In order to meet the rising healthcare needs, the state government of West Bengal is pushing for overall growth of the healthcare fraternity, informs Sanjay Prasad, CEO, Mission of Mercy Hospital to Subhajit Bhattacharya of Elets News Network (ENN)
The healthcare industry of Bengal is evolving fast. How do you think the big and the small players can co-exist in this arena?
As far as the healthcare market is concerned, the urban market is completely saturated and all the big players keep flocking to Kolkata will not benefit the overall growth of the industry the creation of a proper healthcare ecosystem is need of the hour for stakeholders to survive. The private players can cater to the population with higher income and government can be a very good option for the lower income group. The entire system should be cushioned by a proper insurance infrastructure which will also benefit the middle class population of the state and will help them to get better healthcare.
Many medical students flock to Russian and Chinese medical institutions for a medical degree. How can we reverse this process?
The state government over the years has taken some revolutionary steps to deck up the medical education system of the state. Currently the state has more than 300 medical colleges which are spread across the state and the entire licensing process has been revamped to encourage more private and government medical colleges. As prudent citizens of the state we have to be cautious about disbursing license, we should hand over license to an authentic institution. Though I dont want to be geographical but nursing degrees are sold in the southern part of India and a massive pool of nurses are coming into the market with fraudulent degrees. The government has taken cognizance of the fact and dealt with them with iron hands. Currently we are not churning out an ample number of doctors and the industry is running with this crisis but we are still maintaining the quality of the doctors and that is more important.
How can healthcare be made affordable and brought to the rural population of the state?
The mind-set of the people in the state is that good healthcare is dispensed only in those hospitals which are multi specialty. As per industry analysis 70 per cent of our ailments need good secondary care, but because of our attraction towards the multi-specialty we get easily attracted to these selected hospitals. People should have that advocacy of matching their needs with the facilities. So small or medium level hospitals can be a good option for patients and they can facilitate a patient with good healthcare. The government also is doing a great job in revamping the rural healthcare of the state. This is a massive market of 1.6 billion people who are still waiting for a better health care structure. So we should explore this land opportunities to the fullest.
How can digitisation be used as a vehicle to transform healthcare?
I believe digitisation is the only possible path which can change the face of health care in India. Through digitisation we can not only take healthcare at the doorsteps of the people of India; in addition the entire initiative can gain pace through it. The industry is running with a shortage of one million doctors and two million nurses, so to meet the needs of the patients we have to ride the digital wave which is there in India. To make healthcare reachable we have to depend on technology.
Do you think the government and the private players should work together to boost healthcare sector? How it will help in the future?
The healthcare is a completely state subject and private players way of functioning is completely different. They have their own profit outlook and also CSR initiative which they abide religiously. We cannot completely merge them but we can create a bridge between the two. The private players can partner government in building a good health care system within the state. These are two different worlds of healthcare they can exist as two subsets and they can never completely become one ecosystem.