Globally, home healthcare is a 100 billion dollar industry: Vipin Pathak


In an interview with ETHealthworld, Vipin Pathak, CEO & Co- Founder, Care24, Mumbai, talks about home healthcare scenario in India and the embedded challenges in this vertical. Edited excerpts:

Healthcare at Home: Trends

We started a journey sometime back, globally if we see the developed nations like in US, home healthcare is a 100 billion dollar industry, Japan is a 25 billion dollar industry and China is also a 100 billion dollar industry. In China, they do not have elderly and home healthcare separate but they have got the retirement homes which are massive in nature because they have very different problems. But when it comes to India it is super fragmented. Almost 99.9 percent of the industry is fragmented; we do not have the basic homecare concept as an established concept. So what has happened in this case is that the care part of it is not standardised and the maid is taking care of the patients in chronic condition and a lot of times there are unfortunate cases in such locations. If we talk about the size of the problem versus the spent that we have in India, it is not matching. It is a 3 billion dollar industry in India which actually has a potential of more than 10 billion dollar. A lot of unserved market does exist in India and almost 70 percent of the people who require these services are not being served at this point and time.

Issues and challenges:

If we talk about the issues, I would say that skilled labour is the first large issue because home healthcare as a concept is becoming a career profession for people who become caregivers. If there is a good earning potential, there is career growth but that whole concept has not evolved in India. Second problem is on the patient’s side, when patients start getting the care at home then the factor of trust that needs to be there between the care giver, the patient and the consumer, is not built in a nice way. I would say lack of professionalism largely is the reason there. Third problem that I would see is that institutions service providers and consumers are not connected; by institutions I would say the hospitals, the doctors, standard players and the consumers. For example in US, as soon as you get out of a hospital there is a step-down care, ICU care, home care and all the structure and initiative are from the same doctor or hospital. In India it becomes a very independent consumer research, so the consumer has to go back, discover who is the right player, keep on trying with a lot of nursing bureaus and talking to different people but they do not have a single source where they can ask.

Journey so far:

It has been a fantastic journey. We started 3 years back with a small simple idea on how do we help the elderly at home and from there it has been a great journey. Today we serve more than thousand people every single day in Bombay and Delhi. When we began it was a simple supportive care and from there we started on the skill nursing side, the nursing support, therapy support, we started post surgery, handling and critical care management. People who require critical care from not only therapies but who would need continues monitoring of vitals and whether the health is getting better or not. We have started cancer care and we mostly do palliative and terminal care that pretty much did not exist in India. From a journey perspective we have added a bokay of services to the consumer and they have responded pretty well.

A differentiator:

There are two separate set of providers here, there is this fragmented industry which are largely nursing bureaus and others have been in the market for the last 30 years. Then there are the new age companies that have come in the last 4 to 5 years. What we do as a differentiator is that we believe and invest a lot in technology, in training, in supply and basically providing the right care. We have got a pool of 1500 care givers at this point and time, across different geographies, across different expertise that we serve, there every single patient recovery is something that we monitor and how do we monitor is largely through technology whether someone has really reached on time or not, whether the session has happened good or not, taking feedback from the consumer, patient and the caregiver, all that is something that we do across geographies.

Future plans:

Today we have services in Bombay and Delhi. We intend to increase the presence in different cities in the next 12 to 18 months, largely covering the metros.