How to start your own Diagnostics Business?

In India, Healthcare is a multibillion dollar industry and Diagnostic Industry is an integral part of it, as both are interdependent and together strive to care and improve patient health.
  • BY Mr. Harjot Sidhu

    Cofounder, 5th VITAL

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  • Aug 29,2017
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  • 20 Mins Read

While the fundamental objective of a business is to make the profit, it comes with an added responsibility of creating employment, delivering satisfying service and making an impact on the society.  As with any business, one should possess a passion, to begin with, and this should be backed with dedication and hard work, which becomes more pertinent if you are into healthcare business, considering the sensitivity of handling patient’s care.

Steps to initiate your own business

The Indian Diagnostic Industry is dominated by the unorganized sector, which contributes to over 90% of the industry and only a handful of Diagnostic Centres have been able to create a brand value and replicate the success with a chain of diagnostic centers.  While it is considerably easier to set up a standalone diagnostic center, there is a huge potential to consolidate and correct everything wrong with the unorganized market and take advantage of the growing need of enhanced healthcare which the country truly deserves.

The initial phase of setting up a diagnostic center requires practical research.  It is important to study the demographics of your planned diagnostic center including the density of population, healthcare institutions, small clinics and current functioning diagnostic centers.  This data will give valuable feedback to analyze the challenges and constructing opportunities.  Post research comes planning and investment, including competition analysis, allocation of funds for operations and marketing and packaging the value addition passed on to your patrons.  The final phase would be execution, which includes identifying space, acquiring infrastructure, employing professionals and setting up marketing plans.

For a diagnostic center, it is important to understand the knowledge of medical tests and be updated about latest investigations, procedures, and methodologies in the medical fraternity.  It would be ideal to have a mentor or if one of the founders have a relevant experience in the healthcare domain.  Apart from that, there are a lot of formalities to adhere to including availing required licenses, following the guidelines of setting up a new laboratory and registering with the government authorities.  It is important to renew the license every year to avoid legal complications and acquiring accreditation is the way forward towards growth.  There are numerous levels of accreditation and a higher accreditation boosts patient and doctor confidence in the diagnostic center.Setting up a diagnostic lab needs consideration of multitudinous minute details and meticulous, systematized efforts to reap rich benefits for a lifetime.

How to take your business to success?

Tying up with doctors, healthcare institutions and insurance providers is a cardinal rule to safeguard the business.Quality, accuracy, convenience, and service are the tenets of success for a diagnostic industry, and it is important to market the same by involving traditional and digital footprints to enable multiple marketing channels effectively to ensure the business reaches maximum customer base possible.Education and information should be the core of the marketing strategy and special focus needs to be put on decreasing the CAC(Customer Acquisition Cost) as the business gains momentum.  Apart from the marketing efforts, word-of-mouth also plays a vital role in the healthcare industry, as customers may not believe an advertisement, but they will inevitably trust a good word from a neighbor, friend or relative’s personal experience.

Making the service customer friendly, convenient, affordable and adding a value would boost the success of the business.  It is also important to build a brand, which would help in standardizing care and help in expansion plans with a reduced marketing budget.Enabling technology and creating a platform for comprehensive care will help in reaching masses with reduced operational costs.

Current Trends in the Diagnostic Domain

The improved standards of healthcare have pushed the diagnostic industry to deliver most accurate reports within a short turnaround time and only a handful of diagnostic centers are able to meet the criteria, and the trend will sooner or later lead to the extinction of a majority of unorganized diagnostic centers.  The new age pathology organizations are leaving no stone unturned to address each and every customer query and not leave any touch-points unattended.  There is a trend of setting up customer care executives to attend to queries of customers through several offline and online mediums.  Sharing of prescription online, making use of SMS to book the test on behalf of the customer, setting up online appointments, having samples collected at home are some of the driving factors in the current realm.  Also, there is an increasing awareness towards Preventive Health Screening Tests, where customers can voluntarily choose a package of their preference without requiring a doctor’s prescription.  The demand for preventive healthcare has amplified in the last couple of years and is expected to grow at a constant rate in the coming years.

Why Invest in Healthcare (Diagnostic) Industry?

The Indian laboratory and diagnostic market are touted to touch $5.5 billion by 2020 and the demand is inadequately met with roughly around 1 lakh diagnostic laboratories in the current scenario.In simple terms, there is a huge demand for the diagnostic domain in India.  Statistically, there are just 8 diagnostic labs per 1,00,000 people in India and over 90% of these diagnostic centers are unorganized.  Around 99% of the diagnostic centers are not accredited, which opens up a humongous opportunity for the organized sector.  With most diagnostic centers catering to metros and tier 1 cities, there is a huge demand for the diagnostic industry in tier 2 and 3 cities, small towns, and rural areas.

Challenges in the Diagnostic Industry

Cutthroat competition from the unorganized segment, delivering precise and accurate reports in a stipulated turnaround time, lack of availability of biochemists, stringent procedures for accreditation, increasing the cost of infrastructure, providing quality care at an affordable price are some of the key challenges of the diagnostic industry.

Success story of 5th Vital

5th Vital commenced commercial operations in Bengaluru on 27th July 2017, after a decade long of aspiration and years of careful planning. 5th Vital’s success lies in its core philosophy of bringing additional value to its customers, which include involving highly trained phlebotomists to perform sample collection as per defined medical protocols, delivering customer convenient service, and keeping the price competitive, which impacts the customer directly. 

5th Vital also has plans to put resources into Tier II and Tier III communities of India by teaming up with more well-being foundations and increment the accumulation focuses in India, bringing about boundless reach and more access for the majority.

5th Vital is currently in the process of creating a value driven organization for the next age. Buoyed by the initial success, 5th Vital has further plans to innovate and develop technologies, products, and services including plans to create a technological platform where every individual can document, maintain and make use of their healthcare records virtually.

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