Apollo Health and Lifestyle Limited, a fully-owned subsidiary of the Apollo Hospital Group, is embarking on a 'beyond metro' strategy this year for driving growth. Plans are on the anvil to open 30 to 35 Apollo Clinics in non-metro towns and cities across the country this year, thereby driving more than 75 per cent growth for the company.
The company is also now focusing its stand on "branded affordability." The idea behind this is to kill the notion that Apollo means expensive healthcare and to make the customers understand that there is only a marginal difference in costs between Apollo vis-à-vis other branded healthcare segments.
On the positioning, Ratan Jalan, CEO, Apollo Health and Lifestyle Limited, said, "This year we plan to extend our experience of 'branded affordability' across many more non-metro towns by opening 35 additional clinics. The objective is to reassure patients and consumers of an honest and transparent pricing structure, backed by the Apollo quality.
Jalan said that as one moves away from the metros the quality of service, irrespective of the industry, dips considerably. However, customer experience even in smaller towns in sectors such as banking and telecom have proved to be an eye-opener and created a more discerning customer base.
"In case of healthcare, continuing indifference to the changed market scenario hurts the most. The Apollo Group through the Apollo Clinic brand is determined to change this, while ensuring that quality healthcare is kept affordable to the largest sections of the population. In fact, our experience in towns such as Allahabad, Varanasi, Agra, Salem, Surat, Guwahati, Jamshedpur, Siliguri and the most recently example being Tinsukia (in Assam) has been extremely encouraging in terms of customer acceptance," he said.
"The focus states for expansion this year are Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Karnataka," he added.
Interestingly, a recent report by CII-McKinsey, Healthcare in India, further corroborates the growing need for domiciliary healthcare services in SEC A and B towns. The CII-McKinsey report indicates that 61 per cent of private spending in India is on day-to-day healthcare. It clearly establishes that this segment represents the larger slice of the healthcare business.