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Healthcare Industry 30 Sep 2014

Pathology: A booming segment in Indian healthcare industry

The various reasons for the ever increasing demand for pathological labs are: rising density of population, changing lifestyle related health issues and increasing disposable income.

Indian healthcare industry worth USD 65 billion is expected to grow to USD 100 billion by 2015. The booming industry is undoubtedly offering potential opportunities in various healthcare segments. Pathology is one such segment. Read on to explore more

Growing at the rate of 20 per cent per year is Indian Healthcare industry as per a global rating agency, Fitch. In fact, it is already a million dollar industry, which is presently experiencing huge expansion across varied segments like hospitals, pathology labs, healthcare instruments, hospitals etc.

The rising number of diseases causing threat to human life healthcare industry is witnessing huge growth. Not only patients, but doctors as well are not ready take any risk as life is at stake. Everybody prefers to get the diseases diagnosed first so that relevant treatment can be provided to the patient. This growing demand to get patients diagnosed properly has led to the rising demand for pathological centres. Acknowledging this demand various organised brands have entered the market and are following rigorous expansion strategy via franchise route to make diagnostic facilities available far and wide. It is further providing lucrative opportunity to aspirants to take up the franchisee and become a successful entrepreneur.

Driving factors

The various reasons for the ever increasing demand for pathological labs are: rising density of population, changing lifestyle related health issues, increasing disposable income, one stop shop - all tests conducted under one roof, accuracy, timeliness and convenient delivery of the test reports, relationship building with the customers. Moreover customer care cell are available to attend to any queries of customers. On the other hand mostly all these benefits were missing in the unorganised pathology labs.

Prominent players

No doubt organised players still maintain their monopoly in the industry but some organised players have also established them. These are:

Metropolis Healthcare Ltd: With 31 years of experience delivering accurate reports, Metropolis has also earned the reputation of being India’s only multinational chain of diagnostic centres with presence in the UAE, Srilanka, Thailand and South Africa.

Ameera Shah, MD & CEO, Metropolis Healthcare Ltd said: “My father, Dr Sushil Shah formed Metropolis in 1981. For me it was very interesting idea. It was his vision that we created a chain of labs across India. In 1990 when my father was growing Metropolis in Mumbai, there were many international labs looking to enter into Indian Market. He had a vision and an idea to have our own indigenous chain of labs instead of waiting for multi-nationals to come in. So he started talking to few pathologists but nothing worked out. I joined Metropolis in 2001 and had an ambition to achieve the vision and that is how we started planning together.”

Dr. Lal Pathlabs: Dr Lal PathLabs is India's oldest and most respected private pathology laboratory chain with over 60 years of experience in providing pathology services. To attain a franchise of Dr. lal Pathlabs one requires an investment of Rs 1.25 crores (excluding lab / testing instruments) along with an area of approximately 3,500 sq. feet on ground floor at a central location

Super Religare Labortaries: Super Religare Laboratories (SRL), is a pioneer of medical diagnostics in India. Established in 1995, within 17 years from inception, SRL has been imbued with a mission to deliver Gold Standard Diagnostic services, both in the field of radiology and pathology.

Pathology Labs franchising

The sector is a rewarding for people from the healthcare industry. Shah shares: “If one works hard it will surely turn out to be a lucrative business. It requires good relations with doctors and following up with them. Once one has good relations with them can expand.”

To reach every nook and corner of the nation many organised players opt for franchise route.  On the franchise growth Shah opines; “We started franchising in around 2004. Ours was the only franchise collection centre and lab. Our idea is very simple where we have followed a partnership model where we believe that when you partner with entrepreneurs you get the best results. The advantage is that it helps to optimise and maximise the resources because the partners’ skin is in the game; they have put in their efforts and money to it so it’s a collective effort. This also gives them a good opportunity to make money and also provide services to our customers in places where we are not directly present.”

Challenges

Every business has challenges. The main challenge one has to face is the cut-throat competition from the unorganised brands in the market. To overcome challenges Dr OM Manchanda, CEO, Dr Lal Path Labs shares: “Dr LalPathLabs competition is with many smaller labs. These labs indulge in unethical practices giving commission to referring physicians. We don’t follow these practices; neither do we provide margins high enough to part with the market. To counter the above, we encourage our franchisee to focus on the value Dr LalPathLabs brings on the table.”

Prerequisites

For taking up a lab franchise an investment requirement varies from brand to brand. On Metropolis Healthcare investment and area requirement Shah says: “For healthcare, I would say that it’s not expensive at all. The investment can range from Rs 50,000 to Rs One lakh. Franchisee has to give a security deposit over Rs 50,000 and would need 100-200 sq. ft space.”

The growth in different segment of healthcare industry is offering a promising opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs. The healthcare industry is booming and does not have many corporate in it. It is very much suitable for new or fresh entrepreneurs. From the diagnostic case, the business is actually growing in leaps and bounds. So new entrepreneurs can take the plunge and if they have dedication and are ready to put in their hard work they surely will taste success soon. 

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