NewsHealthcare Sector Trends and Outlook for 2024

Healthcare Sector Trends and Outlook for 2024

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In a recent conversation with BusinessLine, Dilip Jose, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Manipal Health Enterprise, shed light on the major trends that shaped the healthcare industry in 2023 and shared insights into the anticipated outlook for the sector in the coming year.

Major Trends in 2023: Growth in Patient Footfall, CAPEX Influx, and Consolidation

Jose highlighted three pivotal trends that dominated the healthcare landscape in 2023. First and foremost, there was a notable 7-8% growth in patient footfall. This surge was attributed to heightened awareness among the public, coupled with increased access and affordability. The positive trajectory is expected to persist, with an estimated 6-8% growth in patient footfall anticipated in the coming year.

Simultaneously, the investment cycle witnessed a resurgence with an influx of capital expenditures (CAPEX) activities within the healthcare sector. In the case of Manipal Health Enterprise, Jose revealed ongoing investments in four greenfield projects, emphasizing the creation of capacities as a strategic move.

Furthermore, 2023 saw a significant uptick in merger and acquisition activities across the country, signaling the commencement of consolidation within the healthcare sector. This trend is anticipated to persist and evolve over the next couple of years.

Outlook for 2024: Continued Growth and the Impact of Covid Variants

Looking ahead to 2024, Dilip Jose expressed confidence in the continuation of the three major trends observed in the previous year. However, he also emphasized the need for vigilance in light of the emergence of new variants of Covid, acknowledging the potential impact on the healthcare landscape.

Major Challenges Faced by Healthcare Providers: Medical Inflation and Workforce Shortages

Jose identified two key challenges faced by healthcare providers in 2023, challenges that are expected to persist. Firstly, medical inflation soared to 14%, affecting not only consumables and drug costs but also the cost of personnel. The sector witnessed an increased demand for Indian nurses, highlighting a shortage of skilled human resources, including nurses, technicians, and managers.

While finding immediate solutions to the workforce shortage remains a challenge, Jose suggested that increased investment in technology, particularly in the upgrading of medical technology across the sector, could provide valuable support.

Growth Curve in the Healthcare Sector

Responding to whether the sector is witnessing a growth curve, Jose expressed optimism. If patient volume remains sustained at the 7-8% range, he anticipates a 15% increase in revenue without assuming any significant price hikes. This outlook underscores the resilience and potential for growth within the healthcare industry.

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