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6 Jan 2021

Econ Digest

Private hospitals in 2021 have to adjust and prepare for competition and challenge

      In the first 9 months of 2020, the revenue of listed private hospitals declined 14.2 percent (YoY) and the profit declined 54.8 percent (YoY). Under the assumptions of no second wave of local COVID-19 outbreak, of the government's gradual easing of travel restrictions to allow for more international travelers, and of no escalation of the domestic political situation, KResearch projects that the revenue and profit of listed private hospitals will make a recovery in 2021, partially due to a low base from the previous year – with estimated revenue growing at 1-4 percent and net profit growing in the range of 15-20 percent, compared to last year, and that the number of foreign patients receiving medical treatment will increase to roughly 1.57-1.77 million cases, increasing by approximately 1.45 million cases from 2020. Nonetheless, such recovery is not expected to reach the pre-COVID-19 levels of 2019, as the pandemic continues to put pressure on the revenue and profit of private hospitals, especially those that are highly dependent on revenue from international patients. Meanwhile, private hospitals that are reliant on revenue from Thai patients with social security and civil servant coverage will likely be comparatively less affected.

     Competition in the private hospital industry will tend to intensify due to the rising number of service providers in relation to the number of potential patients, which has not risen proportionately to increasing of available outlets. This is particularly true for medical tourists, whose numbers have yet to return to normal. As a result, private hospitals are compelled to adjust their business strategies to attract a bigger share of the domestic healthcare market, which has also buckled under the pressure of dwindling purchasing power. In the short run, private hospitals in each segment might have to make adjustments to sustain their growth by keeping medical costs affordable for patients and making preparations for medical tourists who will enter Thailand to receive healthcare. In the medium to long run, new technology should be utilized to manage costs, provide greater convenience and create new revenue streams to diversify business risks.  'Non-hospital' businesses which show promise and which are likely to expand even more include nursing homes and medical equipment.

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Econ Digest