft copies of the diagnostic report, it to some extent reflect new generation’s understanding and comfort with emerging mobile telephony.
4. A whopping 91% of the people surveyed wanted to prefer (if available) a healthcare provider who are known capable of having hi-end technological instruments for testing and reporting. It may also be taken as a ‘Critical Success Factor’ than must be targeted by new-gen healthcare providers if they want to establish themselves as ‘differentiated’ service providers.
5. Around 54% of the people preferred to enrol in annual health diagnostics packages provided they are made available to them on nominal charge. It represents and reflects market potential for today’s healthcare providers and these are ‘early adopters’ who must be enrolled in such kind of promotional schemes.
Apart from that there is also growing concern amongst patients regarding surging rates of diagnostic tests, one strategy to tackle that may be through loyalty cards or memberships (which many healthcare providers have already started adopting), but engagement with end customers is necessary which is largely missing in present context.
Insights & Recommendations:
1. Healthcare service providers should invest strategically in next generation tools and technologies as investment at right time would define their future growth potential and provide technological edge to the healthcare provider against their competitors.
2. Since, every industry domain is moving to minimize end consumer efforts and even contemporary consumers want to enjoy more luxury and even is willing to pay premium for the same, healthcare service providers should also utilize this opportunity to get higher sales revenues along with more engaged and satisfied end customers.
3. Utilizing technology is not only beneficial for organizations and their customers but it is also beneficial to our society as whole, because utilizing technology will help companies reduce their carbon footprints by saving paper as the medical report will be given in the form of soft copy. It will also allow customers to store and keep safe record of their medical documents online.
4. Door to door sample collection facility will pose opportunity as well as risk to healthcare providers because these door to door collectors will be like brand ambassadors of the company and investing in their training and development needs will become crucial for these organizations, and for them to be future ready they should start investing straight away in these initiatives.
5. There is widespread concern amongst people regarding technology status of the healthcare providers, and they usually prefer healthcare providers who have used latest equipment and are technological appealing to customers.
6. People are also becoming more and more health cautious and are showing high interest in leveraging annual health packages, this opens up huge market as healthcare service providers can tweak their strategy and target these consumers who present a fresh untapped market waiting to be tapped by these healthcare service providers.
These findings present some of the critical success factors which can be targeted at by healthcare providers in India, as health diagnostics in India is growing at an unprecedented rate and it opens up a huge potential market for these firms, and utilizing this opportunity in time will become a future competitive advantage for these firms. Strategizing today will yield sweet fruits of profit tomorrow.
This article has been authored by Nitesh Saraswat from IIM Sambalpur