Both in terms of revenue and employment – over the last decade, the Indian healthcare sector is touching the pinnacle of success in terms of raising revenue and employment. The healthcare ecosystem comprises of various key components – hospitals, insurance, diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, clinical trials, and telemedicine to name a few. Innovative services, increase in expenditure from the public and private players, expanding the medical coverage, and branding are some of the factors that are fuelling the growth rate at an exponential pace.
As the sector witnesses a fierce competition with the entrance of emerging players, branding has become a key to sustain and surge ahead among the competitors in today’s market. Due to the stringent norms and regulations, the traditional marketing techniques are not that effective in scaling up the business revenues. Secondly, the branding distinguishes and showcases the USP of any company or organization that ultimately assists to create a niche market along with customer base. The most evident example is the transformation of various private hospitals that have reworked their existing business models and have standardized the quality of healthcare facilities within the country. The healthcare insurance or Mediclaim is another area that has embraced brand sensibility and sensitivity and has evolved as a major contributor in the sector.
Decoding Consumer Relationship
As more and more players in the sector are implementing the above equation, the onus of delivering is rapidly growing. It defines the logic that a customer’s opinion about the company before actually knowing them is as important as their experience with the service, which the company actually offers!
Indians are known to be very emotional across the globe and decisions relating to healthcare are very personal and significant. One can eat pizza from any popular restaurant, but in case of an eye injury, everyone would like to get treated from the best possible doctor available on the planet! This literal exaggeration of expectation reflects the special relevance of branding in the healthcare industry.
As the healthcare landscape progresses to make in-roads for delivering improved quality and increased access, brand-developing remains a vital connectivity for both B2B and B2C segments. More than differentiating the services, branding is acting as a catalyst for innovation and value-added experiences.
The Current Scenario
In recent times, India stands amongst the top choice for medical tourists across the globe. Studies reveal that by the year-end, this sector will garner up to 6 billion USD. This tremendous growth is driven by brands like Wockhardt Ltd, SNG India, Lenskart, Apollo Ltd, Cipla, Multifit, Fortis Healthcare – and the list continues! As a leading provider of high-end diagnostics services along with the huge influx of capital investment for advanced diagnostics facilities, the Indian healthcare sector is evolving as the global platform for rendering the international medical tourists. The companies are working towards improving the touch points between the target audiences to create awareness and publicize the medical offering from their end.
The Advent of Healthtech Startups
Although a majority of the healthcare startups are in the nascent stages, the startups are quicker in creating their own brand and defining their business areas. Analytics, preventive healthcare, and pathology are the key areas where these startups are designing their business model and are much swift in connecting with consumers. Some of the startups that have successfully managed to showcase their brand at the global market are listed below:
NetMeds is an online pharmacy that started in 2010. By uploading the prescriptions, patients can order their medicines via the web portal or the mobile application. It has over eight fulfillment centers in the country and recently has raised 35 million USD through a series C funding.
Initially started for the doctors, Practo has eventually turned out to be a one-stop online destination for booking appointments with doctors. The Bengaluru-based startup was founded in 2007 on a SAAS platform and apart from a PAN-India presence; it is active in Singapore, Indonesia, Brazil, and the Philippines.
Founded in 2016, Nirmai is using Artificial Intelligence technology to detect breast cancer during the early stages. Using machine learning and big-data analytics over thermography images, this stands amongst the leading startups to fight and detect cancer.
Forus Health embraces technology to fight the skewed ophthalmologist-to-patients ration in India. With over 1,300 installations over 26 countries, this startup has impacted over 2 million lives in a positive way.
DocTalk is a mobile application that allows patients to save all their reports and files on the cloud alongside chatting with the registered doctors and getting an instant prescription –without visiting the doctor. It was founded in 2016 and has received a funding of over 5 million USD.
The growth strategies in the healthcare domain are dependent on various factors, however, one factor that remains constant is – the consumer. Creating a positive impact on the minds of the patients is the key to success. Effective branding by the healthcare companies will be the platform on which the collaboration of public and private players will design the present and future of the healthcare industry in India.