Emerging Trends in Lab and Diagnostic Industry
The rise of preventive healthcare is a healthy trend as the cost of preventive care is relatively inexpensive when compared to reactive care
The lab and diagnostic industry in India is standing at an interesting juncture. The industry is in a transformation phase, from being a laid back and profit-focused domain to a customer-centric stream, aiming to be an integral part of healthcare sector like never before.
The leverage of online has encapsulated most of the sector. Concurrently, Healthcare Industry is exploring numerous options to engage and render the service to its customers on online platform. Booking for laboratory tests from home, home collection of samples, digitizing records, improved turnaround time are some of the major emerging trends in the lab and diagnostic domain.
Here’s a list of 5 emerging trends that are transforming the industry.
The Relevance of Preventive Healthcare
For years, labs were generally perceived as a province to detect and diagnose conditions when symptoms necessitated. However, with the raising awareness and an inclination to monitor health, considering the modern lifestyle we lead, people no longer wait for the symptoms to manifest and are happy to undergo periodic preventive healthcare check-ups to detect signs early, take the necessary precaution and prevent themselves from picking up diseases.
The rising trend has given preventive healthcare a new lease of life. Today, people want to know their numbers, health indicators, vital signs and are prepared to take precautions accordingly. The rise of preventive healthcare is a healthy trend as the cost of preventive care is relatively inexpensive when compared to reactive care.
Convenience of Online Healthcare
Gone are the days where one had to take an appointment or wait patiently at the laboratory to undergo the prescribed tests. Today, more and more laboratories are extending their services to the online platform. One can easily log in, schedule a time for a phlebotomist visit, the sample will be drawn at the comfort of their home and the report shall be delivered online through mail. The online convenience has saved people from taking leaves from their work, getting the sample collected at their convenient time and saving the agony of traveling and waiting at a laboratory, especially when they are sick and unwell. The online convenience has emerged as a boon for patients who require regular laboratory tests, for instance people with diabetes.
Unifying the Fragmented Diagnostic Domain
In India, 90% of the diagnostic market is fragmented and are dominated by standalone laboratories. Only a handful of laboratories function in a corporate style with a brand presence and branches spread across. But, people are now more concerned about the quality and accuracy of their report, as it directly impacts their healthcare. And to earn the trust of their patrons, more and more laboratories are now aiming for Certification and
Accreditations, which in general has enhanced the quality care. As laboratories are now focusing on quality and expanding their brand, the trend has bought down the cost to a certain extent and the services will get cheaper with continued unification of the industry. Laboratories are now aiming for funding and are prepared to bolster their infrastructure and technology to serve as a one stop destination for all testing. The impact is largely driven by people, as they no longer want to visit different laboratories for different tests.
Going Paperless with Digital Health Records
Though the concept of electronic health or medical record has existed for decades in most western countries, the adoption of technology is emerging as a trend in India. Digitization of health records ensure that all laboratory reports are documented electronically and can be accessed virtually from anywhere and anytime. While digitization helps the doctor understand accurately the medical history of the patient and empower them to treat better, it helps the patient by saving the stress of saving every laboratory report and can even save the cost by avoiding repetitive testing.
Customer-centric ApproachThough laboratories continue to be dependent on doctor and hospital referrals, there is at trend of laboratories involved in marketing their brand by engaging in educational campaigns and raising awareness among the people. Laboratories are now offering customer centric health services without the prescription from a doctor. For instance, Labs and Diagnostics centres are now offering attractive screening and preventive healthcare packages such as annual health check-ups, pre-marriage screening, well-women packages, etc, to entice new customers. Diagnostic centres are also slowly transforming themselves into healthcare centres by extending their services to specialist consultations, surgical referrals and second opinions.
Dr. Mohammed Waseem Afsar is the Co-Founder of Fifth Vitaland handles Medical Protocol, Operations & Training. Academically, Dr. Waseem has an MBA from IIM, Indore apart from his MBBS degree from VSS Medical College, Odisha. Dr. Afsar has over 16 years of experience in primary, secondary, tertiary and home healthcare delivery and has worked for Indian Navy and Ministry of Health, Saudi Arabia, Tata Hospital, CallHealth before being a part of Fifth Vital.