Ravi Bhandari, CEO, Shalby Hospitals, Ahamedabad
Universal Health Access and Right to Health seem to be the emerging trend of the healthcare industry worldwide. Therefore, the healthcare industry, including that in India has slowly started embracing concepts like, health outcome, efficient care, and health consumerism etc. as the customer is getting more empowered. The coming decade would be the decade of the well-informed customer. Healthcare providers need to be more focused on value-based and patient-focused care rather than embarking on volume-based business model. The patient behavior with respect to traditional healthcare delivery will drastically change as the customers want to assume control of their health. Beyond the hospital would be the cult of the decades that are to dawn in India as well, as the healthcare sector has many challenges to overcome as compared to demand and supply position. Therefore, connecting with the customer in their most convenient way, cost effectively and engaging them with healthcare services and products would be the emerging trends of the Indian healthcare sector. Adoption of newer technologies for mass connect, patient-specific connect, and geographical connect will play a major role for the growth of the Indian healthcare sector in the coming decade.
Though the Indian healthcare industry encompasses both healthcare institutions and providers from public and private sectors, healthcare still remains unaffordable to a large section of the society. The public expenditure on health in India is around 1 percent of the GDP, which when compared with other nations, is one of the lowest in the world. Even with all the progress we have made so far in the healthcare sector, India even today has one of the weakest infrastructures in the world with 1.3 beds per 1000 people. To address the current and emerging challenges of the healthcare industry, India needs to start addressing them from the very grass root level of transforming the primary healthcare system into a robust and integrated one. The new improved system should be focused on effective measuring, monitoring, and overall health management which is beyond episodic and facility-based care. This way India can help individuals achieve their own personal health goals and continuous maintenance of wellness. Extending the ambit of health insurance coverage to out-patient services as well will encourage the mass to seek primary healthcare. Promoting healthy behavior among individuals is one of the biggest opportunities for improving the healthcare outcomes with respect to prevention and management of chronic diseases. About 30 percent of chronic illnesses in India are direct outcomes of individual behavior. The government's novel initiative of Swachh Bharat is a well thought step in this direction.
The Indian consumers are also seeking value for better outcomes with the emerging consumerism wave. Self-management of health and wellness is one of them. The most searched information on the net, according to a recent study, is about exercise and fitness, followed by details about preventive measures and hospitals. Providing better customer experience through healthcare deliveries, which satiates the emerging expectation of the modern tech-savvy customer is the cherished aim of every healthcare company in this digital era. Data mining and analytics through business intelligence will dominate the healthcare domain in the coming decades. India's growing population and developing economy will pave way for greater integration of digital technologies in the healthcare sector in the ensuing decade. Affordability, accessibility, quality, and convenience would be the drivers of growth in the Indian healthcare sector. India with its cost advantage in healthcare, especially in the surgical field, will be able to consolidate its strength in healthcare deliveries with the help of new technology absorption in the emerging decade.
Consumerism, the world over has been an unstoppable force bringing in change across industries. The Indian customer has been of late experiencing the changes in industries like banking, retail, telecom, hospitality etc. and they will expect the same change in the healthcare industry as well as a satisfaction index. In the coming years, people will expect healthcare to deliver what they have in other areas of their lives – connectivity, mobility, agility, and tool for immediate self-direction. In short, the healthcare industry has to gear up meeting customer expectations of efficiency, patient rights thorough empowerment, ease of accessibility of information, and services though digital technology for tele-health and homecare.