24 May 16 Is ‘healthcare at home’ the next big trend in India?
A few days before flying to New York, Radhika Krishnan, a senior banker, was fraught with worry about her father’s health. Mr. Subramaniam Krishnan, an octogenarian, had recently had a brain surgery. Radhika’s mother was ill-equipped to be the sole carer.
A friend suggested considering a home healthcare service provider. There were several – India Home Healthcare, Nightingales, Health Care at Home… Radhika eventually caught her flight, considerably less worried. She was, by then, convinced by the care provided by a round-the-clock nurse and the consultation visits of a neurosurgeon.
Mr. Krishnan is one of more than a hundred million Indians aged over 60 who may need home-based healthcare. Traditionally, families care for the elderly in their own homes. But this is changing. Take Radhika as an example – an ambitious professional who wouldn’t shy away from accepting a job that takes her across continents.
There is no dearth of families like the Krishnan’s. Demand for home healthcare will only increase. Rising incidents of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and cancer, poor hospital hygiene, and an abysmal doctor/nurse to patient ratio will all contribute to the growth of the industry. The service offers physicians, nurses and trained caregivers at your doorstep. They will administer infusions, perform basic rehabilitation exercises, and provide respiratory therapy, chemotherapy and dialysis, and other moderately invasive procedures – all at a fraction of what it would cost in a hospital. Also, home is the best place for patients to recuperate because of the familiarity and comfort it provides versus the unfamiliar hospital environment.
According to PwC, the Indian home healthcare market is worth USD 2 billion and growing annually at 20%. This rosy picture is tempered by the lack of insurance coverage for home services. If insurance companies support home care, this could be a game changer for the industry.
Established players like Apollo Hospitals, Dabur and Fortis, and startups such as Pramati Healthcare and Life Circle Health Services have forayed into the segment. The growing demand has attracted strategic investment from international venture capitalists :-
- In 2016, Mumbai-based Care24 received USD 4 million from SAIF Partners
- In 2015, Portea Medical raised USD 37.5 million from Accel, International Finance Corporation, Qualcomm Ventures and Ventureast
VC funding will allow these players to expand their geographic presence and their services. While diagnostics will continue to be a core offering, some players have added care for children with special needs and palliative care for adults to their portfolios. In addition to this, some are renting out equipment and furniture as a part of their service offerings.
The home healthcare segment in India is a small but steadily growing market. Manufacturers of medical and diagnostic devices (such as Siemens and Philips) and makers of medical consumables (such as B Braun and Fresenius Kabi) can tap into this lucrative market. It also offers an opportunity for hospital furniture manufacturers such as Godrej and ArjoHuntleigh.