Dr Sandeep Chatrath
Regional CEO & Medical Director,
Metro Group of Hospitals

Indian health sector poised for aggressive growth

India has witnessed a surge in diseases capable of adversely affecting the health of its population. Rising prosperity, where the proportion of people living in poverty fell by half in 25 years leading to 2016, has been marked by a dual-disease burden — a continuing rise in communicable diseases and a spurt in non-communicable or lifestyle diseases, which accounted for 60 percent of all deaths. As per data from 2014, India spends just 4.7 percent of GDP on healthcare, whereas China spends 5.6 times more, with the US 125 times more. Around 62 percent of health expenses incurred by Indians was met using personal savings, called out-of-pocket expenses, compared with 13.4 percent in the US, 10 percent in the UK and 54 percent in China. Urban Versus rural divide according to a KPMG report, with the higher spending power of consumers in towns and cities the majority of Indian healthcare professionals are concentrated around urban areas, leaving rural areas under served, while India meets the global average.

Indian healthcare market is growing aggressively at 20 percent CAGR, and has immense potential. The world is looking at India as a key medical tourism destination because of its affordable medical value travel potential. India healthcare’s biggest advantage is its population size and growing middle class and per capita income. India is emerging as one of the fastest growing economies and thus affordability of people to pay for quality healthcare. Also schemes like Ayushman Bharat, Arogyashree, and others, have now made healthcare affordable for low-income strata; thus demand for healthcare in India in rising very fast, so potential of growth in healthcare is high in India.

On budgetary allocation for healthcare

Budgetary allocation in healthcare is very low at less than 2 percent and needs to be doubled.

On planned budget for fiscal year 2019-20 and proportion allotted for medical equipment and devices

Nearly 30 percent of our expenditure is on medical devices and equipment.

On vision for health and family welfare

India lives in villages but hospitals are concentrated in metros and tier-II cities. Thus there is a wide disparity in distribution of resources in healthcare. Telemedicine has huge potential in bridging this gap.

On monitoring the quality of private healthcare

Today, there are over 20 international healthcare brands in India with several corporate hospitals. However, a large section of the private healthcare delivery segment is scattered and quality of healthcare continues to remain a matter of concern. With NABH movement gaining momentum, the quality of care is surely improving. Structure, processes, and outcomes are key elements in quality care and need to be given all the focus and attention in improving the overall health scenario.

On importance of public-private partnership in making healthcare a success

PPP is key in development of healthcare in India, and it is the best solution to improve the access to healthcare while conserving financial resources of the government.

On areas where government should invest to make healthcare available to everyone on the go

The government should focus on primary and secondary healthcare and on developing more medical colleges for improving doctor-to-bed ratio, which is the need of the hour. India needs more doctors.

On policy interventions

The government should give tax incentives for heath sector and reduce import duty on medical equipment.

India has the best doctors in the world. Talent of Indian doctors needs to be fully tapped by developing more super specialty set-ups in tier-III cities. Also telemedicine and AI is future of healthcare. Need of the hour in India is promotion of private TPA and penetration of state- or center-run health insurance schemes like Ayushman Bharat, which is a welcome step for increasing penetration of affordable quality healthcare. This will be a big catalyst for affordable quality-healthcare movement in India.

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