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Indian hospitals fraught with financial stress resulting from govt schemes and medical insurance claims

Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Thursday, February 10, 2022, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Indian hospitals are struggling financially as they rely on government schemes and patients with medical insurance policies, both of which have not been adjusting to pricing in line with the rising costs. A huge challenge with government schemes is the timely payouts, something that the hospitals are urging the government to work on, said Himesh Joshi, CEO & co-founder, Ayu Health Hospitals. 

The pandemic phase in the last two years exposed the shortcomings of Indian healthcare. Unavailability of the right medical facilities has brought about a distrust in the system, he added.

Some of the challenges that the healthcare industry witnessed during the 1st and 2nd wave of the pandemic were infrastructural problems, unavailability of required information, paucity of hospital beds, trained staff, equipment and consumables, Joshi told Pharmabiz.

Most of the patients in India do not have a trusted or a go-to-brand for healthcare. Be it lack of transparency on pricing, poor service quality, or sub-par clinical outcomes, patients are often dissatisfied. We saw the need to create a brand that resonates with trust. Ayu Health started operations in Chandigarh in 2019 on boarding one hospital which grew to 40+ hospitals with 2,000+ beds and successfully served over 1,00,000 patients. There are over 200 medical specialists armed with 15 years’ experience and in addition 150 employees. Our proprietary tech platform helps manage patient conversion, process insurance claims, drugs and consumable procurement. Efforts to network with NABH accredited small-medium sized hospitals are on to standardize healthcare delivery, pricing, and procurement, he said.

There are limitations with the traditional models and most hospital chains have not scaled beyond 10-15 centres. Hospital chains of the future will be built on a model which leverages technology to empower high quality doctor entrepreneurs to scale-up and serve patients. India needs a network of hospitals for patients to access high quality treatment with fair and transparent pricing, noted Joshi.

In September 2021, Ayu Health raised Series-A funding of $6.3 million from Vertex Ventures and Stellaris Venture Partners. With the addition of 5,000 beds across India, it expects to grow the business by 10 times this financial year to set up reliable neighbourhood hospitals for patients to access quality healthcare near their home. Its 3-pronged approach is a 100% fixed price package, assign a dedicated ‘point of contact’ and counsellor at the hospital, ensure consistent and good clinical outcome.

During the pandemic, the healthcare industry evolved to adapt to virtual-telehealth consultation and remote monitoring. A slew of apps enabled online consults, access to healthcare records and lab test bookings, stated Joshi.


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