Dr. Ravi Gupta
March 2011 began with a happy note with Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee’s decision to allocate Rs26,760 crore, for the healthcare sector, in the union budget 2011-12. This marked a 20 percent rise in the budgetary allocation for health over last year, which implies greater attention being given to the health sector by the government. Further, the budget demanded the extension of the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana to include MGNREGA beneficiaries and beedi workers. However, the move to bring health check-ups and 25-plus bedded AC hospitals under the service tax net has hurt the health industry, as such. eHEALTH covers a special report on the union budget 2011-12’s allocations for healthcare in this issue that provides an in-depth analysis of the pros and cons of the budget.
New age diagnostics is defined by high-end laboratory and diagnostic testing. The Indian diagnostics market is at the brink of a revolution now, which is being driven by the organised sector. The sector has worked hard to conquer its share of the market. Lack of awareness and demand for high-end diagnostics and price-sensitivity have been the major bottlenecks for the growth of the organised sector. The industry predicts a growth rate of 50 percent for this sector over the next ten years, which implies a larger market presence for these laboratories. In this issue, we bring you a cover story on diagnostic laboratories in India with key focus on the organised sector. The story reveals that the emergence of the organised sector is probably the most persistent trend in the diagnostic industry today.
Talking about the emerging trends in the overall healthcare sector, implementation of IT in health is one of most crucial transformations. RIS and PACS have become a mandate for the radiology departments of today. Further to its importance in the radiology department, emergence of high-end modalities in cardiology and oncology requires archiving and post-processing of images, where implementation of PACS is becoming critical. As more hospitals aim towards a paperless environment, the demand for PACS solutions will rise, which in turn will push the demand for RIS. The Indian PACS market is currently estimated at US $5.5-6 Million and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 27 percent from 2007– 2011. Read more in this issue’s tech trends.