Mention healthcare and you have reasons to smile and frown. Smile at the rapid advancements in diagnostics, technology, delivery systems, clinical excellence, medical tourism and so on. Robotics have landed, cutting edge cyber-knives have taken over,neuro navigation technology is simply mind blowing, blood banks are now transfusion centres with a very proactive role in therapeutics. Information hungry patients are all online now, waiting for the social media to tweet the next health buzz. One can talk endlessly about the rapid advancements in healthcare, akin to science fiction that we see converging in our daily lives today. Enter a hospital and marks of excellence are inked and etched on the wall. Accreditations from NABH, NABL, JCI are some of the common factors to convince you that that quality is pertinent today. The business value of accreditation and quality is gaining recognition and most of the hospitals are already accredited and others are in the process. The latest accreditation standards (the third edition) were released in January 2012 and it aims to strengthen the standards review process. Now comes the paradox. Indias giant leap and strides in healthcare is countered by the fact that the country continues to be the single largest contributor to the global disease burden today. Chronic diseases already contribute to over 50 percent of Indias disease burden. A 2010 World Bank Report estimates that India is annually losing over 6 percent of its GDP due to the premature deaths and preventable illnesses.There are tangible dichotomies in healthcare infrastructure and delivery crunch. Healthcare costs have risen dramatically and is expected to increase at a staggering rate of 25 percent a year. Child mortality and nutrition are major challenges. As much as 33 percent of all children under the age of 3 years in India are expected to be moderately malnourished by 2015. The number of doctors per 1000 population stands at 3.31 in the US, 1.53 in China and 0.6 in India. Isnt it shocking to hear that hardly 2 percent of Indian doctors practice in rural India ?
Upgrade ASHAs Dr Naresh Trehan Chairman and Managing Director, Medanta, The Medicity Healthcare is basically disease management. We should build our system from the ground up to create a new blue-print of Indias healthcare. We have over 800,000 ASHAs (Accredited Social Healthcare Activists) in India, but they are ill trained and dont have any medical skills. Their costs are a huge burden on the exchequer and nothing gets accomplished in return. All we have to do is to upscale their skills so that they can be the eyes and ears of the healthcare system on the ground. They need to monitor hygiene and find out who in the community needs medical assistance. This will be a big help in ensuring quick diagnosis of diseases and reducing the incidence of NCDs.
India requires policy changes Dr Devi Shetty Founder & Chairman, Narayana Health In the US has 19,000 undergraduate medical seats and 32,000 PG seats, in India it is the opposite “ the country has close to 50,000 undergraduate medical seats but only 14,000 PG seats. The low number of PG seats results in a shortage of specialists. This can have terrible consequences on the ground. For example, India has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world and this is unrelated to the amount of money we spend on healthcare. The reason is that we have created a regulatory structure where only a specialist can perform certain tasks, and the country simply doesnt produce enough ofthese specialists, If we want to deliver better healthcare outcomes, India doesnt require money. We only require policy changes. This will not happen till the Government looks at medical education as integral part of the countrys development. About 67% of anesthesia in the US is given by nurse anesthetists. In India, we dont allow a nurse who has worked in critical care for 20 years to even prescribe a Paracetamol tablet!
Focus on preventive care Shivinder Mohan Singh utive Vice Chairman, Fortis Healthcare Technology has played a vital role in healthcare in the last 30 to 40 years, whether it is diagnosis or treatment. Going forward It is going to trigger more changes in healthcare than any other factor. Healthcare access will get radically transformed with technology whether it is in terms of proximity through devices planted in our bodies or by low-cost healthcare using innovative technological solutions or the speed with which information is shared. A healthcare ecosystem would be created in future where different silos begin to talk to each other about patients and exchange information. Healthcare delivery is going to become more personalized in terms of tailormade treatments for an individual. We need to be more concerned for what we do to our health rather than what healthcare would do to us. We need to take ownership of our own bodies and mind and not outsource these to healthcare providers. People need to focus more on preventive care rather than just landing in sick care this is going to the mantra of healthcare in future,
Indian Healthcare will achieve newer heights Dr Dharminder Nagar, Managing Director, Paras Hospitals, GurgaonThe Indian government has always been supportive of entrepreneurship. We expect the new government to support and encourage the medical industry. This is essential to boost the growth and development of the same. Today, India is considered as the leading healthcare destination for medical tourism, moreover India provides highly specialised and skilled nurses, clinicians and doctors to the majority of the world. India is beginning to be recognised as a leader in providing specialised treatment. The future of healthcare domestically and internationally is bright With the growing number of private players in the healthcare industry, we are able to bridge the gap. In a number of years we would be able to see leading secondary and tertiary care players providing healthcare services even in the far-flug areas of the country. Upcoming medical and nursing colleges would also help in efforts I am certain that the Indian healthcare industry will achieve newer heights.