“This industry needs a distribution model,” says Abhik Moitra, the man behind HBG Medical Assistance, a five-year-old company, which has undoubtedly become one of the most famous medical travel and medical assistance companies of India. His passion for his work comes through very clearly while he speaks about the future of the medical tourism industry in India.Moitra says, “ If you see industries like FMCG or consumer durables, their whole business is dependent on how fast they can reach to the consumer. From a factory in Himachal Pradesh to a household in Chennai, FMCG companies have built a successful distribution model. They work through the clearing and forwarding agents to distributors from distributors to retailers and retailers to consumers, in a most effective way.”
The question, however, remains that is it possible to do so within the medical tourism industry? Can we create similar chain in the medical tourism industry? Moitra, having a background in FMCG and banking, is confident and says that it is possible. “We at HBG have done it,” he answers affirmatively. “We have created country-specific distribution for our services and we have well defined their roles. The model has big advantages; It helps us to connect better with our retailers, namely those people who connect with patients more often than us. It helps us to communicate better with these referral points and thus derive better business from them,” says Moitra.
The obvious question that pops up is whether this model is relevant to hospitals for which each and every referral point is important? How secure is their business, if hospitals stop looking into the markets directly and remain dependent on a distributor to do the job?
Moitra answers, “It is not a matter of mere dependence. It is a practice of making your distribution chain work. Making them do what you do and making them do in a much larger fashion, simply because their reach will be much larger. We are not saying that hospitals should stop promoting themselves, but rather should do it through the distribution chain.”