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The healthcare business in India has been growing at a rapid pace owing to increased private investment and public expenditure. According to a report of NITI Ayog, the Indian government will increase public expenditure on healthcare from 1.1 percent to 2.5 percent GDP in the next 4 years and to 5 years in the following 5 years. This is evidence from the fact that the nation is moving forward on the path of affordable healthcare for every individual.
Given the success of single healthcare specialties such as eye care, dental care, nephrology and dialysis center, mother and childcare centers, several other specialties like fertility clinics, oncology, and day care chemotherapy center are making significant progress as well.
Rapid growth of single specialty hospital and clinic will change the façade of underpenetrated healthcare sector of India. With a growing demand for good medical facilities at affordable prices, budget hospitals are primed to gain popularity in the country in the years to come.
Innovative business models such as the PPP model, social entrepreneurship, and patient assistance programs must be further developed to solve particular issues. These changes will be vital in providing quality healthcare to a fast aging population. Moreover, India will possibly emerge as one of the most preferred healthcare destinations among foreigners too.
It is well known that diagnosis is the first step to disease management. The diagnostic service industry is one area where India has a lot of potential for growth and improvement.
This growth is likely to be driven by better healthcare facilities, medical diagnostic and pathological laboratories, private-public projects, and the health insurance sector. The rise in health consciousness in the society in general and the rising burden of chronic diseases are expected to further advance the growth of this market.
The most important challenge will be dealing with the lack of standardized labs and workforce capacity. As identified in many recent publications, the global healthcare workforce is wholly inadequate and will only become more so as demand increases in the future.
As a result, our plan is to have standardized self-sufficient tertiary care testing facility having skill and expertise in each section. Another challenge that we professionals face is that we pay out of our pockets whereas in the western world it is all insurance based.
Furthermore, the ministries of health and other parts of governments need to become more involved in not only setting guidelines and standards at an affordable cost but also ensuring compliance. For instance–the US has a completely centralized way of processing tests.
There is one lab in the center and most of the labs are satellite labs from where the samples are drained and processed. The mandate is accreditation and quality control.
Here you will see scattered segment of labs across accreditation which is not compulsory and the same is true in India. Today in India if you look at accreditations, there are more than 600 to 650 labs, which are accredited and if you look at the number of labs the count is not even documented
Recently the coronavirus pandemic has sent shockwaves to the health system, societies, and economies all over the world. The impact of the coronavirus pandemic is clearly visible in financial markets and stock exchanges. But there is still no clarity on the deeper impact that it is having across various sectors.
It is quite evident that the healthcare industry is severely impacted by novel coronavirus disease. The private sector has risen to the occasion, by offering to the government all the support it needs, be it testing support, preparing isolation beds for the treatment of COVID-19 positive patients or deploying equipment and staff in identified nodal hospital.
This sector is facing two main challenges: Investing additional manpower, equipment, consumables, and other resources to ensure 100 percent preparedness for safety in the hospitals and eventual treatment of patients, if needed. In addition, the sector is experiencing a sharp drop in OP footfalls, elective surgeries, and international patients.
The medical devices industry has also taken an unprecedented hit. The country imports consumables, disposables and capital equipment including orthopaedic implants, gloves, syringes, bandages, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging devices from China. Due to the current crisis in China, the medical device manufacturers across India are finding it difficult to source important raw materials and electronic components from Chinese factories.
Even though some of the factories in China have restored operation, shortage of some critical electronic parts and raw material still exists. This is adversely affecting the margins and profitability of Indian companies importing medical devices and small components to manufacture finished products. This can also put upward pressure on prices of medical devices in the short run.
In the history of mankind this is probably the first time when diagnostics industry has been in the absolute spotlight. It has suddenly moved from under the carpet to over the carpet necessity. The world has recognized the need for early warning systems in the healthcare segment – currently for COVID-19, but this trend is going to continue for all forms of diagnostics in the time to come. There is expectation of phenomenal growth for the diagnostics industry
Various aspects critical for winning this race are–ensuring a cost advantage over China, faster government permissions and single-window clearances, ease of doing business, adequate financing, competent infrastructure, and soft loans with longer repayments.
Other focus areas are–creation of large clusters with common infrastructure, facilities, subsidies for technological upgradations so that there is higher sustainability and economies of scale.
Speed is of great essence–if India must succeed in capturing a significant portion of the market up for grabs, they must display aggression and garner the first mover’s advantage. An opportunity like this is not likely to surface for a long, long time.
Finally, I think there are challenges as per the awareness, quality, professional approach, streamlining of good laboratory practices and payment modes in a country like India, which we would need to overcome sooner rather than later.

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