Thursday, September 01, 2011

Where are the Indian medical entrepreneurs ?

The Indian healthcare industry has become sick and disruptive innovations are needed to heal
it !

This is a huge business opportunity . We need to remember that healthcare spending in India today accounts for less than 4.2% of the GDP, whereas in most developed countries it is 6-9% and in the USA it is as much as 16%. This means there is immense growth potential in India in this sector !

Since doctors deal with patients daily, and see the problems and pain points firsthand, one would expect them to be leaders in creating fixes to heal the system. However, they are very few medical entrepreneurs in India today .

I feel there are many reasons for this. For one, doctors are part of the problem themselves ! They are so used to making patients wait, that they don’t even realize that this unnecessary waiting creates a lot of patient dis-satisfaction ! All doctors think they personally have a great bedside manner and excellent communication skills, so they really don’t need to improve as individuals ! After all, if they weren’t good, would they be so busy taking care of so many
patients ? Why fix something which isn’t broken ?

Most doctors are quite conservative. They are taught to accept the status quo – and many believe that what was fine for my medical professors is fine for me ! Medical training does not teach doctors to think out of the box or encourage risk taking, which is why very few of them have the courage to strike out on their own. Some also feel that they lack the skill sets needed to run a business. Also, there are very few role models for them to emulate, so that these business opportunities remain well disguised.

The trouble is that doctors cannot see the forest because they are too close to the trees – they are so focused on taking care of each individual patient, that they lose the ability to think in terms of the big picture. The tragedy is that they are smart and can learn – and because they understand the pain points of doctors and patients, they are often in the best position to craft the best solutions. However, because they do not do so, this gap has been filled in by non-medical entrepreneurs , who have clearer vision !

Doctors need to reinvent themselves as medical entrepreneurs in order to grab new opportunities and think beyond their clinical duties and responsibilities. They need to understand their patients’ requirements, and realize that just good doctoring is not enough. With all their skills and medical knowledge, they are in the best position to make the most of the many opportunities hidden in the booming healthcare services sector in India. If they do not, they will lose out to non-medical entrepreneurs who will grab this opportunity!

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