How to start a Home Healthcare agency?
Do you have this question running in your mind?
If you are someone who is looking to start a Home Health Care business, then this is the right time. Home Health Care is one of the largest growing businesses and has expanded its boundaries over a short span. The Indian Home Healthcare market has been frugal and is continuing to grow.
So what exactly is Home Health Care?
Home Healthcare can by itself define two broad things. One, medical home health services provided to people in the comfort of being at home. These services are provided by skilled professionals, nurses and so and includes nursing services mostly. On the other hand, there are non-medical services such as companionship, maid services, housekeeping to aid and ease the lives of senior citizens.
Therefore, at first you might have to define and understand the scopes of the service that you are going to provide. Thus a lot of ground work goes into this just like any other business. One must lay out a proper business plan, do extensive research about the market and the players in it, foresee its trends a few years down the line and then make a firm decision of stepping into the market.
Talking about providing care at home, it essentially means that this industry revolves around the patient in need and providing services at his/her convenience. In this patient-centric industry, there needs to be careful planning and structure to keep it running smooth.
Just like a house would need a strong foundation, we need to lay the metrics on which we are going to build our business.
The future of Home Healthcare in India
Indian being the second largest country with Geriatric population with some States having just the Elderly as the sole occupants, home healthcare becomes a necessity. India has almost 88 million people above the age of 60 and not all the needs of this category of people be full filled within the traditional limits of an Hospital. With our healthcare infrastructure soaring up, the costs incurred to treat long-term problems are un imaginable. Also, certain procedures require most holistic approach such as treatment of cancer, which can be administered at home.
Although, there is a huge need for Home Health services, much of this sector still runs un-organised. Another woe that the emerging and existing home healthcare providers face is that there is no insurance coverage for the services availed through Home Healthcare. And this very reason pushes away majority of the crowd.
However, with this sector’s pace and need today has already knocked doors. More insurance companies will come forward to extend services to Home Healthcare in the near future.
Challenges in starting a Home Healthcare
Starting a new Home Healthcare is not a cake walk and not necessarily suit everyone. It is a business that combines strategic expertise and the compassion to serve people. If you are not someone with a desire to care for your fellow man, then this might not be a right decision on the long run.
Before setting up, there are a few challenges to be considered.
- Distance – Home Healthcare services are patient centric and requires the caregiver to travel to the patient’s place at the patient’s comfortable time to be provide the service.
- Technology – Although most Home Healthcare today manage their operations conventionally, over a period of time as the organisation expands, there comes a situation were handling large volumes of data and its processing becomes difficult and more dedicated personnel are hired to take care of this. This deviates the organisation’s main motive – to be able to provide quality care to their patients. But thanks to the modern technical advancements that has allowed effective management of these operations through software and applications.
However, this best suits when adapted at an earlier phase rather than on the later stage.This adaptation to technology in the beginning paves way for a “process” and a strong foundation on which your homecare business can operate.
Now that we have understood the base and what the future holds for this Home Healthcare industry, let us consider the other factors that actually play the dominant role once we have decided to set-up our business.
“Expenses” shoot up to the top of the page while drawing out your business plan. Let us list the expenses that should be met to set out the plan
In order for one to provide quality service, good staffing and technology has become important. We need specialised equipments that match the quality of service provided at the hospitals, at the same time cost effective. Now, that there has been enough awareness among people about Home Healthcare and the considerable shift in the population that has chosen homecare over availing services at hospitals, a home healthcare cannot compromise on the quality yet provide it at a minimal cost. This shift in trend is ever growing due to the increasing population and the rising number of senior citizens who require dedicated attenders to aid them for their daily routine.
Basically, you would need to concentrate on the equipments, hiring professionals, rent a place for office set-up. It is now time to decide the cash-flow, if you are going to partner with someone or take up a loan etc.,
Before establishing, let us analyse the trends and patterns of people during the past and about each medical service that has been prominent in different areas. Basically, we are understanding the different needs of different people and mapping it with the resources available with us. We can then decide which geographies to provide our services to. Ideally you can set up the office location central to these geographies.
The most essential and crucial part is in hiring the most suitable fit for your organisation. As, the growth of any Home Health industry completely depends upon the quality of care provided and hence it becomes your biggest responsibility to hire highly qualified professionals and thoroughly conduct background checks. This in turn will improve the service quality, reduce thefts, increase trust among your patients. In other words, they represent your organisation and choosing the best is important as it reflects the name of the organisation.
Another option would be to, have tie-ups with other organisations who are specialized in certain services and pull employees on contract basis. Again, we will have to make sure that it is a reputed organisation.
Now that we have covered our basics and ground work, we now need to expose ourselves to the market. Devise new marketing strategies and make yourselves visible to the people.
Primarily, you can set up a website and use it extensively to lay down all the services provided by you. “Trust” is a key factor that attracts your clients, thus find ways to instill trust among your patients. Additionally you have give out advertisements on social media such as Facebook, join forums and groups associated with your industry, post useful information constantly.
Most of your trusted clients come in referrals, so “word of mouth” is very important. What your patients feel about your services is important as they go on to suggest people they know to contact you only if they have had a satisfying experience.
Create a brand of your own and stand out from the crowd. Finding ways to capture that special place in the market is the key to withstanding in this competition in the long run. And most of this comes from the quality of care that is provided.
Get exposed to the outer world. Attend trade fairs, conferences and events where you get an opportunity to meet Physicians, Equipment vendors, Nurses and other owners of businesses. Networking is important as is in most business.