Interview

“If prevention becomes a culture in India, the impact will be phenomenal” : Amol Naikwadi, Indus Health Plus

The Indian healthcare industry is gradually moving towards preventive rather than curative healthcare. Amol Naikwadi, Joint Managing Director of Indus Health Plus, an organisation that specialises in preventive health check-ups, spoke to Divya Chawla, about the preventive healthcare industry trends, technologies, and more


How has the Indian healthcare industry evolved to adapt preventive health check-ups?

In India, as 4 fellow Indians are succumbing to heart diseases every minute and 30-40% of people who suffer a first stroke, die even before medical help can reach them, the need for preventive healthcare is indeed becoming crucial. Research indicates that the incidence of breast cancer in women is at an alarming rate of 16% and every year cancer claims approximately 8 lakh Indian lives. In such an alarming scenario, preventive healthcare becomes extremely important and definitely the need of the hour.

Preventive healthcare means detection of diseases at an early stage in an individual through various check-ups which ascertain whether the various organs in the body are functioning properly. This helps the individual to know well in advance if he/she is suffering from any disease. This helps them to take preventive treatment, where in if the disease is at the nascent stage, it will get cured promptly. Preventive healthcare detects asymptomatic diseases. In case of curative healthcare, the individual comes to know only when the disease has reached a stage where the symptoms may show and corrective remedial treatment is undertaken. It may become difficult to cure certain diseases at this stage.

In a developing economy like India (which has a huge middle class population), with Indians more prone to lifestyle diseases; with less than 0.1% of population doing preventive checkups, the scope for preventive healthcare is beyond imagination. Preventive health checkups are something that is needed every year.

However, as such Indians have a very fatalistic approach towards healthcare. ‘Prevention is better than cure’, is something that we all have all heard since our school days but seldom do we actually implement this principle. We forget to put it to practice and take chances with something that’s most precious, our health. The same person, who would spend money and time to get his vehicle quarterly serviced, will think it is a waste to go for his annual BP checkup! A recent CII report indicates that 8% of households are pushed below the poverty line each year due to health expenditure. Technopak reports indicate that 40% of the low and middle income population borrow money or sell assets to pay for hospitalisation. Most of these unexpected expenses are medical expenses, which leave many a person bankrupt. Hence, it is time for one and all to wakeup to the concept of preventive healthcare.

“In a developing economy like India (which has a huge middle class population), with Indians more prone to lifestyle diseases; with less than 0.1% of population doing preventive checkups, the scope for preventive healthcare is beyond imagination”

What is the current trend in India vis-a-vis the global trends for preventive health check-ups?

There has been a double digit growth charted globally for the healthcare industry. Preventive healthcare forms a part of the wellness industry, which is growing at a very healthy rate. According to WHO, it is indicated that India is increasingly becoming the capital for various diseases like cancer, heart and various other stress related (lifestyle) diseases. Hence there is a definite increase in the need for preventive health check-ups in India.

What is your perspective on the preventive healthcare check-ups market in India?

The Indian healthcare industry, unlike other industries, stands untouched by recession. There had been a steady growth in this sector, revenues from the healthcare sector accounts for 5.2% of the GDP, making it the third largest growing sector in India, and further the healthcare sector is projected to grow to nearly 1,80,000 crores by year 2012 and a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15-17% for at least the next 7-10 years. The preventive healthcare market is growing at a 25% growth rate.

Provide a background of Indus Health Plus and the services offered by the company?

Pioneering in affordable, comprehensive and qualitative preventive health check-ups and diagnostics for a-symptomatic Indians, Indus Health Plus was established in the year 2000 by a team of like-minded professionals. Primarily started to propagate the inherent benefits of preventive diagnostics, the aim is to create awareness on how preventive health check-ups can reduce mortality and risks related with modern day diseases. The mission is to create a health revolution, safeguard health care and promote ethics and honesty in healthcare.

An ISO-9001-2000 certified company; it has alliances with well-equipped and renowned delivery partners across the country. Currently, Indus has a presence in Maharashtra, Goa, Chattisgarh, Karnataka and Delhi. Indus Health Plus has been expanding its network of delivery centers across the country and aims to eventually achieve a pan-Indian footprint in the preventive health care segment. Indus currently operates in 15 cities across 26 delivery partners.

The strength at Indus Health Plus is the fact that it has reached out to ‘more than 2 lakh’ clients. As an organisation, Indus provides its clients with customized preventive healthcare packages and ‘loyalty cards’ which offer huge discounts on medical tests and services at the delivery partners. Indus emphasizes on detailed comprehensive tests that are normally not conducted by most centers due to its increased expenditure. Nonetheless, Indus offers these tests at substantially lower costs than any diagnostic center in the country. The unique aspect at Indus Health Plus is that all the medical tests under any package (that are undertaken at any of the delivery partners), are conducted in a SINGLE day followed by reports and counselling- All in ONE Day. Since its inception, Indus has enabled the highest number of CT Coronary Angiograms (non-invasive) in the world in a single day.

Thanks to today’s advanced technology, chances of a problem escaping unnoticed, is almost negligible. Prevention, not just early detection becomes the mantra. Hence, the focus of Indus Health Plus is to create awareness on how preventive health check-ups can reduce mortality and risks.

Our products are preventive healthcare packages and Healthfriend card.

Some of the packages offered include: Essential Care Health Checkup Package (EsCP), which has basic tests for those on a budget; Early Care Health Checkup Package (ECP), which includes a list of 12 essential tests beneficial to all; Cardiac Care Health Checkup Package (CCP), which focuses on cardiac care; and Exclusive and Comprehensive Health Checkup Package (ECHC) for everyone above 35 years of age. There is an additional exclusive package for Delhi.

The full checkup followed by reports and expert doctor’s counseling is completed in a single day.

“Thanks to today’s advanced technology, chances of a problem escaping unnoticed, is almost negligible. Prevention, not just early detection becomes the mantra”

Healthfriend Cards is a revolutionary healthcare product introduced by Indus in 2005. In India, close to 70% of health expenditure is out of pocket and we understand this. A part of our drive to make quality healthcare ‘accessible, available and affordable’ to all, the Healthfriend cards enable Indusites and their families to access quality medical treatment at highly discounted rates. This card gives attractive discounts across a spectrum of services that are normally not covered by health insurance.

What are the key equipment and technologies installed at your centres?

According to a published article, cardiac CT scan is the most comprehensive scan available for the heart. We have evolved from the basic preventive health packages to the high-end packages. This scan involves a huge sum of money but Indus offers this service along with a bouquet of other services at a very nominal rate. Indus believes in adding value to their services for their consumers, as they know that in India almost 80% healthcare expenses are paid out of pocket. We have invested and developed an in-house ERP software in order to give a better experience to our clients. At Indus, we work in close conjunction with our delivery partners in order to provide our clients with the packages they have opted for. We believe in creating an experience for our clients and it is this experience that our technology helps us to achieve.   

How do you foresee the transformation in healthcare delivery through preventive health checks?

A recent ICRA report emphasises on the role of prevention especially to battle chronic diseases rampant in India, and so there is immense scope for work here. There is a need for an awakening in the thought process of Indians. As prevention becomes a culture in India, the impact will be phenomenal. Planned surgeries can be undertaken instead of last minute critical operations. The mortality rate due to lifestyle diseases can also be minimised. Overall the losses can be reduced and it would help in the effective use of India’s GDP. Hence preventive healthcare is the need of the hour and there is tremendous scope of the same in India and at the global level. 

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