Healthcare in India – Challenges & Opportunities

Healthcare in India has been reeling under a plethora of issues from population growth to low government spend, high ‘out-of- pocket’ expenses and huge rural-urban divide. Still there are some silver linings and the industry is poised to grow at a rate of 17% up to 2020 feels hansindia.

CHALLENGES

1. Population – The world’s second most populous country, India’s population was estimated to be around 1.3 billion in 2015.

2. Dual disease burden – In the last 25 years, proportion of people living in poverty fell by half; but this benefit has been offset by the ‘dual-disease burden’ – a rise in communicable diseases as well in non-communicable, lifestyle diseases.

3. Infrastructure – India has a mix of Public and Private health care facilities, but the majority of the population has to depend on Government facilities which themselves are under-manned as well as under-funded. The current facilities are not at all capable of serving such a huge population.

4. Insurance – In India, the Government spend on Insurance is just 32%. As a result 76% of the population does not have insurance and have to pay for their medical expenses.

In spite of all these, there are some very encouraging signs that may herald a much more efficient health care system.

1. Increased Connectivity – Increased mobile penetration and improved data services in rural areas are expected to improve the healthcare delivery. On top of this, several mobile phone based e-health and m-health initiatives were launched on World Health Day 2016.

2. Budgetary Allocation – The union budget 2017-18 has increased healthcare outlay by 27% which might prove to be catalyst for innovations and investments in this area.

3. National Insurance Scheme – Under NIS, the annual limit per family was increased from Rs.30,000 to Rs.100,000 with an additional top up of Rs. 30,000 for senior citizens. Hospitals empaneled under the government insurance scheme are IT-enabled and connected to servers in districts. Beneficiaries can use a smart card that allows them to access health services in any empaneled hospital.

4. IT Infusion – As technology increasingly plays an important role in healthcare, the data indicate growing attention from private investment and start-ups. The government’s National Innovation Council, which is mandated to provide a platform for collaboration amongst healthcare domain experts, stakeholders and key participants, should encourage a culture of innovation in India and help develop policy on innovations that will focus on an Indian model for inclusive growth. Additionally, there has also been an emergence of “frugal innovation” in the private sector – products and business models that offer quality diagnostics and care at a much more affordable price. Healthcare delivery in India is now uniquely poised to undergo a change at all its stages – prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. No single entity in the healthcare sector can work in
isolation.

As published on hansIndia.

http://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/News-Analysis/2017- 06-14/Indias- humongous-healthcare-challenge/306339

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