How to Start a Pathology Lab in India?

calendar07 Dec, 2022
timeReading Time: 4 Minutes
How to Start a Pathology Lab in India?

Pathology is the branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis and study into the root cause and effect of diseases facilitated through laboratory testing of samples of bodily fluids and body tissues. Pathology labs help in providing accurate patient diagnosis by providing evidence and insights into any disease or imbalance existing in the human body.

A pathology lab provides its services by collecting and storing body samples in a safe and clean environment to avoid contamination of samples, conducting requisite tests, furnishing tests reports, and even delivering them if needed. Building a pathology lab in India is a profitable business option as the healthcare sector in India is steadily burgeoning. Pathology labs are in demand not only as a medium to allow doctors to accurately diagnose a disease but are also used by people to evaluate their bodies and take preventive measures to avoid the inception and escalation of diseases. Since people are increasingly becoming aware of the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle and tackling diseases or imbalances in the body by going for regular body tests and checkups, starting a pathology lab in India can prove to be an extremely lucrative venture.

Who can start a Pathology Lab in India?

  1. A person with an MD in Pathology[1] with requisite licenses and certification from the Indian Medical Council or any equivalent degree recognized by the Medical Council of India.
  2. The owner needs a license to practice medicine from the Medical Council of India.
  3. If one wants to operate a pathology lab as a business, one can do it as an investor or manager in the business.

Necessary Licenses and Registrations Required to Run a Pathology Lab in India

To start and run a pathology lab, one is required to obtain various licenses and registrations from certain authorities. A few of the major licenses and registrations required are:

  • Registration under the Shops and Establishment Act, 1948
  • License from the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories or NABL
  • Registration as per the Clinical Establishment Act
  • Accreditation from renowned medical practitioners
  • Registration with biological waste disposal body
  • Pollution Control Board’s approval
  • No Objection Certificate from the municipal corporation
  • No Objection Certificate from the fire department
  • Good clinical practices accreditation.

Necessary Steps Involved in Starting a Pathology Lab in India

Starting and running a pathology lab is an elaborate process and requires immense planning and adhering to various legal and regulatory compliances. The basic steps involved in establishing a successful pathology lab in India are:

  • Planning

Before starting a pathology lab, it is imperative to conduct proper research and have a comprehensive blueprint delineating every aspect of establishing and running the lab. The person intending to start a pathology lab must decide on, inter alia, the scope of the services the lab shall provide, the investment required, the cation of the lab, the staff required to provide services, and legal and regulatory compliances.

  • Managing Finances

Starting a pathology lab in India can be an expensive affair. There are various expenses involved in choosing a location, either renting or buying the property, developing the infrastructure, purchasing and maintaining the cost of medical equipment, payment of salaries to staff and other employees, and utility bills. The cost of setting up a pathology lab shall depend on the kind of services aiming to be provided and how technologically advanced the lab shall be. Since this would require investing a hefty sum of money in the lab, one can always opt for obtaining business loans for doctors.

  • Deciding on a Location

Deciding on a location to set up the pathology lab is extremely important as the same should be in an easily accessible location and the surroundings should be clean to prevent any contamination of the samples. The building itself should be well-ventilated and built in a manner that is accessible to senior citizens, disabled people, and pregnant women. There should be enough seating space for the patients, lift services, clean washrooms, a storeroom for medical equipment, and proper infrastructure to conduct tests, experiments, and store samples.

  • Purchasing Medical Equipment

Medical equipment forms the backbone of a pathology lab and hence the owner should make sure that the equipment is bought from certified sellers. The medical equipment, depending on the scope of services provided, body sample collection equipment, peripherals like, inter alia, microscopes, deep fridge, centrifuge, dispensing scales, computers, and certain software tools should be technologically advanced and should be easy to operate. Obtaining the highest quality and technologically advanced equipment would ensure high-quality diagnostics services.

  • Registration of the Entity

It is important to get one’s registered as a legal entity depending on the business model of the pathology lab and follow requisite legal and regulatory compliance to be either incorporated as a company or registered as a partnership firm or an LLP or a proprietorship.

  • Employing medical professionals

Depending on the scope of services provided by the pathology lab, the owner needs to employ qualified pathologists, biochemists, microbiologists, lab technicians with qualifications in medical lab technology, in , assistants, nurses, other professionals like management executives, HR, receptionists and other administrative staff, accountants cleaners to carry out the services of the lab efficiently and should be provided with proper training to ensure quality diagnosis, reporting and avoid human errors.

  • Marketing

To run any business successfully, visibility in the market is extremely imperative. In a competitive sector, one needs to make one business stand out from others so that the customers prefer it over others. Marketing the services provided by one’s pathology lab is important to thrive in the business. Providing promotional health packages with discounts or annual family packages or offering discounts on certain special days. Promoting the brand through digital marketing via social media, search engines or using other traditional marketing strategies can prove beneficial.


India is fast becoming one of the major centres for affordable healthcare, and people are increasingly becoming aware of the importance of living healthy lives and ensuring that their bodies remain healthy. This has seen a rise in individuals going for regular body checkups at pathology labs, and this is in addition to the services such pathology labs provide an accurate diagnosis of diseases and ailments. Pathology labs collect and store body samples in a safe and clean environment to prevent contamination of samples, conduct requisite tests, furnish test reports, and even deliver them. Establishing and running a pathology lab in India can be extremely profitable if one plans out all the important aspects like, inter alia, the scope of services provided, finances, location, and mode of operation in advance and is abreast with information as to qualifications required to start a pathology lab. Qualification of the staff, legal and regulatory compliances and processes involved.

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