Connect with us

Buyers Speak

Healthcare in India–COVID, opportunities, and beyond

Healthcare sector and allied industries are now looking ahead to resurrect their fortunes in the anticipation of a recede in the number of COVID-19 cases. The Ministry of Home Affairs has unlocked India in multiple phases over the last 3 months on all fronts, except educational institutions. There has been a gloom over the fiscal outlook for India, with RBI clearly stating that India may see a recovery of sorts in Q4, as we still battle the current decrease in the GDP growth.
Many healthcare players are beginning to see signs of arresting bleeding in their P&L’s, but the losses incurred over the last 2 quarters are far from being made up. There are multiple reasons for such a trend. First the lockdown, then the fear of contracting the virus.
The sharp decline on footfalls, even at the emergency rooms of hospitals is testimony to the fear that has gripped the nation. In the last 2 months, many lives have been lost to delay in reaching emergency rooms for critical conditions like myocardial infarctions, stroke, complications of cancer cases etc.
India is now slowly trudging back to their normal lives with the realization that COVID is here to stay and the three-tier formula of social distancing, masks, and hand wash seems to be accepted as the new norm.
The future thus is necessary to be sought in two phases; the short-term and long-term measures.
Firstly, a massive attempt to reconcile with the current losses against budgeted revenues for the FY. Next, a 90-120-180 days plan revolving around the identifying potential revenue streams, smoothening the supply chain that has been dismantled by the pandemic, medical affairs in terms of assessment of doctors, nurses, paramedics and other hospital staff and their shortages, internal and external communications to bring back the confidence among the staff and the community, safety as priority in everyday practice and eternal optimism.
I guess, we all believed multiple data analyses waiting for the peak and none were right unfortunately. The virus has overturned all known dogma in virology, economy, analytics, and psychology till date. The fear of a second wave kills all attempts to breed optimism among the staff and the public, making matters worse.
Having said that, healthcare could see a few silver linings among dark clouds.
The adoption of digital platforms for healthcare delivery for chronic illnesses follow ups and outpatients care has come in truly handy. Technologies that were not adopted in last two decades took prominence, gaining quick acceptance both the healthcare institutions and the community.
The need for value is more pertinent now in healthcare. Digital bigwigs and digital-first healthcare delivery solution disruptors are demonstrating more user-friendly ways to conduct healthcare transactions, on both delivery and receivables fronts.
Technology-enabled patient engagement strategies are enabling patients in their healthcare decisions, and have improved interactions within the caregivers of the healthcare system too. Will the community adopt this for the future, only time could tell? Any model which is future-focused would have to leverage the three vertices-people, process, and technology to address evolving individual and group health needs.
AI powered delivery systems for consultation, prescription, radiology, histopathology and oncology, quick and reliable differential diagnosis, food drug interaction database, drug-drug interaction database, radiotherapy planning, drug dose and formulary MIS, medication error management, community risk assessment, risk preparedness indicators, could list many more.
Over the forecast period (2019-2025), spend on AI is expected to record a CAGR of 39 percent, increasing from USD 1176.6 million in 2019 to reach USD 11,781.9 million by 2025.
Stimulus packages like the one in the USA are the need of the hour for private healthcare in India. It is stated that not only can hospitals in the USA draw on the USD 100 billion fund to stem their losses and cover other costs, but they will also see a boost in one stream of revenue as the US Congress overturned some planned rate cuts.
Any move, that could help lower the cost of infrastructure maintenance and absorb a proportion of the fixed costs would be a welcome move. The industry needs economy revival and will of some higher degree this time.
The government spend on healthcare must increase to 2.5 percent of GDP as being discussed. There is always scope to be on the left of centre and still be right!
The biomedical devices industry needs to find novel methods of cost control & receivable management to honour to purchase orders from healthcare sector for the next 2-3 years.
The call for Aatmanirbharta by the Honourable Prime Minister presents an excellent opportunity for the technology, IoT, automation, robotics, AI, and biomedical devices industry.
Swimming against the tide would be the only option to be successful though! Government support for MSME and manufacturers could be crucial for a revival of this sort. India could explore exporting to different countries and have an impact on the Indian economy too. The need for PPE, ventilators, airflow systems, and oxygen plants would only increase in the near future.
Revival of supply chain management is significantly connected with revival of healthcare industry. Automation in logistics will play a key role in both speeding up effective healthcare delivery and will support the growth of the allied industries.
Public health systems and the lost significance of primary health infrastructure need a thorough revamp. I recall having read a very impactful line–COVID-19 did not break the healthcare system, but exposed an already broken one (not sure of the source though).
Here is the paradox-Healthcare, being at the forefront of the war against COVID, bled and badly! Its resources infected, still the brethren continue the battle against the pandemic and serving the community relentlessly. The sacrifices of those who lost their lives during this course must never be forgotten!

Copyright © 2024 Medical Buyer

error: Content is protected !!