Healthcare Sector Evolution: Innovations & Initiatives
Vivek Tiwari, CEO & Director
Healthcare is going to rapidly evolve in India with overall healthcare sector is expected to touch the revenue of US $ 280 Billion by 2020.The sector is poised to become the largest employment oriented sector in the economy with workforce in this sector expected to be at 7.4 Million by 2022. It is a high time that government should realize this neglected sector as a greater economic development activity at national level. The healthcare is traditionally seen as social sector with lesser government focus with low percentage of GDP spend on healthcare.
In the last decade or so, the consumer spend has shifted from curative to preventive healthcare with greater awareness on health & fitness and with more diagnostic labs and preventive check up clinics coming up in the country. With rising incidence of chronic and non communicable diseases burden in India, the healthcare spend is likely to go very high in the near future as well. Our country still is majorly not represented by health coverage especially in tier 2 and tier 3 cities and even with the efforts taken by the government lately; the poorly penetrated health coverage is going to be a greater challenge for healthcare affordability.
As per industry experts, the answer to decreasing the burgeoning healthcare cost burden lies in bringing systematic efficiency in the healthcare sector with focus on cost management, efficiency and operational excellence. The basic challenge equation is Time and Cost management leading to efficiency in output. There are traditionally three cost challenges healthcare institutions must start looking at; cost reduction, cost elimination and cost avoidance.
The key factors for healthcare sector growth and sustainable efficiency will be adoption of technology and setting up a seamless patient data management record. The advent of mobile technology and e-commerce growth in India, the healthcare sector is also witnessing growing interest of entrepreneurs willing to take up the challenge in building up innovative and cost effective digital platforms for patient data record management, telemedicine, medical appointment tool, diagnostic or medical test enrolment and hospital supplies / procurement platforms. The basic challenge still lies with adapting of these technological platforms in tier II& III cities& rural areas with biggest challenge of costing.Also with rising focus on technology adoption in healthcare; the demographic shift will fuel the growth of this sector.
The way technology had changed the consumer landscape of banking and telecommunications industry, it is yet to create such disruption in healthcare sector. India still needs to witness the likes of telecommunication and BFSI revolution in healthcare. Today more than half of the population do not have access to primary healthcare in the country and with technology, this can be provided at half of the cost of traditional solution.
The core idea is to have healthcare access should be without an excessive burden on the masses. The main aim is to create an access with an adequate level of affordability with special attention to the vulnerable groups such as children, women, disabled and the aged. Some of the provisions made during Union budget 2016-17 by the government of India for promotion of Indian healthcare industry have been well accepted. National dialysis service program to be initiated in all the district hospitals to accommodate the increasing demand of dialysis sessions has been well accepted in the dialysis fraternity. Under the national health assurance mission, government will provide citizens with free drugs and diagnostic treatments as well as insurance cover to treat serious ailments. The E-health initiative, which is a part of Digital India drive launched by Indian Governmant, aims at providing effective and economical healthcare services to all. The E-health initiative program aims to make use of technology and portals to facilitate people maintain health records and book online appointments with various departments of different hospitals using eKYC data of Aadhaar number.
In the nutshell, technology has anexceptional role in increasing healthcare access and decreasing cost burden on healthcare. The Government has to take more initiatives to boost this sector with inclusion of both private and public sector.