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Healthcare Is Now Getting The Attention It Deserves: GSK Velu, Chairman & Managing Director, Trivitron Healthcare
Today, most people prefer getting blood tests done from home. And now we are offering even ECGs at home. X-rays too can be done at home. This trend will only increase
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GSK VELU, Chairman & Managing Director, Trivitron Healthcare, in conversation with BW Businessworld, talks about his diagnostics business , the overall healthcare industry, and how all of these have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
How have the last six months been for you personally and professionally?
None of us anticipated that something like this would happen in our lives. On the personal side, we all started learning how to remain in one place and spend time with our family. For the past 30 years or so I have been traveling more than 20 days a month. Now for the past four months, I haven’t travelled anywhere and am sitting at home working, as this is my office now.
Professionally, being in healthcare, we have been busier than ever. We are running factories 24X7, setting up more than ten laboratories across the country and dealing with situations that aren’t easy at all. Also, we are realising the value of healthcare in this pandemic, and we feel that healthcare is now getting the kind of attention it deserves.
What is the scale of revenue loss for big hospital chains and healthcare start-ups?
Currently, it is easily at about Rs 15,000 crore, because there is a fear of going to hospitals. The only reason people would want to go a hospital is if they are Covid positive and need treatment. Non-communicable diseases like diabetes, cancer, cardiology, renal care are being ignored to a large extent at the moment.
I feel the fear of catching the virus is stopping people from coming to hospitals. In most of the conventional healthcare facilities including those for eyecare, dentistry, etc. there is very little happening, and business is 20-30 per cent since the pandemic struck. For most diagnostic companies, Covid testing is what is helping us to survive. We have multiple factories from where we get the supplies for Covid testing. This is what is keeping us going.
Today, 70 per cent of healthcare procedures are done by private enterprises. Whether it is a small nursing home or a huge hospital, all are going through a difficult period.
With people being afraid to go to hospitals,what lies ahead for the healthcare sector? Also, tell us about the future of elder care.
I think when you look at it carefully, there are clearly two aspects of healthcare — one is illness, and the other is wellness. For illness, one has to go a hospital to get cured or to see a specialist. But wellness can mostly be delivered at home or in standalone diagnostic centres. Basically, there one is not dealing with illness.
If one wants to get an x-ray or ECG done, it is better to go to a medical diagnostic centre and get the blood test done instead of going to a hospital. There is a distinction between what hospitals should do, and what independent wellness centres should do. Then comes the most important aspect which is home health. Home health is an aspect that is picking up all over the world and when it comes to diagnostics and also management of chronic disorders, home health will play a very important role.
Today, most people prefer getting blood tests done from home. And now we are offering even ECGs at home. X-rays too can be done at home. This trend will only increase. But issues like how affordable it will be and what else can be done at home will depend on the infrastructure and affordability of different sets of population.