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PPP in diagnostic industry to change Indian healthcare landscape

Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) in Indian healthcare are emerging as game-changing instruments, particularly within the diagnostic industry. PPP can overcome the current diagnostic challenges in India and shape the country’s healthcare landscape for the next decade.

In an industry predicted to reach $32 billion by 2025, according to a KPMG report, the potential impact of PPPs is colossal. The model’s strength is its ability to combine the technological sophistication, operational efficiency, and service capabilities of the private sector with the regulatory authority, scale, and equity focus of the public sector. Some existing noteworthy public-private alignments include:

  • Maharashtra signed an MOU with a multi-discipline healthcare organisation in March 2023. With an investment of over $24 million (INR 200 crores), this PPP aims to establish advanced diagnostic centres across Maharashtra, potentially reaching over 60 million people.
  • In 2022, Maharashtra and Apollo Hospitals signed an agreement to set up diagnostic centres across the state offering various services, from basic blood tests to complex genetic testing, at affordable prices.
  • In 2021, Rajasthan and SRL Diagnostics Partnered to launch telemedicine and teleradiology services in the state’s district hospitals.
  • Karnataka collaborated with Manipal Hospitals in 2021 to launch the Mobile Health Bus service with advanced diagnostic facilities at an initial investment of $0.241 million (INR 2 crore).
  • In 2020, Punjab and Max Healthcare Partnered to establish a 100-bed super-speciality hospital at Mohali’s Civil Hospital premises. This hospital provides diagnostic services using state-of-the-art imaging technology alongside other medical services.
  • Delhi and Dr Lal PathLabs, established a PPP initiative in 2019 with a budget of $6 million (INR 50 crore) to facilitate affordable diagnostic services for Delhi’s economically disadvantaged population, which has conducted over 2 million tests.
  • Andhra Pradesh MedTech Zone (AMTZ) Partnered with a Diagnostics company in 2019 to train more than 100 lab professionals in advanced diagnostics, building a pool of skilled laboratory personnel.
  • Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) and C-CAMP partnership facilitated the K-Tech, BIRAC Regional Entrepreneurship Centre (BREC) launch in Bengaluru in 2016. BREC provides startups and entrepreneurs access to high-end diagnostic product development and validation equipment.
  • Tamil Nadu partnered with Metropolis Healthcare to establish state-wide diagnostic facilities in government hospitals.

Looking ahead: Recommendations for the future
To fast-track the PPP-driven transformation of India’s diagnostic sector, the government should focus on three key areas: policy framework development, capacity building, and fostering sustainable partnerships.

A comprehensive policy framework must outline the roles, responsibilities, and revenue-sharing structures. The policy framework should provide legal and financial clarity. It should enhance the confidence of private players, who often contribute significantly to the overall investment in these projects.

Capacity building is crucial to address the demand-supply gap. Therefore, the government should encourage private entities to invest in training centres as part of the PPP model. Given the projected CAGR of 15% for the diagnostic sector until 2025, this will provide a trained workforce ready to meet this expansion.

Nurturing sustainable partnerships necessitates a collaborative ecosystem where the private sector’s concerns are addressed, contributions appreciated, and regular dialogues maintained.

As the PPP model gains momentum, these key areas will generate tremendous impact –

Advanced diagnostic infrastructure: PPPs can focus on building advanced diagnostic centres that offer high-quality services ranging from radiology to pathology. Equipped with cutting-edge technology, they will enhance the accuracy and speed of diagnosis and improve healthcare delivery.

Remote healthcare services: There are still significant gaps in healthcare services in India’s rural and remote regions. PPPs can bring diagnostics to these underserved regions by setting up permanent diagnostic facilities or mobile diagnostic units.

Tele-diagnostics: PPPs can also help develop tele-diagnostics services, leveraging digital technologies to deliver diagnostic services like online consultations, remote monitoring, and digital transmission of radiology or pathology images to remote areas.

Specialised diagnostic services: There is a growing demand for specialised diagnostic services in cancer screening, genetic testing, and infectious diseases. PPPs can play a crucial role in creating specialised diagnostic centres.

Workforce training and development: There is a significant shortage of trained healthcare professionals and, therefore, tremendous scope for enhancement.

Research and development: PPPs can promote research and development in the diagnostics sector, leading to the development of new diagnostic techniques and tools.

The potential of Public Private Partnerships in transforming the Indian diagnostics industry over the coming decade is enormous. A proactive stance from the government will undoubtedly illuminate the path for diagnostics in India. The Week

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