As per the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines, for every 100,000 people, there needs to be at least one ambulance. However, currently in the city of Delhi comprising 22 million people, only one ambulance serves per 1.4 Lakh people, as recorded by the Wall Street Journal in 2014. The alarming need for a balanced economical as well as demand-supply chain indicates that the emergency medical services need development as well as investments. Today, the National Health Mission (NHM), set up by the Indian Government has played a significant role so as to improve the health care scenario in India. Private players have also played a huge role in enhancing quality, although the problem of accessibility is a prevalent challenge even today.
India has been recorded to spend 4% of its GDP on health, in a world where health care is a bare minimum need, rather than a privilege. This means that most health care facilities in the country are heavily under-resourced or under-connected to rural areas in particular. Although there have been efforts in overcoming existing challenges, concerns regarding the speed with which an ambulance can be contacted and the time for it to arrive at the geo-location of the patient, have been raised in the past.
However, it is easy to spot errors and gaps in everyday life – be it health care or environmental degradation – but very few have the courage to make a difference. A combination of compassion and action makes a moral and inspiring change in this world. Investing and starting a business in ambulance services will not only be an act of humanitarian responsibility but also a great financial reap for what is sowed.
Every business needs opportunity and the field of Emergency Medical Services is lush with it. Not only does one fulfil a humanitarian responsibility to help others via this industry/profession, but there is also an opportunity to be an entrepreneur, working towards a social cause. A few years ago in 2007, the giant Acumen – seeded by Cisco Systems Foundation – made investments in private organisations that worked in the emergency services field, including ZHL. Today, Ziqitza Health care Ltd. (ZHL) has served millions of people through its services across states. Not only do these ambulances ensure quick transit time, but also have well-resourced and trained professionals on board, apart from a range of other provisions (article to be linked).
At the initial stages, investing in the ambulance industry may seem a no-returns game. Techniques of generating a sustainable business, via tiered pricing – that charges more for the rich and less/free for the poor. Based on if they choose a private or a government hospital, the pricing differs. Although it may not be an extremely precise measuring scale, it is a fairly balanced way of differentiating economic backgrounds of customers.
Other models, such as investments from giants – such as in the Acumen Funds case – or Public Private Partnerships (PPP) can be great pathways to do big in the emergency medical industry. Keeping costs low but maintaining enough medical resources is very crucial. Scaling up is eventual for businesses in this field, while sustainability can be achieved through advertising on the ambulances especially during the budding stages.
Be it a call for moral duty or financial boost, ambulance services in particular and emergency medical services, in general, are thriving fields in terms of both mental and monetary satisfaction. “Besides the economic benefit of running an EMS there is also immense satisfaction received from getting daily reports from the field on the lives the company has saved in different medical/ accident situations” – Manish Sacheti, CFO, Ziqitza Health Care Limited” Save lives every day and make a difference, the ball is in your court.