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Partnership in healthcare prepares for future

The healthcare sector of a country is often treated as an index of economic development, and after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, it has become the foremost priority of governments and other stakeholders to make it exceptionally advanced and robust to deal with any untoward health crisis. In a country like India, a shortage of resources is not only a big challenge for the industry players but for the government as well. In such a scenario, the most pragmatic way to accomplish sustainable healthcare goals is to promote a culture of partnership and collaboration.

For a swift transformation of the Indian healthcare system, there is a need to break fresh grounds in the investment and adoption of new technologies, improved technical efficiency of smaller players, the high inflow of skilled personnel, and quality infrastructure, even in rural areas. However, no company in healthcare is an island, and for furtherance, there is a pressing need to work on partnerships between the industry players and with government institutions. And this partnership should be beyond a user/vendor relationship.

First, the industry players in India’s growing healthcare landscape must strive for mutual growth by using a range of partnership models, including technical collaborations, joint ventures, alliances, and mergers and acquisitions. The changing market dynamics, along with improved government regulations and policies, are creating massive partnership opportunities for healthcare players in their respective product/service domains. Besides, the introduction of health-tech is also providing a great impetus to the sector, and the strategic development and implementation of cutting-edge mobile apps can further bolster networking and coordination among hospitals, diagnostic centers, pharmaceutical players, policymakers, investors, and other stakeholders. This coordination is the precondition of an accessible, affordable, and reliable healthcare system in the country.

Second, the next level of partnership required to achieve sustainable healthcare development goals should be based on the public-private-partnership (PPP) model. For developing and mixed economies like India, PPP is a proven strategy, and the country has already derived benefits from it in energy, education, infrastructure, aviation, and urban development sectors. Though PPP has been introduced in the healthcare sector for quite a long time, it could not bring the desired impact due to the limited active projects and certain communication barriers between private and public entities.

PPP in the healthcare sector can resolve a variety of contemporary and future challenges pertaining to healthcare infrastructure, fundraising, resource allocation and management, the establishment of medical and nursing colleges, promotion of research and development activities, and the production of quality medicines and surgical equipment. PPP is also an effective instrument to build credibility among stakeholders, and paves a smooth path for future plans. In furtherance of holistic developments in the sector, the government’s vision should be pursued by the expertise of the private players, the investment strength of the domestic and foreign players, and the guidance of industry veterans. With their respective expertise, they can create a wholesome synergy and a robust healthcare system in the country.

From build-operate-transfer (BOT) model, where a private entity builds the infrastructure of a project, operates it for a stipulated duration, and then transfers the entire project, or a major part of it, to the institution managed by the government to build-own-operate (BOO) model, where the public sector contracts with a private partner for the overall development of a new facility in perpetuity, there are different ways to plan and raise PPP projects in India.

Usually, to ensure transparency in such collaboration projects, the government appoints a public-private-partnership appraisal committee and selects an organization based on its capacity, track record, and competency level through an open bidding system. On many occasions, government represents itself as the sole customer to the private player so that it can recover the initial investment as soon as possible. Another PPP option, where the private player has to perform all the major roles is design-build-finance-operate (DBFO), whereas in private finance initiative (PFI), the private sector consortium finances, manages, and leads the project, and the government rewards its counterpart with an annual fee for a period of 25–30 years.

In a nutshell
Partnerships can be the powerful propellers of a future-centric transformation, and to make it swift and agile, all stakeholders must be aggressive in investing in evolving healthcare technologies. Evidently, the adoption of technologies in line with their core competencies will ensure higher efficiencies of scale and add value to their products and services at each stage. Also, patients will receive the best treatment at the most affordable price Apart from this; technology will open new growth vistas, enabling Indian healthcare brands to compete in the global market. 

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