How to expand health care in a small Indian town
Senu Sam, Founder of MyKare, Highlights the Role of Technology in Improving Healthcare in Rural India
India has one of the largest populations in the world and the country has massive healthcare infrastructure to support this massive population. According to a report by NITI Aayog, “the healthcare sector has grown at a CAGR of 22% since 2016” and is said to continue to expand due to the high demand for supplies and services in urban and rural areas of the country. India.
The uneven distribution of healthcare infrastructure in India, on the other hand, is an important problem to overcome. 75% of India’s population lives in Tier 2 or 3 cities, while 80% of doctors and healthcare facilities are in Tier 1 cities; as a result, a large number of patients move from tier 2 and 3 cities to tier 1 cities for better treatment.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created both obstacles and opportunities for India to flourish. The crisis has flooded the market with Indian start-ups, many of which have risen to the occasion and accelerated the creation of low-cost, scalable and rapid solutions. Additionally, the pandemic has also accelerated the growth of telemedicine and home care business in the country. We saw a significant acceleration in telehealth in the first wave, but now is the time for a hybrid approach. Telehealth will not be the only solution for Tier 2 and 3 cities; instead, an inclusive paradigm of multiple technologies working together should be pursued.
Use of scanning and the Internet
To address the issue, India can utilize the growing internet penetration in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, which would aid in increased adoption of digital health in these areas. Along with this, enable more smart clinics, connected smart devices and care centers.
Need to improve primary health care system and need to connect it through technology
The government must improve its primary health care system because it is essential to make health systems more robust in the face of crisis situations, more proactive in identifying the first indicators of epidemics and better prepared to react quickly to increases. of the demand for services. We need to significantly strengthen our rural healthcare infrastructure by training more healthcare professionals and equipping them with connected technologies.
Hassle-free medical travel experience
Traveling for better treatment is quite widespread in India due to the uneven distribution of healthcare infrastructure. People travel from small towns to big cities for routine medical checkups, operations and major surgeries. However, due to an unstructured medical travel industry, getting proper accommodation and other travel arrangements are major pain points in this process.
Due to this problem, the demand for a hassle-free experience for patients traveling for treatment is skyrocketing. Few companies are trying to meet this need, but they do need the attention of governments and industry investors.
The sector urgently needs to be organized through the registration, accreditation and categorization of medical service providers. This will allow only registered and recognized companies to collaborate in order to create a trustworthy ecosystem while removing unwanted components.
Need to increase health workforce and poc centers
According to the Periodic Labor Force Survey (PLFS), only 9 lakh doctors (including AYUSH practitioners) and 8 lakh nurses and midwives were the hired healthcare personnel in India in 2019. This means we can count that India’s certified active health workforce density is as low as 11 to 12 doctors and nurses/midwives per 10,000 people.
Now, according to the WHO recommendation, a minimum of 22.8 health professionals is required per 10,000 people. Obviously, we have a huge gap here. However, recognizing the critical shortage of healthcare workers, the central government announced the establishment of new educational institutions to train doctors and nurses. The government has announced the establishment of 157 new medical schools and about 50 nursing schools in stages. Each year, these establishments are expected to train about 22,500 doctors and 2,000 nurses. The government still needs to take more programs to produce skilled healthcare workers.
Fast and advanced technology for diagnosis
Although they represent only about 2% of overall healthcare costs, diagnostics play a key role in disease prevention and management, influencing nearly two-thirds of all clinical decisions. Laboratory professionals and healthcare organizations are under increasing pressure to handle more samples, deliver the highest quality results as quickly as possible, and increase profitability. To solve this problem, we need to adopt more digitized methods to manage the diagnostic process.
While the new technology offers considerable advantages, the equipment offers another possibility for long-term gains: laboratory performance can be improved by redesigning the laboratory and harmonizing work routines. Additionally, the potential of data analytics and workflow integration will be used to gain insights and change the current standard in healthcare.
Timely diagnosis and treatment are essential; decreasing the pressure on the subways and improving the Tier 2 and Tier 3 city health systems will go a long way in speeding up the treatment process.
Need to increase insurance awareness and penetration
We also need to improve the penetration of health insurance in India, mainly in urban and rural areas, many people suffer when they have no financial coverage for their health. There is no doubt that the Indian government has implemented far-reaching and long-term structural reforms to boost the healthcare sector, as well as declared favorable policies to encourage FDI. Several short-term and long-term health system actions are included in the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan packages, including Production Linked Incentive (PLI) programs to increase local manufacturing of drugs and medical devices. In addition to educating people, we need more such policies to achieve the end goal.