Be it in services or medical technology front, the emergence of start-ups in the healthcare sector have brought a big transformation and opened up several opportunities and careers. There is a huge demand for quality-healthcare services in the country due to the rising population, growing health awareness and increasing income levels.
As per a study conducted by Equentis Capital, the healthcare sector in India is estimated to grow from $78.6 billion in 2012 to $158.2 billion in 2017. While the country’s healthcare system is developing rapidly, much work needs to be done to expand coverage, improve services and make healthcare easily accessible and affordable to all.
CHALLENGES & TIPS
Medical practitioners today need to think more in terms of improving mental health and general mood of a patient as it has direct bearing to their feeling of well-being. Several start-ups in this sector have sprung up to make delivery of medicines easier and hassle-free, faster connect with medical practitioners and digital storage of all medical records. Although start-ups have made an entry in the healthcare sector, they face a lot of challenges due to the lack of well-trained and experienced medical professionals. Here are a few challenges and mistakes which medical start-ups of today need to overcome and avoid in order to make a career in the Indian medical industry.
Poor quality of services: In urban and rural areas, there is great discrepancy in the quality and coverage of medical services and treatment. Some regions have negligible access to quality healthcare services as most of these institutions are located in affluent areas. This can be a big challenge to a healthcare start-up to flourish. Most of the start-ups are solely backed by technological support and if the consumer lacks access to technology, then the services won’t be of any use in rural areas.
TIP:Healthcare start-ups, which are hoping to bring a positive change in the sector and improve patient inflow, should first develop solutions that are less complex and incorporate user-friendly services. As technology plays a pivotal role in improving healthcare services, start-ups should be able to revolutionise healthcare in meaningful ways.
Not tech savvy:Most of the services are internet driven and unless consumers are not tech savvy or are willing to spend on mobile data, they won’t be able to access any of the services. The digital infrastructure, which is booming at a great speed, needs to be further strengthened. Without an internet connection or a slow network, it is of no use to a customer, even if equipped with the most high-end phone.
TIP: Start-ups should be able to change ageold assumptions and train medical professionals to adopt newer technologies. Only with doctors’ involvement their services can make an impact on a consumer’s life. Patients will be happy to communicate with their physician and this will lead to quicker recovery. For start-ups, this would result in increased businesses as well.
Lack of experienced doctors:While there is a demand for high-quality physicians, the lack of trained and experienced doctors is a cause of concern for several start-ups. There is a severe paucity of medical professionals in India with approximately one doctor for every 1,400 people.
TIP: Establishing digital connection routes will help start-ups to connect patients with well-qualified doctors quickly and at a convenient price.
Lack of trust:People are reluctant to appoint or avail of home healthcare services due to the lack of trust and quality of services. Patients are unsure whether the home healthcare professionals will provide them with the same treatment as received in hospitals.
TIP: Home healthcare professionals should be trained to keep their patient happy and healthy. A patient should be able to trust his/her physician and the health professional should be able to educate the patient about various treatments and improved healthcare services.
The start-ups should be able to track the timelines of care activities and provide timely reminders of medicines or check-ups to generate trust in the minds of their patients.
No interest shown by doctors:Another challenge faced by start-ups is the indifferent attitude shown by doctors to make use of technology and help consumers. They show least interest in adapting to a new technology and are averse to break the status quo.
TIP:Medical professionals should follow a uniform behavioral code to ensure that no harm is done because of their attitude. Implementing quality standards (eg for competence, expertise, availability, presentability of medical staff). Good performance should be incentivised and performance should emerge as a parameter for providing regular appreciative gifts and bonuses to consistently well-performing medical professionals.
RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
Every start-up planning to step into the healthcare sector should know the industry well and do an extensive research to fit into the market. Measure everything as it takes a lot of time and hard work to make healthcare delivery more objective and data-driven.
A startup should remember that every patient is different from the other and therefore, the product or service should be applicable to several user groups. While focusing on the patient is imperative, it is equally important to understand the needs of the family and improve the overall environment for the patient.
Healthcare start-ups should carefully monitor the changes in the market and understand how every change will affect their business from the patients’ and medical personnel’s points of view. The road to success in healthcare industry is arduous but quite exciting, promising and rewarding too, if only the initial hitches are deftly handled.
(The writer is co-founder and CEO, Care 24).
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