Monthly Archives: December 2010

The Indian Health Care Growth Story ….. A Perspective

From the Crucibles of JPS Customer Value Academy

                                           Just Plain & Simple                               

                                            ….. Helping Create Customer Value

The Indian Optician, September-October, 2010 Issue

Health care in India is clearly poised to grow. The last decade has seen the growth curve take a definite upward swing.

With the growth opportunity in an industry, needless to say, also comes entry of new players. So also has been the case in India. The industry has seen an increase in players in the direct domains of health care service delivery, as also related stakeholders in insurance, funding agencies, manufacturers, consultants, manpower outsourcing etc..

Each stakeholder brings a background and knowhow and definitely adds valuable contribution to the growth story. Each also has its own perspective and its own strategy on how to ‘create value’.

One is reminded of the story of five blind men (or men in a dark night situation) and the elephant, from school days. This needs to be taken in the right context of the meaning and the lesson it offers please.

There were five blind men who came upon an elephant.

“What is this?” asked the first one, who had touched its side. “It’s an Elephant.” said the elephant’s owner. The man ran his hands up and down the elephant’s side and said “It is like a huge wall”.

The second man, touching the elephant’s leg, said, “This is like a pillar”.

“An elephant is just like a snake. It’s wrapping around my arm” said the third man, stroking the elephant’s trunk.

Said the fourth man pulling the elephant’s tail, “This is not a snake, it’s more like a rope.”

The fifth man had touched the elephant’s ear and declared, “This is like a husking basket”

And they moved on along the road, arguing as they went ahead.

One way this story is used is to illustrate the principle of living in harmony with people who have different belief systems and that truth can be stated in different ways. This is the theory of Manifold Predictions.

Rumi, the Sufi poet, uses this story as an example of the limits of individual perception.

Each stakeholder has his/her view and rightly so. Each will try to use his/her own strategies and decisions to maximise his/her value creation.

With multiplicity of players in health care, there will be increased competition and that should be, for sure, good for the customer. Hence, Customer Value Offering will necessarily become extremely critical.

Survival of the fittest will therefore be linked to whoever is able to master ‘what the customer really wants’ & ‘what adds most value to the customer’.

Latest technology will be a key element, but may not be the only factor in winning this game. India needs ‘appropriate’ technology as well, to cater to the huge mass of population. And for that matter, there is money to be made at all levels of the income hierarchy and geographic spread. But how does this get unlocked ?

Strategically, a key differentiator that will emerge is operational efficiency. This is also a key element in customer satisfaction, be it for service providers, health insurance companies (portability/cashless debates included), suppliers, medical tourism or outsourcing agencies. Operational Efficiency includes cost, process efficiency, service cycle times, continuous improvement etc..

However, one point which is probably not getting enough attention in this whole excitement over growth, is the importance of Right People and Right People Processes. It is people, across all stakeholders and across all domains, functions and levels, who fundamentally drive all the strategies, decisions and operations. Ability to select, develop, retain and grow The Right People will probably emerge as the single most important Success Factor.

Any of the players in this industry, definitely spends a large percentage of its revenue in people cost (and it will be comparatively higher in pure service led businesses). This is the biggest expense after cost of goods ….. and just consider how much attention goes behind purchase (and annual maintenance contracts) of inanimate goods compared to selection, development, retention and growth of The Right People !!

Development of skills and talent, specific to health care itself, maybe an investment worth making in the business. There are organisations doing it, but very often it is seen as a social sector activity. However, this one activity could be the biggest value and profit enhancer, from the top end paying customer to a no frills primary centre in rural areas, where also, as they say, there is a lot of fortune lying !!

It is people at all levels who will become critical to success.

Leadership Challenge is to build bridges into the future.

For those who think operational efficiency may not be as important, it may be appropriate to share here that “Fielding historically has been seen as a Service Function in cricket for too long, till Jonty Rhodes changed the game and showed that a Fielder can win matches !!”


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Just Plain & Simple                               

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JPS Customer Value Academy

Just Plain & Simple                               

….. Helping Create Customer Value

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