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Mint Healthcare Summit: Specialty hospital chains can bridge demand-supply gap, says AHH’S Vishal Bali

Speciality hospital chains can bridge the demand-supply gap in healthcare, Vishal Bali, executive chairman, Asia Healthcare Holdings (AHH), said at the Mint Healthcare Summit 2023 in New Delhi on Wednesday.

The former Fortis Healthcare chief executive said speciality hospital chains could lure investors on the basis of faster infrastructure creation and accessibility, and could also meet new consumer demands in the healthcare space.

Bali said AHH’s business grew on the back of investments in single specialities such as oncology and neonatology. The use of technology to scale led to more neonatal intensive care beds that could address infant deaths, a problem he said AHH identified.

“When we invested in Motherhood, it was just three hospitals in 2016. We are in 2023, and Motherhood is going to touch around 30 hospitals,” said the former Wockhardt CEO.

Bali said the health-tech sector has not been able to grow rapidly because online pharmacies have had to build customer loyalty to ensure consistent footfalls. He said building trust would take time.

On the scope for made-in-India medical devices, Bali said India lacks precision engineering in the medical tech space and locally made MRIs and CT scan devices are no match for their international counterparts. He said this venture needed a lot more momentum.

The AHH executive said artificial intelligence (AI) was a “key driver for efficiency creation in healthcare”, adding that technology adoption was low in the healthcare sector due to the clinical staff’s lack of know-how. An AI engine inside a radiology department would increase productivity, he said.

Bali said there was a “reverse migration” of talent from tier-1 cities to tier-2 and tier-3 towns, fuelled by technology and brighter growth prospects. Clinicians were migrating to tier-2 cities because “they also see potential opportunities to become leading consultants in those cities rather than a number eight or a number ten in a large metro,” he added.

Hospitals would be equally profitable in tier-1 cities and tier-2 towns if the lower cost of execution in tier-2 towns offset their lower profit numbers compared with tier-1 cities, Bali said.

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Updated: 30 Nov 2023, 11:53 AM IST

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