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India Stands at the Intersection of Hospitality and Healthcare

By Siddharth Dutta, Associate Vice President – Healthcare, Markets and Markets India

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Siddharth Dutta, Associate Vice President – Healthcare, Markets and Markets India

Healing with hospitality’ is the ongoing mantra for some of the corporate hospital groups in India, which are catering to the super rich and young urban corporates in India. Although boutique hospital concept is nothing new and has been successful in countries such as USA and Singapore, it is fairly smaller but growing market in India.

The boutique hospitals are equipped with VIP rooms which have facilities such as large windows offering gorgeous views, finest linens, fresh flowers on tables, master chef preparing gourmet meals and customized desserts clubbed with flawless medical care and state of the art medical treatment which comforts and pampers the patient further. This is the new age ultra-smart healthcare facility and it is not for everyone as it comes with a heavy price.

While a night in a star rated hotel would cost anywhere between INR 8000 – 15000, these hospital suites come with a tariff matching those of the luxury hotels. When a patient is admitted to such hospital, around 60-70 percent of the bills is for hospitality services and the remaining goes for actual treatment. A few years back, general wards took 70-80 percent of the hospital space, however these new age ultra-luxury hospital hardly have any.

Fortis La Femme, BGS Global Hospitals, Colombia Asia referral hospital, Cloud Nine, offer some of the high-ended boutique care services in India. The providers claim that there is a huge demand for high-ended services in hospital, not withstanding the high cost. As per one of the zonal directors of a premier hospital in Karnataka, 90 percent of executive suites and 70 percent of royal suites are always occupied. (Hospital has 6 royal suites and 8 executive suites). Currently these services are available in regional pockets such as Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi-NCR, the market may expand as and when other cities meet these ultra-rich patient population. With PM Modi’s initiatives of smart cities all across the country, changing economy and increasing paying capacity of the corporate pool, India may soon expect the rise of multiple ultra-luxury hospitals in centers like Kolkata, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Chandigarh and many such Tier II cities.

In 2016, Indian healthcare sector is standing at an intersection of hospitality and healthcare where a flow of expertise from both the industries meet to fill the gaps of ultra-luxurious healthcare set up. Indian hospitals although have started creating 5 star facilities and rooms, there are lot of other areas where both the industry partners can collaborate such as medical travel and tourism; hospitality industry can step in as  transitional care partners and, more traditionally, as places for visiting family members; explore the growth of the heavily hospitality oriented senior living and care industry and create Hospice, besides working on the measurement of patient and staff satisfaction and allocate budgets to better manage the hotel functions of the hospital such as ‘Medical Spa’.

Hospitals such as Fortis Hospital, Mohali have created star rated facilities for out station attendants accompanying patients with short term stay over facilities. These facilities are expected to increase across multiple hospitals in India with added services and innovative hospitality initiative.

In the next 5 years, India will witness an amalgamation of these two industries; while the healthcare industry can benefit from the hospitality style business model which strongly focuses on service culture, the hospitality industry in turn can also benefit from the healthcare’s expertise in complexities such as presence of intertwined legal, human resource and supply chain systems, working with multiple decision makers who all come together to collaborate and serve for the betterment of patients, with a touch of care and innovation. This model though small, is here to stay for a while.

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