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Payment channels like UPI, IMPS are very cost-efficient and real time

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Digitalisation of health services and businesses within the industry has attracted the banking sector to invest in healthcare. In a conversation with Raelene Kambli, Krishnakumar Dharmaraj, Managing Director & Head, Transaction Banking – Commercial Banking, South Asia, Standard Chartered Bank explains the the company’s plan for the healthcare sector in India

Tell us about Standard Chartered Bank’s interest in the healthcare sector. What services do you offer? What sets you apart from your competitors?

Standard Chartered Bank, being the largest foreign bank in India, has always been a pioneer in introducing market-leading solutions which addresses real challenges faced by corporates and its clients. Healthcare is one of the focus sector for Standard Chartered and over the recent years, the bank has worked very closely with various stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem to understand the challenges faced with an intent to devise unique banking solutions to address them. We see the ongoing digital revolution as an opportunity to further engage with various stakeholders of the healthcare ecosystem to identify innovative solutions to drive efficiencies. What sets Standard Chartered apart is the fact that we have attempted not to force-fit standard banking products created for conventional corporates onto the Healthcare ecosystem but work on unique and customised solutions which will add value to the sector.  We have conducted extensive market studies and research with many stakeholders in this ecosystem and we will continue to work closely with them  on an ongoing basis to be a value added partner for the sector.

How can Standard Chartered bank create value for healthcare businesses in India?

Standard Chartered Bank always has clients at the core of all its activities.  The healthcare business is no exception and our success with some of the most prestigious names in the healthcare segment is testament to this. Our solutions are aimed at improving operational efficiency through use of technology and are also focussed on cost reduction. We strive to ensure that we improve the experience for the stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem, starting from the patient to the hospital. We have implemented market leading solutions geared towards reducing wait time for billing for patients, quick and real time receivable collections and application of funds. These are a few of many solutions which have co-created along with the healthcare industry to solve some of the longstanding challenges.

What are the pain points in healthcare that your company is trying to fix?

A recurring theme from our interactions with members of the healthcare ecosystem and also something which came up in our market research was the challenge in the identification of receivables from different sources. Reconciliation is a unique theme which we have focussed on; resulting in quicker application of funds. The healthcare ecosystem was also keen to leverage the changing payment habits of consumers who are adopting more digital payment mechanisms. Payment channels like UPI, IMPS are very cost-efficient and real time thereby leading to a reduction in billing time and these are the solutions we have pioneered and driven vigorously for the healthcare sector to adopt. Cost efficiency in ways to receive and pay money is another area where Standard Chartered has devised solutions to specifically address this need.

How can hospitals enable faster realisation of cash, reduce the cost of collection, and ensure better application of funds?

This is a very challenging task as hospitals constantly face difficulty in reconciling their receipts and applying the funds. We aim to address this challenge by offering a solution to automatically identify the remitter which will aid to quicken the time taken in application of funds. Reconciliation of monies received from Insurance companies is an area that we have specifically worked on and our solutions are aimed to reduce the time taken in application of funds. In addition, our project-based approach to help hospitals adopt and transition to newer and cost effective modes of digital collections will ensure reducing the cost of collections and also aid in instant application of funds.

Who are your current healthcare clients?

Standard Chartered Bank works closely with some of the most prestigious names in the industry. We take pride in the breadth of our client base within the healthcare sector spanning large hospitals to the smaller health clinics and diagnostic centres. We also bank key insurance companies in the country and partner with other critical stakeholders such as TPAs, software service providers for the healthcare segment etc. to ensure a holistic approach in addressing the needs of the healthcare ecosystem. This is testament to the client centric approach of Standard Chartered Bank. As a policy, we do not reveal names of clients for confidentiality reasons.

What are some of the most common challenges facing your clients today? How are your helping them?

Two of the most pressing concerns for hospitals are  –  high wait time for billing/discharge and delayed realisation of receipts/application of funds. We have a complete suite of solutions designed to reduce the high wait time at the time of billing. Our solution on this front is a customised mix of UPI, Cards and IMPS based collections channels. These are real-time and help in reducing billing time significantly, while at the same time are cost efficient. For the challenge of delayed realisation/application of funds, we offer clients a solution which enables identification of remitter/sender and also provides enriched information around each payment received thereby further simplifying the application of funds. We are also working with clients to automate the entire banking process, including the payments process.

What opportunities you see for Standard Chartered in the healthcare sector?

The Indian healthcare industry is rapidly growing and touching new heights every year. The expectations of the stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem is growing by the day. Healthcare sector being a focus sector, Standard Chartered is looking forward to becoming a holistic partner for this sector and aims to work with various stakeholders of this sector to create long-term value.

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