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NATHEALTH summit: Healthcare leaders call for addressing current barriers

NATHEALTH held its 9th Annual Summit with NASSCOM as digital health and innovation partner on the theme “Addressing current barriers & unlocking critical pathways towards universal health coverage” focusing on collaboration, integration, and re-imagination to redefine the role of the private sector. NITI Aayog Member, Dr Vinod Kumar Paul speaking on the curtain raiser of the summit called for Public Private Partnership to reduce the disease burden in India and urged insurers to bring more people under the ambit of health insurance.

The summit brought healthcare industry leaders and the government together to discuss, deliberate and find ways to improve the country’s healthcare system. Dr Shravan Subramanyam, President, NATHEALTH; Dr Ashutosh Raghuvanshi, Senior Vice President, NATHEALTH and MD & CEO, Fortis Healthcare; Ameera Shah, Vice President, NATHEALTH and Promoter & MD, Metropolis Healthcare; Sunil Thakur, Treasurer, NATHEALTH and Partner, Quadria Capital; Vrinda Mathur, Secretary, NATHEALTH and Senior Principal, Financial Institutions Consulting, Asia, IQVIA, as well as Prathap C Reddy, Founder Chairman, Apollo Hospitals Group, were among key industry leaders who addressed the summit on the first day.

The Summit saw extensive participation from the Government of India, leaders from hospitals, medical technology and diagnostics sectors, insurance, medical education, pharmaceuticals, global multi-stakeholder organizations, start-ups, and investors. The summit witnessed a path-breaking MOU between NATHEALTH and the Andhra Pradesh Government and panel discussions. Key white papers on dialysis, health financing and a vision paper on digital health adoption through ABDM were released. Healthcare industry leaders also held discussions on PPP models to address healthcare systemic issues, with a focus on the Northeast, improving infrastructure for dialysis in the country to reduce and manage the rising burden end-stage renal disease (ESRD), VGF in healthcare for infrastructure creation, healthcare financing, health insurance, mechanisms around digital adoption in hospitals, Medtech and diagnostic chains. The summit also touched upon the shortage of healthcare professionals and the need for skilling and upskilling of medical professionals.

Speaking at the summit, Dr Shravan Subramanyam, President, NATHEALTH, said, “The last couple of years saw healthcare being catapulted to new heights with significant investments strengthening the infrastructure and delivery model. The key to the future lies in one word – preparedness. Like the experts have quoted, this isn’t our first pandemic and surely, it is not our last. It is imperative to build healthcare capacities to address the burden of NCDs, expand infrastructure, and scale up digital health adoption.”

Dr Ashutosh Raghuvanshi, Senior Vice President, NATHEALTH and MD & CEO, Fortis Healthcare, said, “Healthcare sector will remain a sunrise sector for India in the years to come. Upskilling and reskilling of healthcare professionals will decide the future of the Indian healthcare ecosystem. While there is increased focus from the government, healthcare professional training is happening in a fragmented way. Cohesive efforts, more involvement from all the stakeholders across the value chain and seizing the opportunity that the pandemic has created are the need of the hour. Training clinicians and nurses will make a huge difference in improving the overall healthcare delivery model. Once they are properly trained, their inputs can further increase the potency of the healthcare system. The advantage India has gained in digital health over the years will prove to be beneficial in upskilling healthcare workers. With the right talent, increased infrastructure, greater collaboration and by leveraging the full potential of digital health, India will be able to create a future-proof healthcare system.”

Ameera Shah, Vice President, NATHEALTH and Promoter & Managing Director, Metropolis Healthcare, said, “In the quest to achieve universal health coverage, we should place emphasis on patient safety and continuous efforts should be put in to improve quality standards of care. The importance of patient safety cannot be stressed enough and should be a top priority for the entire healthcare ecosystem. There are considerable conversations around digital health adoption, technology and drug innovation but when it comes to improving quality standards and ensuring patient safety, a lot more needs to be done. Today, when the Indian healthcare ecosystem is looking at ways to scale healthcare services and working out alternative delivery models, empowering and educating patients on quality and safety, improving quality and patient safety parameters will benefit providers across the value chain and will thereby, mitigate and reduce risks, errors and possible harm that can occur during the course of availing healthcare services.”

Sunil Thakur, Treasurer, NATHEALTH and Partner, Quadria Capital, said, “Health financing is one of the most important levers for developing a sound healthcare ecosystem that in turn can contribute significantly to economic progress. Generally, one dollar invested in healthcare can generate 3 to 4 dollars in the economy. But we have to get it right, otherwise in India, it can have an adverse blowback. One important aspect to focus on is supporting the missing middle that is devoid of health insurance. Successful health financing largely depends on three pillars which are health insurance, creating more infrastructure where the population needs them most, and using these two pillars to create a value-based care model that is self-sustaining. It is finally about creating the flywheel effect to improve healthcare, and consequently the economy.”

Vrinda Mathur, Secretary, NATHEALTH and Senior Principal, Financial Institutions Consulting, Asia, IQVIA, said “Over the years, the global burden of Chronic Kidney Disease has increased multi-fold. The situation in India is more serious as a large number of people with CKD are below the poverty line. Access to dialysis machines and low awareness among people remains major barrier. The availability of dialysis centres is largely in urban geographies and when it comes to tier 2 and 3 towns, it is unequally distributed. Standalone dialysis centres could be the solution to the rising demand for dialysis in the country. A standalone dialysis centre can have higher safety, be convenient and patient-friendly, and can have proximity to patients. With that, we must address the shortage of skilled manpower for dialysis delivery. There is a need to bring together all stakeholders to improve dialysis delivery through a multi-sector approach, and policy must lay down standards to be maintained across all aspects of dialysis delivery, particularly in the face of rising cases of end-stage renal disease.” BusinessWire India

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