After Independence there has been a significant improvement, in the health status of people.
But the situation is not much better as per study of WHO. It has placed India in 112th position among 191 countries of the world, (Pooja Mahta).
“Unequal access, poor quality and rising costs are three key challenges faced by the healthcare industry,” claims Alpna Doshi, group CIO, Philips, at a session discussing the ‘Digitalisation of Healthcare’ at the Nasscom India Leadership Forum in Mumbai on Wednesday.
Several opportunities are emerging as a result of these challenges, points out Doshi, especialy in the area where technology and healthcare converge. Predictive analytics is a case in point. Companies focused on health tech like Philips, Seimens and GE among others, are drawing on big data to better diagnose patients’ symptoms and also more accurately predict problem areas that may crop up. Care is administered accordingly. Home care was cited as another area ripe for disruption. Devices that allow for remote monitoring and relay those statistics to physicians via mobile applications, reduce the costs associated with hospital visits. Access to good connectivity is key in this regard, so as to reach the remotest regions.
But along with access, healthcare needs to become affordable too. “While access to all will be there as connectivity improves, how can we make healthcare affordable?” asks Som Mittal, former president and chairman, Nasscom, who chaired the discussion. The high margins on healthcare devices make them unattainable to many. Mittal pointed out the government’s recent decision to cap the prices of coronary stents, which they found were being sold at margins of 300-400%. “Technology needs to be responsible,” he adds.