It’s difficult for a clinician to double up as CEO of a hospital chain: panelists at VCCircle Healthcare Investment Summit

A majority of practicing doctors in the country run their own clinics across the country and are in effect 

clinician cum entrepreneurs. However, as the healthcare service business scales up and takes a corporate shade, it is facing a unique challenge of balancing the role of the founder doctor and the need to bring in a professional manager to run a larger business, according to panellists at the VCCircle Healthcare Investment Summit.

The opening session of the summit in Mumbai, which saw packed house of 350 in its fifth-year edition, had chiefs of some of the country’s top hospital chains and a private equity investor active in the field share their insights on the sector.

“It is fine for a doctor entrepreneur to manage one hospital but when it comes to managing a chain of hospitals one has to decide whether to be an entrepreneur or a doctor,” said Rajen Padukone, CEO & MD of Manipal Health and Education Group.

The sentiment was dittoed by Vishal Bali, CEO of Fortis Healthcare, who said, “We have seen some great clinician entrepreneurs in this country. They have adopted good management practices in their enterprise.”

In the discussion moderated by Hari Buganna, managing director of InvAscent India, the panel also discussed how attractive single specialty hospitals are in terms of investments.

While the panellists broadly agreed that the format is here to stay, they insisted that some models will be more successful than others. In particular the industry experts felt that segments like eye care and dental is fairly attractive but other formats like day-care still has to prove its merit.

The opening session also covered issues like under penetration of clinical specialties in the country, synergy between new emerging formats, creating collaborative opportunities in healthcare and the trust deficit between government and private companies in the business.

Raj Dugar, senior managing director of Fidelity Growth Partners, cautioned that the sector is up for more regulations just like telecom and the power sector, especially in the pharma segment.

“Going forward this industry will see more regulation from bodies like US FDA and the government,” Dugar said. 

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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