Dr Ajit Gupta, Founder and Chairman, Park Hospital
On the healthcare market in India vis-vis the global market
Pacing up with the global healthcare scenario, the Indian healthcare market is maturing with mobile technology and improved data services that are expected to play a critical role in improving healthcare delivery. We see an execution framework shaping up, given the Union Budget 2017–2018 that includes measures to boost rural development, infrastructure, and macroeconomic stability. The government's Indian model for inclusive growth underpins frugal innovation in the private healthcare sector – offering quality diagnostics and care at an affordable price.
In addition, with the launch of Digital India initiative, the government is stepping toward digital empowerment.
On vision of the Indian healthcare system
We envision healthcare to be (more) digitized and streamlined using new digital technologies such as embedded devices, mobile computing, big data, among others. Further, for developing a better healthcare ecosystem – patients, pharmaceutical companies, and doctors need to work in collaboration and provide affordable, accessible healthcare treatment to the masses.
On expansion plans over the next couple of years
We plan to open four new hospitals at Dwarka Expressway, Shalimar Bagh, Hissar, and Panchkula in the next financial year 2018–2019. All these hospitals are in advanced stage and expected to be operational during the next fiscal year.
On budgetary allocation for the fiscal year 2017–2018 and proportion allotted for the procurement of medical equipment and devices
We planned a budgetary allocation of 45 crore for the fiscal year 2017–2018, of which, 10 crore are allocated for procurement of medical equipment and devices.
On mandate of the MoHFW and challenges faced while implementing health services
The mandate focuses on providing healthcare to every citizen of the country through various health schemes and programs. And we put emphasis on the affordability factor in delivering health services to the masses, which still remains a bit of challenge when making healthcare accessible for every citizen of the country.
On areas where government should invest to make healthcare available to everyone on the go
The government should invest in improvising the public healthcare system and focus on better utilization of health resources while developing healthcare services of an assured clinical quality. To build a robust health delivery system in all aspects, including infrastructure and human resources, the government should lay a special focus on rural areas. In addition, investments in digital technologies will establish a framework – of digital leadership and digital capabilities in healthcare – for on-the-go people to stay breast with latest healthcare developments.
On the accusation of meddling with pricing policy
We concur with the government in putting medical devices under price control, as we promote affordable healthcare. The prices of generic medicines serve as an anchor rate for the hospitals and doctors in general – which works well in establishing a pricing regulation for the healthcare industry.
On impact of GST on healthcare industry
While GST has increased the cost of various medical equipment which is necessary for everyday life, the pharmaceutical companies are witnessing enhanced operational effectiveness, diminished manufacturing, and exchange costs and also enhanced compliance. Speaking from the patient's angle, there is no such perceptive impact of GST implementation in delivering health services to patients. And although, cost of treatment is up, we do not charge any GST from patients. Overall the GST thrust on healthcare looks optimal.