April 2010

Hail Obama!

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The US Healthcare reform bill secured by Obama administration has given all reasons for exhilaration  to the American population in particular and the healthcare community in general, across the globe. This is such a wonderful news for the healthcare scenario that it could not be bereft of attention and hence we have decided to capture the various features of the bill in the cover story of this issue.

The remarkable victory of Barack Obama is definitely going to bring a renaissance of healthcare reforms in American society and specially for that section of the society that was surviving without any health coverage. The overhaul will extend health coverage to 32 million Americans, expand the government health plan for the poor, impose new taxes on the wealthy and bar insurance practices such as refusing to cover people with pre-existing medical conditions. This is a major step for a lot of middle class Americans who face bankruptcy because of unpaid health bills.

Health insurance is not a developed sector in India and has till now taken a backseat among all health related reforms. But one thing sure from the American example is that there is need of government and the state machinery to intervene in health industry to ensure good quality healthcare to the citizens at an affordable price whether it is through insurance or simply primary health needs. But no one can deny that even in the best of worlds, drastic reforms in healthcare is the need of the time.

In India, the approach towards healthcare is multipronged. On one hand where the government is trying to strengthen primary healthcare needs of the rural masses as reflected in the current budget through policies such as National Rural Health Mission, Janani Suraksha Yojana, Rashtriya Swastya Bima Yojana, etc.;  it is also focussing on tertiary care which encompasses healthcare IT, medical equipments and technology, patient care, hospital modernisation and insurance. Significant efforts are being made in all these directions and the outcomes are awaited. We did an exclusive interview of Sam Pitroda, Chairman, National Knowledge Commission and Principal Advisor to the Prime Minister to know the policy initiatives of the government  for  integrating IT in public healthcare and towards developing a strong health IT infrastructure for rural India and shares insights about future initiatives in this sector.

Medical technology is also gaining ground and Ministry of Science and Technology is actively engaging in bringing about a revolution in medical implants and devices in India’s healthcare. Dr. T. Ramasami, Secretary, Government of India shares his perspective on the medical technology innovation and the initiatives taken by his Ministry for development of the medical equipment and device industry in India.

This issue also covers in length about the  latest cutting-edge patient monitoring technologies and claims management in insurance which is now gaining momentum in India and has a huge potential for growth with almost 85 percent people uninsured.

Happy reading!

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