Awareness, Accessibility, Affordability, Accountability and Quality have become key drivers to give the renewed push to the healthcare sector as the raging COVID-19 pandemic crisis has brought the world together in ways unimagined.
Awareness, Accessibility, Affordability, Accountability and Quality have become key drivers to give the renewed push to the healthcare sector as the raging COVID-19 pandemic crisis has brought the world together in ways unimagined. To deliberate on some of the burning issues on healthcare in the current Pandemic situation, the Financial Express is organising the FE Healthcare Summit from 18 to 20 August, 2021 .
COVID-19 pandemic crisis has taught us best practices in terms of not only making right investments but also how to manage the current crisis including monitoring patients with respiratory failure, stabilizing patients with critical illness and remote interaction between patients and their family.
First talk on the second day of the Summit is on a very relevant subject –“Investment in health care – the need of the hour”
Inadequate access to capital has been one of the biggest roadblocks for the growth of Indian healthcare sector. Today, the government spends only about 1.4 per cent of its GDP on healthcare, which is one of the lowest spends globally. There is a need to focus more on raising investment in healthcare in the country.
Factors like an aging population, a growing middle class, the rising proportion of lifestyle diseases and increased emphasis on public-private partnerships as well as accelerated adoption of digital technologies together have made India’s healthcare industry ripe for investment.
India’s healthcare industry has been growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of around 22% since 2016. At this rate, it is expected to reach USD 372 billion in 2022. Healthcare has become one of the largest sectors of the Indian economy, in terms of both revenue and employment.
In order to get the most out of the Union government’s production linked incentive (PLI) scheme, most of the North Indian states are gearing up to woo investors into pharmaceutical manufacturing and also attract micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to expand their production activities.
Second talk on the second day is on the subject –“Enroute towards a conducive policy in healthcare”.
National Health Policy (NHP) and National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) are the main drivers for achieving the goal of Universal Health Coverage (UHC). Healthcare Providers, Health Insurers, Diagnostics, Medical Technology companies and other stakeholders need to collaborate in order to contribute to the success of NHPS.
Stakeholder engagement is the key to effective implementation of these policies and schemes. The government has been engaging with various segments while creating a new institutional framework to take Indian healthcare ecosystem to the next level. As part of Ayushman Bharat Mission, NHPS would require strong partnerships among stakeholders.
Government’s focus on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is expected to offer several opportunities for diverse stakeholders of healthcare sector. Presently, a very small percentage of the population in the country has health insurance coverage. Out-of-pocket expenses are very high at around 60 per cent and the new scheme is expected to help people to meet their healthcare needs.
Third talk of the second day is on “Telehealth 2.0: Building a robust structure”
Digital Health is today playing a critical role in driving healthcare accessibility to the remotest town. For effective implementation, National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) needs to be digitally empowered in terms of collection and sharing of data.
The latest Telemedicine Practice Guidelines have encouraged remote care. This is a sure way to ensures expert advice is only a click away. During the current Pandemic crisis, hospitals have managed to rapidly set-up remote critical care of internal and external patients with respiratory failure and remotely watch over patients to safely deliver care. Skilling up remote teams to handle more complex disease locally in a safe manner is an opportunity to remotely teach infection control practices.
Fourth talk of the second day is on “M-health and the India story”
Remote care for India is the way forward to ensure everyone has access to critical care
Patients and their families are very comfortable communicating over video and are able to share their medical concerns irrespective of the time of day or night. Tele-ICU, often called e-ICU or electronic ICU is an emerging model of collaborative systems based success story in the country. Its expansion into rural India is the need of the hour to create the ability to locally manage severe respiratory failure cases. Tele-ICU model has also enhanced its outreach with remote monitoring devices that can even evaluate heart and lung sounds as well as function.
Fifth talk of the second day is on “The Diagnostic Play”
Timely diagnosis at the comfort of home is a new paradigm emerging out of the Covid-19 pandemic crisis. Since patients prefer to get their diagnostic tests done at home, home-based diagnostics has seen a huge uptick due to COVID-19 related restrictions.
Pharma logistics sector has also seen increased activity in the past one year or so fuelled by growing demand from home-based diagnostics sector. The pharma industry has seen an increase in the related activities and has streamlined its supply chain to cater to this increased demand.
Unlike pharmacy, the diagnostics space in the country is largely unregulated. There are over a lakh diagnostic centres and labs in the country and less than one per cent are of high quality and accredited. Approximately 40 per cent of this is organized.
COVID-19 has brought in increasing levels of awareness around not only good sanitation practices, health and hygiene but also women health, mental health and towards building a conducive healthcare ecosystem.
Consumers can now look forward to hear from the industry towards a healthy future
The first topic of the third day of the Summit is on “Health & Hygiene – Two sides of a coin”
There is now a growing consciousness around surface disinfection and hand hygiene going forward. Before the onslaught of the pandemic, the public awareness about personal hygiene was much less. These behavioural changes will be a part of the new normal in the long-run as everyone is now more vocal and well informed about personal hygiene and health.
There is also an increasing regulatory oversight and control for good quality products like sanitizers and disinfectants in the market.
The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has directed the state drug controllers (SDCs) to expedite the licensing of manufacturers of sanitizers. A few relaxation measures are also advised by the central government like permission on account of licensing and storage of ethyl alcohol which is one of the major components in the manufacturing of sanitizer.
Experts have recommended patented anti-pollution products which can reduce particulate matter (PM) and other dust aerosols for effective airborne infection control.
In India, there are many young and old people who suffer from allergies and diseases, especially of the lungs. These allergies are energy sapping and fatal in many cases.
The second topic of the third day is on “Women’s Health – for a Better Society”
There is a need for access to effective interventions such as reducing malnutrition, preventing anemia and improving access to essential health services including effective contraception towards Women’s Health. This has become more profound in the context of current pandemic.
Early detection and treatment for conditions such as cervical cancer help increase survival rates as many women are diagnosed only after the disease is in an advanced stage, leading to higher case fatality. As noted by the US CDC, since the human papillomavirus (HPV) is the main cause of cervical cancer, vaccination among school-aged girls is another critical intervention.
The promotion of breastfeeding – which protects against diarrhea, respiratory infections, and obesity — also helps prevent NCDs and protects against infection, apart from its nutritional benefits. Screening for gestational diabetes and screening for and prevention of malaria, HIV, and tuberculosis could also be part of an integrated antenatal care program with multiple benefits.
The third topic of the third day is on “Inner Peace – Maintaining a Mental Balance”
Intervention in the form of proper counselling is one of the best ways to address the main cause of mental disorder as mental health is as important as physical health. A counselling session with a psychologist can help find the main cause of the problem and help a person deal with it naturally. Counselling can help deal with various problems around mental trauma, depression, anger, anxiety, addiction amon others.
Drugs do not cure mental health problems completely as in some cases they do help to reduce symptoms or help to cope with the symptoms in a better way. Whether you are offered medication or not it depends upon diagnosis of the symptoms and how severely it is effecting.
The fourth topic of the third day is on “From global to local – a glocal healthcare system”
There has been tremendous public – private poised to happen towards a glocal healthcare system.
National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) has been hailed as a move towards patient centric care with Prime Minister terming the initiative will revolutionise health sector in India. Such platform has become a need of the hour to serve as a focal point of the healthcare ecosystem.
Under the NDHM, each patient will be given an ID card on which confidential medical data, such as prescriptions, diagnostic reports will be stored. This is a big step in getting the ecosystem of providers, insurance and digital health players to work together and make Indian healthcare accessible, affordable, standardized and patient centric.
Government is planning to transform 1.5 lakh sub health centres and primary health centres into health and wellness centres across the country to roll out Comprehensive Primary Health Care (CPHC) plan as part of Ayushman Bharat (AB).
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