Indian Healthcare Sector Poised for Significant Growth & Transformation

By: Pritika Singh

An up-and-coming name in the Indian healthcare industry, Pritika Singh is the CEO at Prayag Hospitals Group. Her stint with the healthcare sector began right after completing 12th standard. she went on to pursue Post Graduation in Global Business Management from Regents Business School, London.

After completing her studies, she moves back to India and started work with her parents to grow and start more hospitals across India. Pritika has already been instrumental in building 2 hospitals and is building 5 new hospitals across India and majorly focusing on Uttar Pradesh.

A young entrepreneur, Pritika draws inspiration from her parents. In a conversation with Women Entrepreneur India, she speaks to us about her early life, her foray into the healthcare industry, the various challenges & opportunities the sector presents and much more,

Tell us about the early years of life. What were some early influences in your life? Did you always envision becoming an entrepreneur in the healthcare industry?

During my early years, I didn't have a clear idea of what I wanted to do. However, I was greatly influenced by my parents and their professional lives. My father is a doctor, and observing his work, along with my mother's activities in her own entrepreneurial ventures, left an impression on me. I was around 12 to 14 years old at that time, so my understanding was limited. It was in my 11th grade when I was introduced to the subject of entrepreneurship, and it sparked something within me. I realized that my mother's entrepreneurial work aligned with my aspirations. I knew then that I wanted to become an entrepreneur.

In fact, even before fully understanding entrepreneurship, I was certain that I wanted to follow in my mother's footsteps. The subject of entrepreneurship in my 11th and 12th grades further solidified my desire. During those two years, I actively started crafting my own business plan and envisioning how I would embark on this journey. My mother instilled in me the importance of the ABCs of success in any profession—availability, behavior, and competency. I have been guided by the teachings of my parents, and I continue to follow the path they have shown me.

My parents have been my biggest influences throughout my life. I have learned valuable lessons from them, especially during the evening discussions we used to have. They made sure to involve all three of us children in these conversations, and as the eldest, I had the advantage of understanding the business-related matters they discussed. I gained a lot of knowledge from observing my parents and how they dealt with various aspects of their work, including administrative tasks and entrepreneurial endeavours. If I were to delve deeper, my mother specifically has had the greatest impact on me. However, both my parents hold significant influence in my life.

Take us through your professional journey post returning to India after your Master’s degree. What led you to establish Pragya Hospital?

After completing my MBA, I embarked on my professional journey focused on making a positive impact in the healthcare sector. Recognizing the lack of awareness among individuals regarding diseases and treatments, I felt compelled to address this issue and provide assistance to those in need. To pursue my vision, I initially shared my aspirations with my parents and subsequently joined Prayag Hospital as the Planning and Strategy Director and was later promoted to the position of CEO.

As the CEO of Prayag Hospital, I continued to work towards my goal of increasing awareness and improving healthcare services. Understanding the significance of strong brand identity in achieving this vision, I initiated a comprehensive overhaul of the hospital's logo, tagline, and other elements that needed improvement. This rebranding effort aimed to create a more impactful and recognizable identity for Prayag Hospital, thereby increasing its reach and influence.

The Indian healthcare sector is one of the most lucrative and important industries for the nation. What did you see missing in the industry? How do you intend to fill this market gap through your entrepreneurial ventures in the healthcare space?

Several gaps need to be addressed in the Indian healthcare sector such as the shortage of healthcare professionals. To tackle this issue, we prioritize investing in our staff's training and development which further enables us to deliver high-quality care to our patients. Affordability is another crucial concern for many people seeking healthcare in India. To address this issue, we have implemented a complimentary ward system at Prayag Hospital. This facility eliminates the ward fees for Below Poverty Line patients and charges only for medications. Additionally, we do not levy bed charges or doctor fees for these patients.

Moreover, awareness about diseases, treatments, and preventive healthcare measures is another crucial gap and to fill this, we have established holistic healing centres at Prayag Hospital. Through these centres, we raise awareness about preventive healthcare by providing patients with the right information. Lastly, we make every effort to educate our patients about the various government healthcare schemes available, such as Ayushman Bharat, Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, and Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana. Our staff at the reception desk guide patients through the process of availing of these schemes, ensuring that they can access the healthcare benefits they are entitled to.

Entrepreneurship is a tough nut to crack and succeeding as a young business leader in established sectors such as healthcare is even tougher. Tell us about some of the most challenging aspects of being a young entrepreneur in the Indian healthcare space.

Entrepreneurship itself requires immense dedication, hard work, and resilience, but operating in the healthcare sector adds a layer of complexity and unique challenges. So, there were several employees who had been working in the company for many years before I joined the hospital. Previously, I had been working as an employee under those managers, but then I found myself in a position of being their boss. The transition was a bit challenging because the staff, who were used to seeing me as a colleague, had difficulty accepting me as their superior. However, as I completed a few projects, they gradually began to see that I had a different vision for the company. That's how I emerged as a leader, and over time, everyone started to accept me as their boss.

How do you foresee the Indian healthcare sector evolving in the near future? Tell us about some of the major industry trends that you are betting on as a business leader.

The Indian healthcare sector is poised for significant growth and transformation. Embracing technological advancements like the use of AI, IoT, and robotics, focusing on preventive healthcare, leveraging digital health solutions, promoting collaborative care models, and prioritizing data security are some of the major industry trends that I believe will shape the future of healthcare in India. At Prayag Hospital, we are committed to staying at the forefront of these trends, delivering high-quality care, and providing innovative solutions to meet the evolving needs of our patients.

What is your vision for Pragya Hospital going forward?

Our vision for Pragya Hospital is to expand our reach and provide quality healthcare to a wider population. To achieve this, we are outlining several strategic plans such as launching hospitals in Uttarakhand and UP West regions, catering to the healthcare needs of these areas. By establishing hospitals in this location, we aim to bring advanced medical facilities and expert healthcare professionals closer to the communities residing there. In addition to domestic expansion, we are also planning to open clinics in Indonesia and Uzbekistan which will enable us to extend our services beyond borders and contribute to the global healthcare landscape. As our motto says "Seva Parmo Dharma," we will continue to collaborate with the government to provide healthcare services to eligible patients. Through these partnerships, we will ensure that those in need have access to quality medical care and treatments.

What message would you like to give out to young women and girls out there?

To all the young women and girls, I would like to highlight one thing that with confidence, commitment, competency, consistency, anything can be achieved. So, embrace your uniqueness and believe in your abilities. Seek out knowledge, education, and experiences that will help you grow into the best version of yourself. Do not be afraid to challenge the status quo and break barriers. Also, I would suggest them that if opportunity does not knock the door, build the door. I have always worked on this. If an opportunity does not come my way, I make sure I create it. Additionally, it is equally important to prioritize your well-being and take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally. Your health is essential, and self-care should be a top priority.