May 2008

Medical Technology Conference : Interactive Partnership – Accelerating Sustainable Healthcare,

Medical Technology Conference
Interactive Partnership – Accelerating Sustainable Healthcare
15th April 2008, New Delhi

Indian healthcare is poised to become the largest service sector in the country, at INR 140,000 crore in five years. Medical equipment logically forms the backbone of the healthcare sector. Thus, the tremendous growth opportunity in the healthcare sector automatically translates into a similar and even greater opportunity for the medical equipment sector, which is now valued at over US$ 900 million.

The Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) recently organised a day – long conference in New Delhi on Medical Technology based on the theme of ‘Interactive Partnership for Accelerating Sustainable Healthcare’.

L to R: Mr. Rohit Mehta, Vice Chairman, CII Medical Equipment Division & General Manager, Larsen & Toubro; Mr. Alok Mishra, Chairman, CII; Medical Equipment Division & Area Manager InternationalSouth Asia, Johnson & Johnson Medical Asia Pacific; Dr. Naresh Trehan, President, Indian Healthcare Federation and Immediate Past Chaiman, CII National Committee on Healthcare; Debasis Panda, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare; Mr. Anjan Bose, Senior Director & Business Head, Philips Electronics India

In his welcome note, Mr. Alok Mishra, Chairman, CII Medical Equipment Division & Area Manager International South Asia, Johnson & Johnson Medical Asia Pacific, set the tone for the conference by  stressing on the urgent need to understand and regulate the complex medical technology industry and said the conference was “aimed at bringing together all the stakeholders to discuss issues of technology, manufacturing, financing and above all, ethics.” The conference Chairman, Mr. Anjan Bose, Senior Director & Business Head, Philips Electronics India, in his opening address said that the medical services and devices industry must “tap this emerging market and explore the potential of India as a future production hub while focusing on improving the quality of healthcare, R&D and ethical issues.”

The inaugural session saw a dynamic set of representatives from the government, the medical practitioners and the medical devices manufacturers, share their views about the growing enthusiasm in this sector. Debasis Panda, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said that the Government is in the process of creating a new and better regulatory structure for the medical devices industry as part of its effort towards achieving quality healthcare for all. He added that, “the Health and Family Welfare Ministry is working towards a switch from a control regime to a regulatory regime to cope with the new technologies and treatments that are now available.”

India’s healthcare sector is in a dynamic phase of growth but the technology being provided must work towards providing affordable healthcare to all, stressed Dr. Naresh Trehan, President, Indian Healthcare Federation and Immediate Past Chairman, CII National Committee on Healthcare. He added that it is imperative to accelerate growth through collaboration with the key stakeholders. “CII’s National Healthcare Committee has made huge strides by bringing the industry and the government together on several issues relating to providing sustainable healthcare to the masses and this interactive conference will work towards taking this process forward,” said Dr. Trehan.

Mr. Rohit Mehta, Vice Chairman, CII Medical Equipment Division & General Manager, Larsen & Toubro stressed on the fact that healthcare is among the largest sectors and the largest employers in the country and the medical devices industry looks forward to the regulatory structure that is coming up.

The conference saw a lively exchange of ideas between the eminent panelists and the floor after each session. Where issues otherwise swept under the carpet were raised by the present members of the industry, such as, competing companies driving up foul-play by giving soft bribes to those in the healthcare services, the need for private sector to engage more in the training and education of the nurses and paramedics, further incentivisation and reduction of state duty on medical equipment, and reduction of prices etc.

The focus of the first session of the day was the need to accelerate growth through partnering and aligning with the key stakeholders – healthcare service providers, medical technology industry, and insurance providers. The discussion led us over many issues from the need for more research and development and innovation to the necessity to grade the available technology so that recent technology does not become out-dated simply because of newer technology. Dr. Narottam Puri, President- Medical Education, Fortis Healthcare, drew attention to the fact that the Indian healthcare industry currently faces a serious talent-cum-technology crunch since, hospitals are having to re-train nurses and paramedics who have not had any exposure to high-end medical technology devices used in the private hospitals. Dr. Kushagra Kataria, CEO, Artemis Medicare Services spoke of how in 1965 US spent 5% of its GDP but today it spends 16% and a major chunk of it- about 65% on medical technology, thus proving “good health care comes at a cost and that India must prepare itself to spend similarly.”

There is need for greater collaboration between industry and academic researchers, he added. Mr. C. Chandrasekhar, CMO, Apollo DKV Insurance, said that the current scenario in India was not the most conducive for pure health insurers, since there are regulatory and standardisation issues related to healthcare practices and available medical technology in India. And in the ensuing discussions suggestions for incentive-based preventive care came up, such as having an out-patient insurance scheme or tax sops in the shape of vouchers claimable at select hospitals for family preventive health check-ups.

The rapid GDP growth of over 9% per annum that India has recorded for three years, has created a new, affluent middle class, estimated at 250 million, that is demanding access to better healthcare, thus pushing up the demand as well. Increasing uptake of health insurance policies raises the standards to be met by the Indian manufacturers, who now need to meet international quality standards, and it also makes it difficult for the international sellers to dump the low quality and out-dated equipment in their stock in India. In the session Managed Healthcare- from Prevention to Cure, the panel discussed how prevention ought to be integrated into healthcare. Focusing on the paradigmatic shift towards innovative care models like ‘illness to wellness,’ and the way forward to reverse the thrust from curative to preventive aspect of healthcare. Ms. Rekha Khanna, Managing Director, bioMerieux India, presented an overview of the crucial role laboratory diagnostics and screening play in overall healthcare practice especially in the preventive care model. She claimed definitive diagnostics lead to cost reduction in the longer run. In a similar vein, Mr. Srivathsan Aparajithan, Head Healthcare Business Solutions, IBM India, giving an impressive presentation on the need for data and systems integration thorough analytics, stressed on the need for a fully connected, patient-centred, collaborative future environment, with greater adoption of electronic medical records reducing the need for doctor visits and possibility of constant monitoring based on the electronic records.

The valedictory panel discussed the opportunities, realisations & solutions faced by the Medical Technology Industry in India. The chair Mr. Alok Mishra, Chairman, CII Medical Equipment Division & Area manager International – South Asia, Johnson & Johnson Medical, Asia Pacific, drew attention to some serious statistics such as how, in India average hospitalisation costs 58% of the individuals annual income. “Nearly 25% of patients get pushed below poverty line due to medical costs; yet Indian costs are the lowest in the world,” he added. Panellist Dr. Anupam Sibal, Group Medical Director, Apollo Hospitals Group said, ” 70 – 80% of public health is covered under the private sector, and they are also most likely to opt in for newer technology.” Dr. Gautam Sehgal, CEO ADS Medical Systems, suggested some clear initiatives required of the public and the private sector. He insisted that the current high duty in imports at 21.35% be capped at 5% across the board; that the private sector engage more in education and training of the human resources; and that both sectors should encourage research and innovation. Mr. Ajay Pitre, Managing Director, Sushrut Surgicals Pvt. Ltd., too was of the view that Indian manufacturers need to be recognised and their future research and manufacturing be provided with incentives. He added that India needs to open up like China to invite foreign manufacturers to manufacture in India, thus reducing costs.

Overall, the conference was a  much needed platform for the medical equipment manufacturers and other service providers  engaged in this industry. The key suggestions shared by most participants were mainly need for more R&D, innovation, greater public private partnership and cooperation, especially in training, education, and most importantly pricing and regulation. 

1st India Health Conclave ’08
2-4 April 2008, Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Mumbai

Healthcare in India is increasingly getting refined and redefined. With a vibrant economy, an unupwardly mobile middle class, higher service demands and a positive investor perception, healthcare is one of the most promising growth sectors of the recent times. Like many emerging sectors, Indian healthcare is getting ready for a long haul dream run for achieving excellence and capitalising global opportunities in the calling.

To cater the need for stakeholders to come together and forge partnerships through knowledge exchange and networking, Technopak Advisors (one of the leading healthcare consultants of the country) organised the 3 day long 1st India Health Conclave ’08 in Mumbai. Beginning with a pre-conference workshop day, followed by two days of conferencing, the event conjured healthcare entrepreneurs, investors, insurers, practitioners, technocrats and analysts under a series of power packed sessions and panel discussions.

The industry workshops were designed around some of the most pertinent business issues facing the healthcare sector at present. With eminent professionals brought together from a cross section of business domains, the workshops focused on issues ranging from financing, capacity building, clinical protocols, best prctices, brand building, business models, facility design and IT planning. With innovative use of interactive sessions, simulation models and case solving techniques the workshops served as a crash course for people to hone criticial business skills and benefit from expert opinions.

The second day of the event marked the beginning of the conference, starting off with a welcome address by Arvind Singhal, Chairman, Technopak. Emphasising the opportunities that lie ahead of the Indian healthcare sector, Mr. Singhal stressed upon the investement  worthiness of the industry and expressed his confidence in witnessing Indian healthcare  reach global standards.
Delivering the keynote address, Dr. Prathap Reddy, Chairman, Apollo Hospitals Group highlighted the challenges facing the Indian healthcare sector at present. While appreciating the quality of doctors and healthcare professioanls in India, he urged for better organisation of the sector and adoption of higher service standards. In this regard, he underlined the value of forums like the ‘India Health Conclave’ to bring together domestic and international players and seek successful collaboration and business opportunities.

Bringing an international perspective into the deliberation, Steven J Thomson, Vice Chairman, Johns Hopkins Health Systems, USA, spoke about standards of excellence and best practices in healthcare. Drawing from his experience of working in the US health system, he highlighted the need for setting quality benchmarks and service standards, in order to take Indian health system to a global level. While service excellence is surely an essential criteria for success, capital investments are pre-requisites for building any world class infrastructure. In this regard, Dr Jack Shevel, President, Global Healthcare Investments & Solutions, USA, delivered a low down on foreign investor perception for Indian healthcare sector and spoke highly about the opportunities lying ahead. While corporate healthcare in India is getting all the attention, there is surely a widening supply-demand gap for investments in the public and social healthcare sectors. Sharing the ADB funding model, Ms Sujata Gupta, Senior Economist, Asian Development Bank, Phillipines, highlighted the need for uating social dividends of healthcare investments. Corporatisation of healthcare sector leads to higher demand for managing and maintaining multi-locational network of hospitals. Challenges  in the form of operational management, quality compliance, skill sharing, capacity building and business performance often become major deterrents for a large network. Michael Neeb, President, Hospital Corporation of America International, USA, delivered an insightful presentation on how HCA manages and maintains a robust network of nearly 1300 hospitals and 3000 ambulatory surgery centres. Keeping in mind the dearth of medical colleges in India and the growing demand for trained medical personnel, major players in the healthcare industry are already feeling the need to open up academic medical centres. “At least, this is what Fortis Healthcare is planning take up on a serious note,” said S. M. Singh, Managing Director, Fortis Healthcare in his presentation focusing on this topic. While VCs and PE firms are already making a beeline for Indian healthcare players, attracting right invetment requires due dillegence on part of service providers with the development of clear business plans. In his eloquent presentation, A K Purwar, Managing Director, India Venture Advisors Pvt. Ltd., brougth to light some of the critical uation criteria for investors. In a video conferencing session with Dr Devi Shetty, Founder, Narayana Hrudyalaya, micro health insurance scheme for poor and marginalised sections, and its efficacy in the face of a crippling rural health system was discussed at a length. The model followed at Narayana Hrudyalaya with five rupee per month group insurance scheme and Yesheswini health cards for rural farmers seem to be doing wonders for people deprived of quality healthcare. Dr. Shetty is confident of expanding the coverage of the scheme and bringing more number of rural population under the ambit of the service. Talking of medical tourism, Thailand is undoubtedly the prefered destination in Asia, with Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok enjoying a majority stake. What can be better than to learn the best practices of healthcare delivery from the people who made it happen? Curtis Schroeder, CEO, Bumrungrad International shared his ideas on global standards in care delivery and the often overlooked linkage between hospitality and healthcare industry. Speaking generously about the opportunities for India to become a global healthcare hub and the growing competetion in this region, he said, in a lighter vein “I am almost feeling , as if, CocaCola CEO is being invited in a convention of Pepsi.”

The concluding presentation of the day delivered by Arvind Singhal, Chairman, Technopak, gave a statistical overview of opportunities for healthcare sector in India. While the growth numbers were exciting enough, those indicating supply-demand gap in terms of facilities, infrastructure, human resource and capital investments in the sector seemed to have taken the audience by surprise reason enough to indicate what is left to be done.

The third day of the conclave was yet another power packed day. Starting off with an impressive presentation on consumer-centricity in healthcare business, by Dr. Rana Mehta from Technopak, the morning progessed with back-to-back presentations by some of the most prominent personalities of the industry. While Suneeta Reddy shared the growth story of Apollo Hospitals since its inception in 1983 till formation of the modern day international healthcare brand; Vishal Bali from Wockhardt Hospitals charted out a strategic path for extending managed healthcare for non-metro cities and towns across india.

Commenting on the issue of reversing brain-drian from India, Dr. Kushgra Katariya, CEO, Artemis Health Institute emphasized the need for providing better infrastructure, facility and pay package for doctors. Citing his own example, Dr. Katariya expressed his belief that reverse brain-drain will catch up very fast in the coming days. Facility design is increasingly finding prominence in India and is fast becoming an important differentiator in the healthcare market. David Watkins from WHR Architects, USA, came up with a lively presentation on essential elements of designing hospitals and how it translates into better patient experience while rendering a hallmark of quality. Bringing perceptions of middle east venture capitalists and investors, Dr. Anwar Ali Al Mudaf, Chairman & CEO, Al Razzi Holdings Kuwait, expressed the willingness of GCC firms to invest in India. Citing strategic advantages of India in terms of healthcare industry opportunities, coupled with the rising economy, Dr. Mudaf ended his presentation on a high note.

Adding special value to the event, were two high-level panel discussions designed around healthcare investments and policy reforms. While the investment panel looked into the overall worthiness and investment landscape (with participants from Actis, Apax Partnerns, Rothschild India and Yes Bank) the panel on policy reforms (comprised of representatives from Maharashtra state health department, Phillips Medical, Johnson & Johnson, Max Healthcare & IRDA) deliberated on regulations, pricing, malpractice mitigation and access challenges in public and private healthcare delivery.

The event concluded on a high note, with valuable learnings for participants and delegates. In addition to the highly engaging industry workshops, insightful presentations and interesting panel discussions, it served as an ideal ground for business networking, collaboration and knowledge exchange.

Launch of www.myhealthrecords.in
27th March, 2008, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi www.myhealthrecords.in, a personalised wellness and health management system targeted mainly at the Indian market, was recently inaugurated at the India Habitat Centre on the 27th of March, 2008, by Member of Parliament, Mr. Kirti Vardhan Singh. Mr. Singh is a member of the standing committee on Science & Technology, Environment & Forests and the Consultative Committee on Information & Technology.

The web portal is a brainchild of Mr. Manish Bhatnagar and Mr. Anil Joshi. It is easy to access, manage and share. One can share their own or their family’s health records with their doctors for consultation and even other doctors for a second opinion. The service would prove useful in remote diagnosis and telemedicine. Besides this, keeping in mind the growing instances of the modern day life style diseases, the website helps in keeping track of a person’s sugar, lipid, liver profiles, BMI and other vitals like BP and pulse rate.

An interesting tracker is the vaccination scheduler, which automatically calculates the expected date of the next vaccine as soon as the date of birth is keyed in. This is a safeguard against loss of immunisation cards or misplaced records.

The web portal is one of the latest entrants into electronic personal record maintenance services which are set to greatly impact the health sector. There have been several entrants into the healthcare sector of late – be it medical insurance companies, state of the art hospitals, medical tourism industry etc. The event was well attended by bureaucrats, doctors, radiologists and health service providers.
This service is especially useful for frequent travelers, both inbound and especially outbound since no health records would need to be carried in person. They can be stored in a digital format on a web portal, protected by a classified password, chosen by the user. The portal not only assures an online digital repository of medical history all in one place, but also allows the user to instantly share these with their own chosen doctor through a secure dedicated online communication channel. Payment for the doctor’s consultation can be done through credit card. This communication channel will soon be equipped with a voice tagging facility. Electronic health records and consultation services  could potentially revolutionise healthcare in rural India where access to qualified doctors and especially specialists, is difficult.

The USP of www.myhealthrecords.in is the access to the latest digitization techniques, which facilitates conversion, compression, collation and meta data creation for paper and DICOM data as per international digital archiving standards.

Dr. (Col.) C.S. Pant, former President of the Indian Radiological and Imaging Association and Dr. Bharat Aggarwal of Diwan Chand Imaging Centre, while complimenting the organisers said, “It is now possible to have a multiple diagnosis done by various doctors anywhere in the world just by viewing patients’ digitised medical data just a click away.”

Mr. Manish Bhatnagar, CEO and co-founder of the web portal said that the portal will be upgraded every 45 days with features like SMS/e-mail reminders, customized alerts, voice tags to give it a personal touch. Another upgradation plan includes offering the service in regional Indian languages.

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