• What are your views on the Healthcare market in India vis-à-vis the global market?
Healthcare in India is perhaps the image of India emerging. We cannot ignore the swanky set ups that have come to emergence in our cities. Slowly but surely India is becoming a hot bed of medical tourism owing to the international players flooding in. It is also testimony of the fact that the buying potential have really increased and also the recent FDI push has been a boon. The numbers speak for themselves. USD 280 billion by 2020. However, it is the depth of the care delivery that is the key for a country like ours.
Digital healthcare is making its mark and we are seeing a surge in start ups and established companies coming up with innovative solutions. Like any other industry healthcare also has its share of western solution with Indian hearts . The likes of practo , alternacare, Curofy are those companies who are doing their bit to make sure the depth of care delivery is well taken care of.
• Your thoughts on budgetary allocation in healthcare?
This years budget has been a welcome change. Though I feel, it has left us wanting in a number of places, I feel budgetary allocations are directionally correct. The stress on medical education especially post graduation is good step. We need more and more specialists and we need them in every nook and corner of the country. The increase in Tax benefits upto 1 lac per household is again something I like. The move towards provision of a more comprehensive primary care by converting 1.5 lakh sub centers in Indian villages to health and wellness centers is a positive development. The stand against rising drug prices is also commendable. However perhaps the biggest development in the healthcare section of the budget is the alternate financing sources. Prioritizing health is CSR, levying more taxes on health hazardous items like cigarettes, bidis etc and taxing companies having adverse effect on health. There is lot to like. However for a country like India, healthcare only getting 2.2 percent of the total budget is really disappointing.
• What is your vision for Health and Family Welfare? What were the challenges you faced while implementing health services?
Health and family welfare will always be an outcome of the holistic approach to healthcare that they are exposed to. From tax exemptions to primary care centers to swanky hospitals, each has its contribution in the mix.
Population and geographical diversity is still the biggest challenge to Public health. With a serious dirth in the no of doctors, implementing health services becomes really tough. Another reason being the lack of education. This is a major road block as well. So to help doctors
• 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 medical care continues to remain a matter of concern. What is your perspective on monitoring the quality of private healthcare?
I believe it must be the opposite. We need more robust government set ups. We need institutions like AIIMS, CMc to stand up and compete with the private healthcare providers. If the government set ups can stay in the ring long enough, there will be a push improve quality at reduced prices. As far as being scattered is concerned, there are a slew of hospital chains coming up in the tier 2 and tier 3 cities. I believe it’s only a matter of time when we wont be able to use the word scattered anymore. We at Curofy are trying to remove words like scattered from the dictionary of Healthcare industry. Connecting doctors from tier 1 cities to tier 2 & 3 is making easier for the doctors to get educated with new techniques & treatments. This will surely improve the quality of medical care in small towns and cities.
• How important is Public Private Partnership in making healthcare a success?
It is very important from affordability standpoint. The opportunities however is infinite. From infrastructure development to knowledge and resource sharing to training there is a at every juncture an opportunity ready put into immediate action. Financing is another area where the ppp model can work magic. The magical word here is intent and when it is right these opportunities will certainly take more concrete shape.
• What according to you are the areas where government should invest to make healthcare available to everyone on the go?
Training, Education and primary healthcare are the areas to be focused upon. E-Health is one of the most upcoming trend in healthcare industry. Some see it as possibly the most important revolution in healthcare since the advent of modern medicine.
• What are the policies interventions that the healthcare sector in the state needs to align with the healthcare objectives at large at the national level?
First and foremost is the implementation of schemes. State must support centre on implementing the policies. It is quite disheartening that we cannot even use up the meagre budgetary allocations that is meted out. Secondly restructuring state run hospitals to come under the schemes of central government schemes. For newer projects, states need to ensure there are no road blocks in infrastructure development. The state should act as a bridge or an expressway. Health is something where politics is better left out.