Making Healthcare Affordable and Accessible
January 2015

Making Healthcare Affordable and Accessible

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I believe patients in India are not price sensitive but are value sensitive, says Rajiv Sharma, group CEO, Sterling Addlife India Limited, Gujarat

sterlingPlease comment on healthcare market in India vis-a-vis the global market

In modern India, a little less than 20 percent of the world’s population lives on a little over two percent of land surface and collectively enjoy an income of a little above five percent of global GDP. The country is witnessing strong demographic and social changes and population above 65 years has gone beyond 60MM. There has been sharp rise in prevalence and deaths due to NCD (i.e. cardiovascular, diabetes and cancer) leading to a huge gap in access to tertiary healthcare services. Despite best of efforts in last couple of decades, health outcomes in India and quality of underlying health system significantly lagged those of peer nations. Healthcare spend per capita in India is close to USD 60 as against close to USD 6000 in USA and Australia. The situation is further complicated by inequity in healthcare access across states and demographic segments within the population. Changing demographics, psychographics and epidemiology will present the private sector with huge challenges and opportunities.

What are your views on the price sensitivity of the Indian market, and how does your hospital counter this problem?

I believe patients in India are not price sensitive but are value sensitive. Thanks to Internet, level of awareness amongst patients is extremely high and they expect the healthcare providers to deliver the committed value against treatment cost.

Please tell us about your current operations in India and your expansion plans.

We are a regional healthcare chain and till date have remained focussed in Gujarat. At present we have five operational hospitals and three hospitals in various stages of completion. We have also recently expanded our offering of services to include IVF, diagnostics, and home healthcare.

What are your views on government regulation or any other challenges faced while operating in the Indian market?

The government has articulated its long term vision to achieve Universal Health Coverage. To achieve this vision, the government will need to lead the journey and acts as enabler for private sector to invest for long term.

Please comment on emerging trends and new technologies.

Penetration of IT as enabler of healthcare delivery will go up significantly in time to come. Healthcare delivery will see lot of innovation in healthcare more accessible in terms of reducing costs and increasing value; improving patients’ experiences and outcomes and; hasten the translation of research into the therapies and cure.

What are your hospital’s offerings?

We are a chain of super specialty hospitals and offer all high end specialties including renal and liver transplants. We also offer diagnostics, IVF, and home healthcare services.

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