The pandemic changed future course of action for labs
The COVID pandemic put the best of laid out and elaborate growth projections on the shelf in most of the industries including the healthcare sector. During the pandemic period, the diagnostic labs were stressed out with excess workload and faced more demand for parameters which were considered slow moving or for particular diseases, classic example being the D-dimer test. Most labs which were contemplating vertical growth had to now start rare and sophisticated tests like RT-PCR as referral doctors were requisitioning a PCR test even for common flu. This prompted even small-and-mid size labs to procure molecular testing equipment and testing kits. ICMR and top nodal agencies also pitched in by expediting the necessary approvals for accreditation and authorization. Lot of investments and commitments were done impromptu without long term considerations. Hardly anyone including the scientific community considered the Farr Theory wherein William Farr observed that once peak infection has been reached, it will roughly follow the same symmetrical pattern on the downward slope.
This short-sightedness made sustainability for aggressive players difficult. Post pandemic scenario, as we now know-threw newer challenges for growth and expansions plans. Government and health agencies revised their policies very quickly to keep pace with the changing situations almost on a day-to-day basis. Policies and guidelines have been issued which will in the long run affect different business modules in the diagnostic field impacting projections and growth plans. Many factors, which are going to decide future course of action by diagnostic setups are touched upon herein.
With the state and central government lowering and capping the testing prices and the kit manufactures not ready to negotiate the kit purchase prices, the feasibility of continuing the COVID and related tests needs to be reworked. The post infection testing guidelines have been changed such that even after a COVID infection a negative report is now not mandatory.
Also with insurance companies including COVID treatment in the policies at a nominal additional payment and the government bearing most of the treatment cost for a large section of the population COVID package prices have remained stagnant or been reduced by the healthcare establishments.
The national agencies have given testing approvals to many testing labs thereby increasing the number of players in the field and giving rise to tough economic competiveness.
Other aspects like the life cycle of the virus and curve of the pandemic, precautions like wearing a mask, following safe distance norms and frequent sanitising by the general public has impacted the industry. Moreover, the efforts of the scientific community in bringing successfully an effective vaccine there is a gradual but definite fall in the testing requirement.
It is indeed a boon that the pandemic seems to have effectively ended but newer strategising will have to be thought out for sustained growth in the healthcare industry The focus will definitely shift from certain tests to different tests. For example tests like PCR, D-dimer and CRP will be on the decline and Vitamins B12, Vit D, Zinc, and immunoglobulins testing will be on the rise. Newer tests for measuring the antibody titters post vaccine will emerge.
All these factors and the decline in the spending capacity will impact some of the small-and mid-size healthcare establishments, that will find it difficult to sustain on their own. The effects are already evident with some organisations already on the look out for mergers and takeovers.
Trident Diagnostic Centre is a mid-size organization which is fully equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and instrumentation. Trident takes pride in stating that they took up the challenge and procured the necessary equipment and upgraded the infrastructure to provide the required testing facilities during the pandemic. Keeping in line with the market needs and following the guidelines as issued by government and global agencies, Trident will continue to serve the citizens in the best possible manner.