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Healthcare reimagined, transformed, and delivered!

The MedTech industry may continue to face headwinds in 2020. In 2019, the corporate chains shied away from spending on equipment. It is the various state governments and government procurement agencies, as HLL and GeM, who did most of the buying. This trend may well continue into 2020. Commencing March 2020, 15 new AIIMS are planned to be set up on an approved cost of Rs. 19,676.04 crore, and Rs. 3466.29 crore has already been released. The project is targeted for completion by February 2023. In response to the proposed viability funding of hospitals, announced by the finance minister in the Union Budget, hospital chains are also expected to be set up in Tier-IIand Tier-III towns. Some hiccups as updating the guidelines and inclusion of private hospitals at dynamic rates, may need to be tackled.

The Indian medical devices industry is taken aback over the recent government notification that from April 1, all medical devices sold in the country would be treated as drugs under the purview of CDSCO. There has been a longstanding appeal of the industry that the devices be regulated by a separate body, as the nature of risk and product life-cycle of drugs is very different from medical devices. In December 2019, the NITI Aayog had proposed to bring all medical devices under one regulatory regime in a phased manner, and set up a separate Medical Devices Administration.

As the healthcare landscape changes and is transformed beyond recognition, the public health system and the private providers need to fall in line. Several technological, regulatory, and operational changes are set to transform the way the public health system works, patients are treated, and private providers operate. On the providers part, there will be a need for an absolute focus on improved healthcare access, quality of healthcare, use of innovative diagnostics and treatment methods, improved transparency, and patient-centered models of healthcare delivery. This will assume controlled healthcare expenditures; strengthening of the healthcare system through strategic purchasing, risk pooling, and improving the overall delivery; and providing impetus to digital healthcare to counter the challenges of workforce shortage and operational inefficiencies. A daunting, yet critical task indeed!

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