Dr P.M. Bhujang, President, Association of Hospitals, Mumbai
The opening up of the Indian economy during the early nineties heralded an era of unprecedented industrial growth in India. A confident and resurgent Indian industry is making forays into almost all sectors of economy. Lately, the huge opportunities for growth within the domestic and global healthcare sector have attracted the attention of Indian industry. Today with various government initiatives to foster the healthcare economy, India has become one of the largest industries for the healthcare sector in terms of revenue and employment. The Indian healthcare system has notched up several significant achievements over the last 50 years particularly in terms of life expectancy, infant mortality rate, and success in dealing with various dreaded diseases. However, easy accessibility of quality healthcare and affordability to the citizens at large are key concerns.
Technology in the last two decades has revolutionized the way healthcare is delivered worldwide. It has greatly aided patients and providers alike by enhancing the quality of delivery, reduction in turnaround time of workflows, and thus the overall cost, besides bringing in higher accountability into the system. In 2015, the government had launched the Digital India campaign and e-health to provide economical and healthcare services to people who have very little access to healthcare services.
Advancements in MedTech are playing a positive role in saving lives. Healthcare industry and MedTech cannot be overstated; as a result of the development of these brilliant innovations, healthcare practitioners can continue to find ways to improve their best practice – from better diagnosis, surgical procedures, and improved patient care. The influence of MedTech is all-pervasive – its positive impact is not only limited to the upper crust of society but has also helped the poorer lot. With the increased use of electronic medical records (EMR), telehealth services, and mobile technologies, physicians and patients are both seeing the benefits that these new medical technologies provide. Medical scientists and physicians are conducting their uninterrupted research and testing new procedures to help, prevent, diagnose, and cure diseases as well as develop new drugs and medicines that can lessen symptoms or treat ailments.
India's competitive advantage lies in its large pool of well-trained medical professionals. India is also cost competitive compared to its peers in Asia and Western countries. Health information technology is an outspread concept that encompasses an array of technologies to store, share, and analyze health information. Hospitals and doctors have planned to move healthcare to the next level. Developed countries have been working on this platform and have been very successful at combining healthcare with the IT industry for the enchantment of citizen's welfare.
India is also taking preventive measures to create effective vaccines for H1N1 influenza and other vaccines are being developed at Hyderabad's Bharat Biotech. Government has taken strong e-health initiatives such as Mother & Child Tracking System, which means a pregnant woman is provided with health services throughout her delivery and facilitation centers also take care of her child's need till the age of 5. India has a wide range of opportunities in R&D and health tourism. The Indian pharmaceutical companies are conducting research to compete with western companies and there is an increased success rate of Indian companies in getting Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA).
MedTech shows a rapid growth in terms of therapeutic equipment and also the techniques of diagnosis. 90 percent of the doctors are storing their patient's record in electronic format. This data collection is available to scientists online which helps them get access to data to conduct their future research and use the information more effectively.
WHO estimates a minimum ratio of 1:1000, which translates to 1 doctor for 1700 patients in India. There is a convergence of technology, medicine, and human progress. Technology has extensively revolutionized the healthcare industry today and has already figured out the future of Digital India.