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BW Businessworld

New Initiatives: Vision For Future

Single-speciality hospitals or day care centres as they are typically known focus on specialty care services in any one area of healthcare — it can be eye care, dental care, fertility or oncology, to name a few

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It’s a little over three months since Delhi-based Centre For Sight (CFS) got the approval from the capital markets regulator to raise funds worth about Rs 115 crore from the bourses to expand its operations and offer a partial exit to its existing investor Matrix Partners.

“We will use the corpus to strengthen our presence in the northern part of the country, says Mahipal Singh Sachdev, a former AIIMS ophthalmologist and founder of the Delhi-based eyecare chain. The corpus will primarily be used to construct a super-speciality eyecare centre in Dwarka and add at least six more eye centres. A part of it will also be used to buy shares from existing shareholders of CFS Netralaya, located in Meerut, among others.

With CFS, Sachdev forayed into the single specialty healthcare segment way back in the mid-90s, when the concept was totally new in the country. “When you come to a multi-specialty hospital, patients have to intermingle with patients of all specialties which are considered sickness. As far as eyecare is concerned, it is a specialty where many ailments related to it are not particularly considered sickness,” he says highlighting the growth prospects of the bourgeoning single-specialty segment across the country where overall healthcare penetration is severely low.

Single-speciality hospitals or day care centres as they are typically known focus on specialty care services in any one area of healthcare — it can be eye care, dental care, fertility or oncology, to name a few. So even as multi-specialty hospitals are here to stay, single-specialty chains are increasingly gaining popularity with customers. More so, because you also get specialised doctors for one healthcare segment. Also, in a lot of ways, single-specialty healthcare chains work out to be cheaper on the wallets of consumers.

In multi-speciality chains, there are several factors that work out to be more expensive. For instance, there, one typically cannot ignore costs associated with average length of stay of a patient and per bed price.

Besides, sometimes, there are also additional charges pertaining to ICU. “In our case, we typically provide day care facilities where patients need not bother about beds as the average length of stay could be an hour or two. So, the thought process on how we run and manage the eye care chain is thoroughly different from multi-specialty healthcare chains,” says Sachdev.

Certainly, there is a robust pipeline of healthcare IPOs in the current market. These include Aster DM Healthcare, Thyrocare Technologies, Dr Lal Pathlabs and Narayana Health. Besides, the IPO of Alkem Laboratories, one of the largest drugmakers in India by domestic sales is yet another landmark healthcare IPO.

All in all, the growth in healthcare is definitely here to stay across all categories and it is a sector which is dependent on the domestic market. “Now that we have got the approval from SEBI, depending on the market conditions, we will take the plunge,” says Sachdev