June 2014

When Size Does not Matter

small-sizeThe fact that the healthcare sector in India is growing is uncontestable. It is expected to be worth $ 158.2 billion by 2017, according to a report by Equentis Capital in 2013. Spearheading this growth, no doubt, are the big corporate hospitals offering boutique treatment and the latest medical procedures. These hospitals showcase Indias ability to compete with the best in the world in terms of healthcare. Though these hospitals provide world-class facilities, the cost of treatment in these hospitals is affordable only to the affluent, making it out of reach of the salaried middle class persons. The spread of medical insurance and cashless transactions, however, has put their services within the reach of the middle class. But while the big hospitals push the standards healthcare in India, the smaller hospitals also play a valuable role in making healthcare available to all. People prefer going to a neighborhood hospital for regular and non-serious ailments. The smaller hospitals,too have adopted the latest technologies and can offer a host of surgeries and treatments at a substantially lesser price compared to their bigger kin. Certain procedures like Laparoscopic surgery, Neuro surgery, plastic surgery and knee replacements can now be done at smaller hospitals itself. Also, most of the times, these hospitals are run by doctors who were earlier attached to the bigger hospitals and bring a lot of valuable  experience with them. The smaller hospitals, along with treating middle class patients, often strive to provide a similar healthcare to the underprivileged and the destitute, something which their bigger brethren would not be able to do. They usually charge a fraction of their regular consultation fees for such persons, thus ensuring that nobody is deprived. In profiling hospitals of note in Northern India, eHealth also throws a spotlight on a few smaller hospitals (number of beds less than 100) and how they measure up to the bigger hospitals. It looks at what services the hospitals provide, what are the challenges they face and how they cope with it.

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