Dr B Sanjeev Rai
Chief of Research
Father Muller Medical College Hospital, Mangalore

PoC devices – Power needs in healthcare

Healthcare market will see a boom in a short period of time. Many of the overseas patients may like to come to India for their treatment because of quick and quality care. No waiting period, economical, above all comfort and confidence in the Indian doctors has played a major role in boosting heath tourism. It may not be an exaggeration to say that the whole world is looking toward India as destination for healthcare needs.

On budgetary allocation in healthcare
India spends a little over 1.3 percent of GDP on healthcare, which is very minuscule. India should at least allot 3–4 percent of GDP for healthcare. In turn, it will boost our GDP, because of increased productivity owing to more heathy people and less man hours lost due to sickness.

On planned budgetary allocation for FY2021, and proportion allotted for the procurement of medical equipment and devices 
We are planning 10–12 percent of budgetary allocation to be used for purchase of medical equipment and point-of-care (PoC), devices, mainly owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more and more PoC devices will be used for quick assessment and minimizing manpower needs in healthcare.

On vision for health and family welfare
This year’s pandemic has exposed the weakness of our primary healthcare delivery. A strong primary healthcare system is the cornerstone for a healthy nation.

I strongly feel we need robust primary care institutions, so as to prevent or minimize occurrence of illnesses. Unfortunately, we have 80 percent of best hospitals only in metro cities catering to less than 20 percent of the population.

On monitoring the quality of private healthcare
We understand that over 70 percent of India’s medical expenses are met by out-of-pocket, more so in rural and poor areas. Quality care comes with a cost. Hence, way forward for quality care is universal health insurance for all, not only BPL card holders. On a lighter vein, what an APL cardholder goes to the hospital; when he comes out of the hospital, he becomes a BPL cardholder, because of the high treatment cost.

On public-private partnership
Kerala is the classic example for complying with the government healthcare norms, and has emarged as the No. 1 ranker in NITI Aayog’s health Index.

PPP model in healthcare is not only a quick fix for quality healthcare, rather even for a long-term outcome, this is the best model for India.

On areas where government should invest to make healthcare available to all
With the limited budgetary allocations, the government should spend more on primary and preventive care rather than on secondary or tertiary care and never on quaternary care.

This will help cater medical care to a larger population, with limited budgets.

On policy interventions that the healthcare sector in the state needs to align with
The best model is to make healthcare a central subject rather than a state subject. Revamp dual system of healthcare. Unify and allot a district to each medical college. Each will have to provide comprehensive medical care to the designated district; the central government can provide financial incentives to complement their spending. The central government is contemplating medical colleges in every district. We have nearly 600 medical colleges as of now; with addition of few more, each district can have a designated medical college.

This will change the entire healthcare scenario in India.

India should scale up the point-of-care medical devices manufacturing; this will help to provide quality care at affordable rate in the remotest place with the fraction of a cost.

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