The healthcare sector in India is witnessing a drastic change due to the ongoing pandemic. Driven by better healthcare awareness, rising incomes and increasing access to insurance, the healthcare market is expected to reach USD 372 billion by 2022. The recent Budget by the Indian government has increased the spending toward healthcare by 137 percent. India will spend ₹2.23 lakh crore on healthcare for FY 2021-22. This is in line with the Indian government’s target of increasing expenditure toward healthcare upto 2.5 percent of the GDP by 2025. But one of the most important factors in the growth of the healthcare sector is the crucial role that the diagnostic sector is playing during this pandemic and how that role will evolve in the future.
Evolution of the diagnostic sector
The role of the diagnostic sector has evolved over the past year. From being a centre to visit for annual health check-ups to playing a crucial role in the lives of many Indian families, the perception about the sector has changed drastically. The sector has not only risen to the challenges brought upon by COVID-19 but has thrived in it and is providing clarity on the spread of the virus in the country. With the help of the RT-PCR tests and utilization of the latest technology, the diagnostic sector has been able to provide accurate results in a timely manner.
One of the major changes in the diagnostic sector is the practice of home testing which has revolutionised the way tests were conducted in the past. With the help of mobile apps, bookings for tests, home testing has increased drastically. This signifies how technology is helping to provide easy access to tests for all Indians across the nation. Given the direction that the recent Budget is moving toward, we shall witness further accessibility for such tests in the future as well.
The Department of Health Research has been allocated ₹2663 crore, an increase of 27 percent over previous year (₹2100 crore). A new allocation of ₹30 crore has been made for the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) this year under the Centrally Sponsored Schemes. With the focus of expanding the primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare infrastructure in the rural sector, it is expected that the diagnostic sector will also be able to expand in these markets as well. One key takeaway from an increased allocation from the budget is the strengthening of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). Others in the same vein include the establishment of a national institution for One Health, a regional research platform for WHO, 4 virology-focused regional National Institutes, and 9 Bio-Safety Level-3 laboratories. These will surely provide an impetus in the detection and preparation of any similar pandemic in the future or even foresee regional health trends that will help tailor solutions at a very local level.
Metropolis Healthcare Ltd.’s continued growth
Today, we are at the forefront at the nation’s battle against the coronavirus and are steadily conducting RT-PCR tests even now, and providing the results in a timely manner. We have also seen how over the past year; we have become an integral part in monitoring the health of several Indian families. This can also be witnessed in the rise in non-COVID test bookings that have supplemented our growth.
Despite the vaccination drive ongoing across the country, the pandemic will not come to an end anytime soon as we battle the second wave of the virus and expect a third wave in the coming months. But this time, given our learnings over the past year, we are ready to tackle any hurdles brought upon by the pandemic. With the help of the latest in world class technology, automation and digitization across all processes, we have been able to increase our operational efficiency by reducing the cost and time that would be spent through traditional methods.
We aspire to remain intact and achieve 65 percent of B2C contributions in focused cities in the coming years. This will be driven by aggressive Network expansion in several cities, towns, and rural regions to provide access to a variety of tests available at our laboratories to as many Indians as possible. We will also focus on building awareness amongst doctors for quality and service uniqueness of the brand compared to the unorganized sector. We will also continue to focus on enhancing the customer experience by ramping up home testing offerings, digital communication efforts and easy-to-interpret test reports. We are also focusing on employee wellness as their selfless service has been one of the important factors in our growth.
Keeping all these factors in mind, Metropolis Healthcare Ltd. is well placed to be at the forefront of the battle against COVID-19 as well as steadily grow in the daily lives of Indians with the help of the latest technology and providing access to a wide variety of tests at the doorstep of every Indian in the coming years.