Vikram Nair, Co-founder and CEO, PurpleHealth.com
● What are your views on the Healthcare market in India vis-à-vis the global market?
The Indian healthcare market is steadily growing in India and as the country grows in wealth, people are becoming much more knowledgeable about healthcare in general and are increasingly willing to pay for better care. As such the healthcare market will expand more rapidly relative to the rest of the world, presuming that the economy continues to grow faster than the global average.
● Your thoughts on budgetary allocation in healthcare?
The budget 17-18 has had some initiatives that are on the right track and will be appreciated in the areas of accessibility, expansion of care, institutional health improvements and furthering technology innovation.
The discussion of Bharat Net and "DidiGaon" for telemedicine is a great idea which will help in ensuring that the rural and underserved can get access to doctors and other health-care professionals. The addition of two new AIIMS is welcome, in terms of increasing the footprint of the highest level medical institutions in India. Creating Aadhaar based health cards is a great idea as it will help with accessibility, accountability and continuity of care, not to mention creating an invaluable first step in digitising records and creating useful data to measure health outcomes.
● What is your vision for Health and Family Welfare?What were the challenges you faced while implementing health services?
Purple Health’s goal as a company is to empower individuals, health services professionals and providers who use our technology. We look at healthcare with a holistic view which we think is the best approach for people and their families. In terms of health and family welfare, our focus is on improving accessibility, affordability, clarity and awareness. Because we are a technology company, it is important that on a fundamental level as many people as possible can access our platform. What is encouraging is that more and more people in India are becoming internet connected and are using devices such as smartphones as these technologies become cheaper, better and more pervasive. In general, this rapid change in the technological landscape will help us, as well as any company, that requires a tech enabled population. After that, it is incumbent on us to inform people about what we are doing and to ensure that we provide tangible value. That is the challenge for us to meet.
● 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?
Patients and consumers are better connected and more knowledgeable than ever due to the increasingly networked world that we live in. They are demanding better service and outcomes and because of the fact that they are more aware and can more easily find out information than ever before, there will be increasing pressure on all healthcare providers to deliver the best results possible. Technologies such as tele-health, remote monitoring, health related AI, robotics etc. will give patients more power in terms of making better informed decisions and achieving better outcomes. Healthcare companies that understand and accept the inevitable changes to the healthcare industry being brought by technological changes will be more successful in the long run and, most importantly, will better serve their patients and customers.
● How important is Public Private Partnership in making healthcare a success?
PPP in the healthcare sector is certainly important. Private healthcare is one of the fastest growing sectors in India with mushrooming of hospitals and wellness centres across metros and tier 2 cities.Hospitals are queuing up for accreditation; some are developing new healthcare models, and breaking fresh ground. At the same time, medical costs are increasing and getting out of reach for even the middle class. The public sector has seen many changes in the recent past as well and can leverage the knowledge gained in the private sector and vice versa as private institutions can learn from some of the very important work done by public institutions. Almost all reports on healthcare acknowledge that there are gaps to be filled and since we are a more aware industry today, we know of the problems at hand. Some states have already initiated interactions between the private and public sectors and we look forward to better results as a part of this arrangement.
● What according to you are the areas where government should invest to make healthcare available to everyone on the go?
Government should definitely invest in technology and help to create standards for all segments of the healthcare industry. As the healthcare industry becomes more and more technology enabled; pricing, medicines regulations and a lot of other issues at hand will need to be addressed and this requires a tech-savvy approach to healthcare by the government.
● 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?
Consistency and clarity in terms of standards, regulations and policy would be beneficial for all companies in the healthcare industry across the national and state level.
● Anything else you would like to tell us?
These are eventful times in the technology industry and in healthcare in particular. I believe that we are on the cusp of amazing changes in healthcare delivery and in terms of improvements in healthcare outcomes. I also feel that India has a great chance to be a leader in the healthcare sector globally, if we choose to meet that challenge.