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9 Dec 2020


Private hospitals 2021: Revenue to recover amid challenges and heightened competition (Current Issue No.3167)


​Under the assumptions of no second wave of local COVID-19 outbreak, the government's gradual easing of travel restrictions to allow for more international travelers and no escalation of 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. Nonetheless, such recovery is not expected to reach its pre-COVID-19 levels in 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 relatively less affected.

Competition in the healthcare market will tend to intensify due to the rising number of service providers as opposed to the number of potential patients, which has not risen proportionately to the 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. Therefore, retaining existing customer base or finding new clients especially those who hold private health insurance policy may not be easy.

In the short run, private hospitals in each segment might have to make adjustments to sustain their growth through keeping medical costs affordable for patients and making preparations for medical tourists who will enter Thailand to receive healthcare services (those with a Special Tourist Visa (STV) and any other groups that may be considered by the government). 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 are likely to expand even more include nursing home and medical equipment.