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‘Technology to Drive Enriched Patient Experience in 2024’

Dr Rakesh Gupta

The Indian healthcare sector is one of the fastesThe Indian healthcare sector is one of the fastest-growing industries and is expected to advance speedily during 2019 – 2024.t-growing industries and is expected to advance speedily during 2019 – 2024.

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Aging and growing population, greater prevalence of chronic as well as lifestyle diseases, exponential advances in innovation, advent of digital technologies, growing health awareness, vital government initiatives and changing attitude towards wellness and preventive healthcare is expected to uplift healthcare services demand in the future.

INDIA – THE MEDICAL TOURISM DESTINATION

Healthcare in India has undergone huge transformation in last two decades, attaining an advantage over its associates in the West in terms of cost for high-quality medical services offered. The affordable medical services have resulted in a growth in the country’s healthcare tourism, attracting patients worldwide and making India, the new ‘Medical Tourism Destination’.

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Moreover, the nation has also emerged as a hub for R&D activities for international players due to its relatively low priced drugs, devices, medical equipment, and clinical research.

ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY

The coming decade is going to witness another revolution in the healthcare across the globe, so as in India due to increasing adoption of technologies like Electronic Medical Record (EMR), Business Intelligence (BI), and Artificial Intelligence (AI) that will help the organisations to streamline their operation and improve organisational efficiency making it less dependent on ‘Manpower’.

The use of ‘Telemedicine’ and ‘Electronic ICU’ concept has already made an impact for better accessibility of healthcare in remote areas.

Healthcare providers are also focusing on the technological face of healthcare delivery in order to standardise the quality of service delivery, control cost and improve patient engagement. Digital-based Health Awareness, Electronically acquired Medical Record, Mobile Healthcare are some of the technologies gaining wide acceptance in this sector.

GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES

The government aims to develop India as a global healthcare hub by initiating several policies supporting affordable healthcare.

An initiative like ‘PPP – Public Private Partnership’ is going to evolve as another service delivery model by the state. As per PPP, the infrastructure in terms of land and building is provided by government – which it has in plenty and mostly lying idle, equipment skilled manpower along with day to day operation offered by the private partners, making it a win-win situation for all.

The scheme is already running successfully in many states & districts, in field of diagnosis imaging, dialysis and much more.

The ‘Quality Council of India’ has initiated the standardised healthcare which is a good step for allopathic clinics, small healthcare organisation, eye centers and private & government hospitals.

The government of India is promoting concept of ‘Made-in- India’ which has helped healthcare industry with production of affordable medical equipment at lower cost.

PRIVATE HEALTHCARE SECTOR – UPGRADING THE WORLD

The private hospitals have a strong presence in India’s healthcare sector. It has emerged as a vibrant force in India’s healthcare industry, lending it both national and international repute. Large investments by private sector players are likely to contribute significantly to the development of India’s hospital industry. One important factor contributing to rising medical tourism in India is the population of well-educated, polished, English-speaking medical staff in private hospitals and diagnostic facilities.

Other than essential requirements, private healthcare providers are also making efforts to provide luxurious services. For example: pick and drop services for the patient and luxurious arrangements for patient attendees in the hospital improving the overall experience.

Indian Healthcare Sector is poised to grow and is expected to rank amongst the top three healthcare markets in terms of accessibility and affordability by 2024 considering these factors.

BREAKING THE FLAWS

Despite of these bright prospects, India may lag behind because of some obstructions, which must be removed.

Government initiative like ‘Prime Minister Health Scheme – Ayushman Bharat’ along with other state sponsored schemes like CGHS, ECHS etc. provides good access of healthcare to the masses but probably at the cost of medical fraternity which is already paid low as compared to their counterparts across the globe.

Increasing number of medical colleges opened by government, churning out less experienced and low quality doctors initially may make up for the numbers but the deteriorating trend of medical education and the quality of doctors that will be available is a huge concern for senior clinicians in the medical education sectors.

Government can and should definitely help in evaluating the price of drugs and medical devices, but the official charges of any medical service should commensurate with the skill and experience of the doctor and the complexity of the procedure.

The standardisation of healthcare is much required, although its being tried by other government agencies but it is full of anomalies and absurd rate pattern forbidding the good players to participate in the schemes.

Writer is Dr Rakesh Gupta, Chairman, Sarvodaya Hospital Group, Faridabad.

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