‘Global Companies Have An Unprecedented Opportunity To Facilitate Transformation In Healthcare’
Monish Gaurav Chatrath, Managing Partner of MGC & KNAV Global Risk Advisory LLP, talks about the challenge in India is in the context of the ability and means of the intended beneficiaries to leverage on various healthcare schemes that have been announced
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The Indian healthcare sector is under-served, under-consumed and mismatched (from a demand and supply perspective), but it is viewed as one of the most attractive markets for this sector on a global platform. “Global organizations have an unprecedented opportunity to facilitate the transformation,” says Monish Gaurav Chatrath, Managing Partner of MGC & KNAV Global Risk Advisory LLP, who is currently advising a slew of foreign healthcare companies on their impending India journey. “India needs to be more affordable, more qualitative in terms of patient care and more equitable in terms of distribution of medical delivery, says Chatrath, adding, “The challenge in India is in the context of the ability and means of the intended beneficiaries to leverage on various healthcare schemes that have been announced.”
Could you reflect on the key opportunities and challenges in the Indian healthcare sector today?
On one part the healthcare sector is under-served, under-consumed and mismatched (from a demand and supply perspective), while on the other part, India is viewed as one of the most attractive markets for this sector on a global platform. Global organizations have an unprecedented opportunity to facilitate the transformation, which is inevitable in the healthcare sector in India due to the burgeoning push factor. While value-based treatment that seeks to meet the requirements of consumer centric targeted therapies is the need of the hour in India, what is creating a multiplicity of complexities at the current juncture is the dynamics at play in the context of industry risks, innovation, consumerism and regulation in this sector. The Indian healthcare sector is relatively diversified and is seeing enhanced competitiveness in every perceivable activity within its main verticals, which are hospitals, medical devices and equipment, clinical trials, outsourcing, tele-medicine and medical tourism. The increasing role of the private sector that is gradually easing the dependency on the government-provided health infrastructure, is an aspect that provides encouraging signals for investors in the private sector. The real potential lies in expanding the outreach of affordable healthcare to the population living below the poverty line and in rural areas.
What are the lessons that India can learn from the global healthcare systems?
In keeping with best practices in the global healthcare systems, four significant changes are required in Indian healthcare; it needs to be more accessible, more affordable, more qualitative in terms of patient care and more equitable in terms of distribution of medical delivery.
Countries like Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Norway, New Zealand, Netherlands, Qatar, Sweden, Switzerland, Singapore and Luxembourg have consistently scored exceptionally well in terms of the aforesaid aspects. Norway's healthcare system, for instance, is free for children under 16 and its government spends more per person on healthcare than any other country. Belgium, on the other hand, has a universal healthcare that also requires mandatory health insurance for its citizens. While Israel has the 8th highest life expectancy on the planet ( 82.5 years), Australia is ranked as the healthiest nation in the southern hemisphere with an average life expectancy of 82.8, which is the 4th highest in the world. The healthcare industry in the US is by and large successful in pioneering R&D in order to provide new age products that give a whole new dimension to the health services industry through heightened expertise and personalized care. Each region has developed the best methods and practices suitable for their people.
In India, one of the biggest challenges is to make healthcare affordable to the masses. What are your views on it and how can that be achieved?
Several European countries have a social insurance model that requires medical costs to be shared between the government, employers and individuals. While the US places a special focus on the poor and the elderly, the philosophy in counties like Canada, UK, Japan, Thailand, Sri Lanka is even more profound with the provision of health services, both in government and private facilities, being undertaken in a manner that demonstrate the government’s obligation to ensure that citizens of the country do not undergo unnecessary and excessive financial hardships in their medicare.
The challenge in India is in the context of the ability and means of the intended beneficiaries to leverage on various healthcare schemes that have been announced. There is an impending shortfall in terms of the real coverage of schemes like Central Government Health Scheme and the Employment State Insurance Scheme within hospitals and facilities therein in both rular and urban areas. The Aysuhman Bharat Health Insurance Scheme is an upgraded version of the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana and while this brings about the much needed increase in the amounts being assured, for this scheme to be effective in terms of the provision of the right, qualitative and effective medicare at affordable prices, facilities in hospitals in rural areas need to be considerably upgraded and the awareness levels of the intended beneficiaries enhanced so that they can derive the benefits from such schemes. Historically, the bane of a relatively poor off take of such schemes is widespread illiteracy, inadequate of information, poor connectivity and weak coordination.
The gap between financing and quality healthcare delivery in rural and urban areas need to be bridged and this aspect presents a pervasive and intense challenge in itself. The National Health Protection Scheme seeks to cover 10 crore families with the provision of Rs 5 lakhs annually per family for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation. This requires adequacy of funds in the allocation and more importantly the utilisation of the allocated funds for the benefit of the intended beneficiaries, with enhanced assess to qualitative medical care (with an increase in the empanelment of private hospitals and coverage of treatments), enhanced governance, closer regulatory oversight and cohesive and complimentary working with the state run schemes that are already in existence.