Healthcare scenario in India and the road ahead

Healthcare is one of India’s largest sectors –
both in terms of revenue and employment. Healthcare not only means hospitals
and healthcare centers, but it also include medical devices, clinical trials,
outsourcing, telemedicine, medical tourism, health insurance, and medical
equipment. The industry can be categorized into two major sectors – public and
private. India’s competitive advantage lies in its rich and diverse pool of
well-trained medical professionals and the cost of medical services which is
much cheaper than the US or European countries.

The Indian healthcare industry is poised to
grow to over USD 280 billion by 2020, which is almost ten times from 2005.
Change in Demographic and rising awareness levels are the primary reason behind
the growth of the Indian Healthcare system. The healthcare ecosystem is
experiencing an inflection point in India, and the experts are optimistic about
a steep rise in the industry. However, changes are still to be made the way the
industry is perceived and has to be treated with the same equanimity as other
industries like banking, finance or technology.

The plight of its healthcare industry
determines a country’s growth, the higher the human development indices, the
better is the performance of the country, health-wise. There are several
factors which have contributed to the development in the healthcare ecosystem
in India, few of them are

Rising Demographics: There is a significant
difference between the way we live earlier and the way we live today, thanks to
the changing lifestyle standards, better sanitation, clean surroundings and
above all rising awareness among citizens to keep the country clean.

Increase in affordability: One of the primary
reasons is the improvement in the affordability of even a common man, everyone
desires value for money and wants the best treatment available, this has
increased the healthcare scenario in India.

Increase in lifestyle diseases: Lifestyle
diseases comprised 18 percent of total ailments in India which triggers demand
for around the year special treatment, tests, and care that leads to increased
earning for hospitals.

Insurance: Insurance has played a crucial role
in increasing the healthcare scenario in India, as schemes like Mediclaim and
cashless payment has empowered people to avail medical facilities without
worrying about the fees. It has improved the affordability and given power in
the hands of the common man.

Although the above factors and few more have
contributed to a rise in the healthcare industry, there are still factors which
are the challenges the industry is still facing, few of them are

Infectious and acute diseases: A lot of rural
population suffers from infectious and acute diseases, but abstain from taking
a proper treatment considering it as a lifelong ailment.

Lower insurance penetration: Although
insurance has added significantly to the healthcare industry, it has not still
touched the rural segment. Because of the low- penetration, it has not produced
the result it was expected to deliver.

The difference in infrastructure and
facilities: While the urban cities witness state-of-the-art hospitals and
medical centers, the rural is unfortunate to see such a massive investment in
infrastructure at the rural level.

There are several reasons for the upsurge as
well as the downfall of the healthcare system in India, but, the factor that
will always remain one of the major determining factors is the patient-centric
care at affordable rates. According to the nature of the healthcare ecosystem
in India, several hospitals and other medical centers are realizing the need
for patient-centric care and how focusing on the patient need will lead to
improvement in the healthcare ecosystem and the economy as a whole.

Integrated healthcare is another way to
increase the efficiency of the system and expect the desired results. An
integrated approach is about integration between separate organizations, whose
primary objective is to focus o the continuum of healthcare delivery around
patients and populations.   The need of the hour is to integrate the
private players with the government and the local players and follow a
professional and legislation driven approach to bring about a change in the
entire ecosystem.

Whatever the authorities decide as a policy
decision, The objective should always be to ensure that the most suitable and
result-driven care is provided wherever and whenever it is needed.

India is undoubtedly a land full of opportunities
for players in the medical industry and also one of the leading destinations
for high-end diagnostic services. A look at the data and statistics reveal that
the consumers to have become more conscious towards their healthcare upkeep.
The need is only to follow a professional yet caring approach where all
stakeholders, especially, patients are given their due, and their demands are