Problems with the diagnostic labs industry in India
The diagnostic labs is without a doubt the most unorganized and almost chaotic business structure there is currently. All that is about to change. But, in order for things to change we must first identify the core problems associated with the industry.
The core problems that we have so far identified are as follows-
1. Monopoly – Most path labs have monopolies in their geographic locations. The reason for this being the lack of organised information among the general people regarding location of other more efficient laboratories. This also allows these monopolized laboratories to sometimes quote extravagant prices for simple tests.
2. No Rating Systems – As is true with all organized industries service ratings are indispensable for the customer to draw his/her own judgement for the services rendered by the provider. Currently there are no indexed ratings for path labs, this, in our opinion has led to dissonance. Isn’t it ridiculous that every time you have to eat at a restaurant you check the restaurant ratings and reviews online, but have nothing to refer to when it concerns your health?
3. Low competition – Without competition, no sector can thrive. And unfortunately this sector is one of the lowest competition industries in the market, not for lack of availability, but lack of information. People just do not know where they can get a better price or service than their neighborhood lab.
4. No Rate transparency – Since there are no published rates for most path labs, the test rates could vary from 50%-200% of the actual test cost. And this is without an assurance of quality.
5. Most laboratories do not offer sample collection facilities, contrary to popular belief this is a pretty basic facility offered by most labs. Which labs? People mostly do not know.
6. Just like any other service, lab rates are negotiable on the margin, but most labs do not negotiate, primarily because of the aforementioned monopoly. Secondarily, because people don’t even know that this is possible.
7. Because of these parameters new laboratories that might a have better work ethic than their older and are better established counterparts, do not get business because of customer loyalty to inefficient labs.
Like we said all these parameters are going to change pretty soon. How? Keep watching this space.