Veena Iyer, 60yrs, is a resident of Bengaluru, India. She has spent all her lifetime building the future of her kids and performing the role of a housewife with utmost sincerity. Since last five years she is suffering from extreme pain in her knees joints, a sign of osteoarthritis, due to which she requires regular physiotherapy sessions. Her busy children and her excess weight deter her to travel to a physiotherapist clinic. This is where home healthcare provider, Medwell Ventures, has proved to be a boon for her and for many others who are in a similar situation. This Bengaluru based healthcare start-up provides home healthcare services to many customers like Veena.
The harsh realities of urban life where children are living away from their parents make it very difficult for people living in urban cities to receive adequate healthcare. Also, according to many patients receiving home healthcare services, the one thing that works wonder in their treatment regime is ‘emotional support’. In that context, start-ups in this space such as Portea and Pianta are trying to capture the eye of the consumers and gain market share.
Home Healthcare Market
According to WHO, the doctor population ratio in India is 1:1674 which is way below the WHO’s prescribed ratio of 1:1000. India spends about 1.4% of GDP on healthcare which is half than China and nearly one-eighth of the developed nations such as Britain.
This highly skewed ratio has resulted in ever increasing demand for effective, efficient and affordable healthcare services for the growing population. Nothing can be more pleasing to consumers if such services can be delivered to their doorstep. Globally, home healthcare segment is 3-6% of the total healthcare market. Currently, the home healthcare services market in India around $5-$7 billion and is expected to rise to $10-$15 billion by 2020. Clearly, start-ups catering to this domain want to garb apiece of the growing pie.
Some of other companies providing home healthcare services are listed here.
Business Model of Home Healthcare Services
These start-ups are just not about sending a physiotherapist to your home but to provide levels of care which is speciality oriented. Currently, Portea is on top with the widest footprint in India but others are catching up swiftly. Medwell Ventures have a multidisciplinary team comprising of doctors, nurses, dentists, physiotherapists, and pulmonologists etc. which are trained to delivering quality health services in the comfort of patients home. Medwell has branches across Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Mumbai and is targeting a million customers and presence in 15 more cities in next 5 years.
You might be wrong in thinking that unit economics is lacking in their model. There are different payment models catering to a wide variety of consumers ranging from a yearly subscription fees, year-long health engagement plan to plans for specific visits by speciality doctors. The price varies depending on number of visits, speciality, and type of service and so on.
India lacks trained healthcare professional to cater to such a large population. Finding, training and retaining good talent is one of the biggest hurdles for these start-ups. To address this, companies have extensive training facilities and programs for the professionals who work with them. Also, educating the consumers about the massive benefits that such home healthcare services can provide is another challenge to overcome.
Nevertheless, these services can be big boost to the Indian healthcare industry and can provide easy accessibility to quality healthcare not only to people in urban areas but also in rural parts. Government needs to support such initiatives in every possible way to achieve the target of becoming a ‘Healthy India’.