It is about the “L” healthcare clinic and how they manage to take advantages of emerging health industry by using the development of technology.
About “L” Healthcare
The “L” healthcare and medical diagnostic centre was established on 2014. It is a two-storeyed building and located in Yangon, Myanmar. It provides quality medical services with modern medical equipment. The well-trained medical doctors and nurses give prompt and effective treatment to the patients with the use of advanced medical techniques and technologies. There are friendly staffs available to help and meet the patient’s needs and requests. The customer’s (patient’s) satisfaction is always on the top priority. The clinic is always at your service to help the customers get better healthy living.
To become the most reliable, affordable, accessible health care provider in Myanmar
-Appreciating customer satisfaction
-Providing health education to the society to promote the primary healthcare knowledge
-Efficient, quality treatment service with modern technology
-Accessible and affordable and quality healthcare throughout Myanmar
Figure 1. Overall strategic direction
-Strategic intent to expand international and to become one of the most reliable hospital in Myanmar
-Be a platform and connect the qualified doctors with the customers (patients)
-Provide the quality care services for the well-being of the patients
The clinic has ISO 9001:2015 certificate which assures the patients with the proven and standardized quality in the medical services. With reliable quality, we are always trying to win our customers’ trust and confidence. It provides comprehensive cost effective healthcare delivery system. The services include;
-Specialist OPD service
-Medical Check-up service
-Home care service
-Imaging service (X-Ray)
-Fertility care service
-Minor procedure service
Healthcare industry of Myanmar
The republic of union of Myanmar surrounded by Thailand, Laos, China, India, and Bangladesh which population was 51.41 million in 2014 according to the Census. The crude birth rate was estimated to be 18.9 per 1,000 giving the annual population growth rate of 0.89% between 2003 and 2014. See Appendix 1. In comparison, there were not enough medical doctors (61 per 100,000 population) to provide healthcare services to the whole nation. The Myanmar healthcare sector was facing difficulties in providing better health services for a larger part of the population. In Myanmar, a historical lack of healthcare investment has resulted in low levels of health personnel and infrastructure relative to population. Myanmar transitioned to a civilian government in March 2011. Start from 2011, the government recognize the clear link between the strong healthcare system and national progress. Although the government has increased the spending on healthcare sector since then, many problems still exist in the field of healthcare. There are still some gaps which need to be filled by private healthcare players.
Start from 2015 with the opening of Myanmar’s economy, the country’s GDP, and life expectancy have grown steadily with salaries, increase income and economic opportunities all on the rise. The increase in attention to healthcare and expenditure on health services is presenting a very interesting opportunity for healthcare businesses and professionals. The private hospital and specialist poly clinic has become popular for patient seeking immediate medical treatment. The private hospitals and clinics generally have more modern facilities than the government hospitals. Therefore, people who can afford to pay for the medical services choose private rather than public government hospitals. The economy of Myanmar is continue growing and thus the demand for quality healthcare will undoubtedly increase. The positive outcome of the 2015 election brings a good chance for foreign investors to make investment in healthcare sector.
The “L” polyclinic was established by young entrepreneurs. They all were graduated from medical school and also have knowledge and experience in the business fields. The members are young, energetic and passionate and always work together to produce good result. There are around 40 employees and 50 doctors serving for the patients. When providing healthcare, the team based care is a very essential thing. Not only the BODs but also the whole organization must have good team work. All the healthcare team members such as clinicians, nurses, staffs and technicians must know everyone’s role and responsibilities and interact with each other to move forward. See Appendix 2 (for organizational chart).
Strength of leadership team
As mentioned above, team work is very important in this sector and therefore the leader that leads the team must have good leadership skills. Although the team leaders (BODs) are quite young they can lead the team quite well. They have good organization skills and they can delegate the tasks fairly among the employees. The leaders and team members have built trust each other and now they can perform a good team work. Last but not least they give respect and value to each and every of their staffs. But there are some difficulties when they are dealing with the elder doctors and employees. Here, the communication and negotiation skills paly a very important role. It is important to analyse the issues, listen carefully to them and negotiate effectively to get win-win situation of both parties. Possess a good team work is one of the strength of the leadership team. When we are focusing on internationalization it is crucial to know the globalization changes and multiculturalism. The clinic has been working with international companies for medical check-up projects and know how to deal with foreigners quite well. Thus, it can be said that it is one of the advantages and strengths of the team. In my opinion, these leadership strengths can help the team overcome any changes and when they are together they can achieve more.
Myanmar, the frontier market has attracted many foreign investors in recent years. The country is opening itself up for business to the rest of the world. Meanwhile, the new government (NLD) has manifested that they would give lawful permission on openings of private hospitals and clinics in order to augment the public health. The country is growing and people with rising disposable income are now willingly to spend more money on their healthcare. The upper and middle class people are spending their medical check-up money in abroad like Thailand, Singapore, India and etc. The foreign investors saw this as a big opportunity because Myanmar healthcare system is still in a very primitive stage. The healthcare system is still in developing stage and we still need lots of technical skills help from foreign investors. We need to build more pharmaceutical factory, establish a medical equipment factory or provide advanced technology and techniques in a medical training centre.
Now, some of the big private international hospitals have already entered in the market like Parkway healthcare, Thailand’s Thonburi hospital group and Bumrungrad Hospital etc. The introduction of international level hospitals inside the country is good for wealthy Myanmar people who always travel abroad to receive care. Local large private hospitals are now thinking of making joint venture with foreign hospitals for internationalization. The impact here is some upper and middle income people won’t go to polyclinic like us just because of some minor illness but will choose to go to these hospitals. Anything that happens is both good and bad. The main thing to take into consideration is there are still a lot of low income people in our country which is more than half of the population. These people can’t afford to go to this kind of international hospital. That’s the advantage and opportunity for us.
Our clinic has been serving more than 20,000 patients within a year. There are also many cooperate companies (including international, local and government) that have been working together with us on medical check-ups and health education projects. Although, we are quite new in this industry but we are collecting many experiences and upgrading ourselves with new ideas to provide better health services to the publics. There are not many polyclinics that are providing good healthcare services with advanced technology in Yangon now. The market is not very saturated yet. Even though, we don’t have full equipment like some big hospitals but the services we provided can be compared with hospitals. We target middle and low income people and charge our services with affordable prices and we used the same advanced machines and equipment that are used in the big hospitals. The doctors and other healthcare staffs are well-trained. Another advantages is that as the team is led by the BODs themselves and thus the complaints and problems solving time is very quick compared to others. The young and active leaders and members always use new and innovative ideas to serve and meet the customers’ requirements and satisfaction.
The “L” healthcare
Middle and low income
(more than half of the population)
(low in population)
BODs & management team
Young, energetic, passionate
Complaints solving time
New and innovative
Taking advantages of technology changes
Although the country is now emphasizing in developing the healthcare sector there are some areas need to be upgraded like infrastructure, transportation and electricity grid etc. Myanmar is now in developing state thus we need support from foreign investors in infrastructure, transportation, and other technology things. We can provide better healthcare services by using more advanced technologies and equipment.
Now in our country, the smart phone adoption rate is very high and people can now easily connect the internet. The IT and telecom development is very quick in recent years. There has been overall growth of internet users in Myanmar. This growth has been fuelled by the availability of cost-effective smartphones. This is a big advantage for the company. We can use social media like Facebook for marketing. We are also now using this as a media for delivering the health education through health articles. In our country, mainly in rural areas and places outside the Yangon, there are very few hospitals to get the medical treatment. They don’t have enough machines and equipment for diagnosing the disease. Therefore they have to come to Yangon to get the treatment. And the problem is there are difficulties in transportation system mainly in rural areas. People have problems reaching the clinics or hospitals. Thus, we have a plan to make an application for them. In this application, people can get the medical services through the phone. They can consult with the doctors and get treatment. They can know our available services and book with the specialist consultants if they want to come and get treatment in person. They can also read health articles and gain healthcare knowledge from that. It will be easy and efficient for patients not only for rural but also for people living in the city. The management team need to make changes like this to best use of the changing technology requirements. They need to teach their staffs and customers and make them feel friendly with the application.
Mode of entry
There are various mode to enter the market such as franchising, establishing joint ventures, acquiring an established enterprise or setting up a new wholly owned subsidiary. Each methods has their own pros and cons. I would recommend the foreign investors to enter the market by joint venture. Although the law for FDI has been eased for the foreign investors there are still barriers and risks for them. Therefore, the venture partnership is essential for them with limited knowledge. To ease the start-up, it is wise to include the local partner. Forming Joint Venture can help the investors gain knowledge about country economic conditions, political, legal and business systems etc. As this is healthcare business they mainly have to rely on the Myanmar doctors, nurses and technicians. Here, it is important to choose the right geographical location for the targeted segments market. Joint Venture can help business to access and enter the new market easily.
The very first step is making a healthcare application and make it available to every parts of the country. Make the application friendly with the publics. We need technology, infrastructure and financial support from the foreign investors. Second, we can expand our business to other places in Yangon and in other areas outside the Yangon and throughout the Myanmar. Finally we can make new steps into hospital field. Another suggestion here is in our country there are only four local pharmaceutical production units. There are over 5000 types of western drugs imported from mainly India, Thai, Bangladesh or China. According to market research agencies, the total pharmaceutical expenditure in Myanmar has been growing at 11-12% per annum, and has increased from USD 390 million in 2014 to USD 440 million in 2015. It is a good chance for us to enter the pharmaceutical market and establish a production factory.
In medical field, the medical doctors, staff nurses, technicians and other hospital staffs put all their blood and sweats to the government hospitals. But the care providers is very low when compared to number of patients. See Appendix 3. One of the reason is they are not getting enough salary. The pay scale is very low. For the basic medical doctors which we called house surgeon or intern only get 100 dollars per month. “No motivation- no productivity.” Another reason is they are not getting the advanced learning skills and there are not enough training centre and teachers for them. Therefore most of the graduated doctors go abroad for their life and some do other jobs for their living. It in turn affects the private healthcare sector. We are not getting enough skilled doctors, nurses and technicians. Nowadays, there are many nurse aid training centres (teach roughly about pharmacy and basic nurse knowledge) out there but more like they attend for certificate and for the job. They didn’t really learn much from these training centres. For that reason the company will have to involve more in training the healthcare staffs and bringing in foreign management talent to supplement the workforce. People mainly low education people don’t have basic healthcare knowledge and hence the clinic have to take part in giving more health education to the publics.
The risk factor for polyclinic is government hospitals policy changes and It human resource problems. As I mentioned above there are few qualified staffs and private hospitals have to fight for those staffs. In that case, small clinic like us can’t afford to pay high salary for them. Now the new international hospitals are paying more salary than local private hospitals to attract the healthcare providers. It is a big threat for us. Another risk factor is the government is starting to provide almost all free of charge health services to public. They are now constructing new hospitals, extending and renovating existing hospitals and upgrading the equipment. Although it is good for poor people but the company have to aware of new government policy changes. They need to think a new plan for the changes. Think of a service to maintain the old customers or upgrade the service and add new service to attract the new customers. The risk for financial problem can overcome if we can have foreign investment in our clinic. The HR problems is still the problem that everyone is facing in our country. Thus, we need to join forces with foreign investors to help us add qualified work staffs.
The “L” medical clinic has ample opportunities to expand their business through joint venturing with foreign investors. We can be a healthcare leader in future with a decent internationalization strategy.