We do not grow when things are easy; we grow when we face challenges. 21 years of my career in the diagnostic industry, were in the so-called sunshine industry, which is highly versatile and dynamic. The trends are changing with more and more changes both wanted and unwanted. What was a luxury in 1996, that is, the thyroid panel was done by RIA and the reports used to be available at my institute (college) after a week, is now a commodity and is a must for most of the diagnostic setups. The consumer, that is, the patient or clinician expects the reports as soon as possible and hence the advent of newer technologies like CMIA, CLIA, ECLIA, ELFA, and so on are on. The biggest challenges that are also opportunities are:
Evolution of technologies. More and more sophisticated, precise equipment are launched and with faster TAT. A diagnostic industry that is a sunshine industry where everyone is looking up to is so dynamic and this becomes a challenge for the entrepreneur to keep up with the pace.
Lower recipe cost of the parameters. It is good that the industry is getting organized, the other side of the coin is in tier II and III cities and even in metros, the individual diagnostic setups are finding it difficult to keep up with the recipe cost, that is, actual cost of the test, because of lack of volumes, competition, and technology upgradation.
Talent retention. The biggest challenge is retention of a qualified technician due to high pay scale offered by the organized sector. The staffs are always in need of learning newer technologies, where a small or medium size labs fall short. This may lead to losing staff and increase staff attrition.
Accreditation and certifications. The advent of the digital world and awareness of clinicians and patients have led to enquiry of quality and it is a big concern to the community. However, everything costs money and needs expertise. The need of our country in the healthcare sector is accreditations in these setups.
Marketing and branding. It is said that whatever you do must be experienced or rather seen by our patients/clinicians or consumers. Hence your setup may be the best, but having a proper positioning, branding the setup in an effective way is the need of the hour. The setup needs a team which is constantly calibrating these areas and putting the setup accordingly.
Statutory requirements. The need of the setup to maintain the important local, regional, and national guidelines and statutory requirements is a must. This becomes a challenge when suddenly guidelines change.
Medicolegal challenges. Our field is the hospitality industry (service industry) where right from the time a visit is booked till the report is issued or accepted by the clinician or patient, we are responsible. There are many verticals which are covered by many stake holders like collection centers, phlebotomists, receptionists, machines (analytical phase), software, courier department, and all these components are involved in the end result which is the final report, apart from the knowledge of the reporting doctor.