Enough has been talked about how India is a country of diaspora. It’s emerging to be a global hub for advanced research across industries, home to some of the leading companies in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, connected solutions and medical services. We have increasingly seen an influx of medical tourist not only coming to India for comparatively lower costs of treatment but also feeling assured of benefiting from best in class treatment.
Yet we continue to be a country which fails to provide adequate medical treatment to a vast majority of its population.
- We underestimate the paucity of medical services and adequate medical treatments when we say 70% of India’s rural population has limited medical access. Multi-specialty hospitals and specialist doctors are restricted to Metros and Tier 1 towns, with a handful of GPs/ retired doctors spread through rest of the cities.
- Within cities public hospitals are overcrowded with limited beds catering to population flowing in from rural/ smaller towns to city dwellers- those who can afford the commute and to an extent cost of subsidized treatment
- Private hospitals with limited capacities often have to turn away patients due to shortage of beds, or simply have long waiting even for critical interventions.
Yet there is hope. There is hope if we embrace new delivery models in medical care and embrace technology to lower cost of medical care and rapidly expand medical reach.
eICU: A platform to enable remote monitoring and care of critical patients miles away has been in existence for years; and is being used in US/ Australia and many more countries- in fact we have some over sees hospitals tapping into the skills of our intensivists based in India. A strong PPP model – which leverages this technology to reach out to thousands of government healthcare centers across the country can help quickly upgrade those centers- as first level critical care centers; providing needed life saving treatment.
Connected Devices and Monitoring Systems: These devices record patient vitals and relay them to a physician who can be based anywhere in the country- enabling e consulting. Patients don’t need to then travel or que up in larger cities, and more than 70% of the population then gets access to doctors across specialties in larger cities.
Portable devices: Globally patients are benefiting due to speed and lower costs brought in by portable devices- on spot laboratory tests, ultrasounds , X rays , and much more- costs and availability of these devices continues to be high or restricted with high duties and regulations.
Healthcare@home or simply medical treatment away from hospitals under set protocols and care plans would ease the load on doctors, hospitals and significantly reduces costs.
The above advancements reduce infrastructure and capital costs, and limit the need for physical proximity of a physician- at least for a vast majority of frequent ailments.
– “ Richa Singh” CEO, Philips Healthcare@home