East can provide a bright future to the health care sector and transform the healthcare industry while delivering a robust and affordable healthcare, informs Rupak Barua, CEO, Advanced Medical Research Institute (AMRI), Kolkata in conversation with Subhajit Bhattacharya of Elets News Network (ENN)
The entire healthcare sector in India is passing through a very crucial stage of evolution. How is AMRI complimenting this growth trail?
The healthcare sector in India is one of the fastest growing sectors of India. By 2020, the industry will be a US$ 260 billion industry. Though the healthcare, renaissance started quite late in West Bengal, yet we have picked up quickly and I believe we are in a good position. Many of the advanced medical treatments are now available in all the prime hospitals of Kolkata and developments particularly in the field of oncology are remarkable. The patients have started to queue up towards east and not south. So its an emerging era in Bengal healthcare. AMRI will compliment this new era by introducing the best possible services to the customers and also by making healthcare reachable to a larger mass. We are digitising out entire healthcare frame work and giving it an edge with all state of the art equipments.
How did the approach of AMRI management changed towards healthcare, post AMRI fire tragedy?
Our prime focus is to change the healthcare infra of the east and we are moving with a definite focus. Currently AMRI has three large setups in Dhakuria, Mukundapur and Salt Lake and we recently flagged off another multi specialty hospital with a 400 bed capacity in Bhubneshwar, Odisha by shelling out around 330 crore. We are going through a transformation process and we are tied up with McKinsey India as our knowledge partner. Evolving from the unfortunate fire incident which occurred in AMRI premises in the year 2011 made us more firm towards our goal of developing a future healthcare system. The incident raised several questions on the management system so we decided to revamp our entire system come back clean, and re-establishes our fractured brand value. Working as a single unified unit, AMRI is looking for excellence in operational clinical and quality. Focusing towards creating an army of skilled manpower and try to meet the daily demand of the emerging trends in healthcare industry AMRI aims to deliver the best possible services to the stakeholders and to the customers.
Despite the massive boom in the healthcare sector, best healthcare is not within the reach of the common man. What could be the reason behind?
It is absolutely true that, after reaching the cusp, the best healthcare facilities are still limited within a certain amount of the people of the country. We should immediately expand our territory and must reach into the deepest corners of the country and must try to provide them with best possible services. The Tier II and Tier III cities of the country as well as the state should have a better healthcare base which will cater to the medical needs of the massive semi-urban and rural population. We have to reduce out of the pocket expenses through better health insurance and we must gather able and skilled medical staffs and doctors who will serve in these areas. By overcoming these hindrances we can easily create an affordable healthcare system.
How can restructuring of the insurance infrastructure strengthen the Indian healthcare sector?
The medical industry is growing very fast with massive investment inflow. With a recent restructuring of FDI, we are expecting that many big insurance giants to foray into the healthcare market of India, which will definitely redefine the entire industry and the affordability factor in healthcare. The business models are changing and investors are expecting results and profit which they can reinvest to meet the challenges of the evolving healthcare industry. To make healthcare affordable, robust system of health insurance should be created to bridge the gulf in between.
The eastern region needs more skilled manpower to stabilise the demand and supply management in the system
PPP model is not much prominent when it comes to healthcare infrastructure within the state of Bengal. How can we implement the same?
Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee is extremely proactive towards the all round development of healthcare. The government within this short span of time is doing their best to develop the infrastructure related to healthcare. But definitely there is a massive scope of the PPP model and we should work towards the best possible use of the model. Several private hospitals and state government run hospitals are providing the best possible healthcare infrastructure to the people of the state, but still we are in the threshold of the beginning.
The boost in the private, public partnership model can take healthcare in the rural area and also develop the entire public healthcare system within the state.
Why do you think smart healthcare should be an important inclusion in the smart city projects?
Smart cities must have a smart healthcare system backed by modern and innovative technology in healthcare infrastructure. Leveraging technology in the healthcare sector is the need of the hour. Massive innovations are taking place in the field of technology related to the medical industry and it is also an essential part of the healthcare delivery system.
Why is Bengal a preferred destination of the healthcare industry?
Bengal has always been the much desired destination for any healthcare investors because of its strategic positioning, which is making it the corridor to the east. The eastern market started late so it has not yet reached the level of saturation, so the scope of growth is immense in this market. Investors are interested to invest in Bengal healthcare industry and there is lots of hope in store for eastern healthcare industry.
What are the challenges that the eastern market is facing currently?
The eastern region needs more skilled manpower to stabilise the demand and supply management in the system. We need good paramedics, nurses as the entire industry is extremely dependent on good human resource. The infrastructure development in the rural areas needs to be given importance for better and smarter healthcare to the people who are living in the twilight zone.