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Healthcare Stalwarts Join Hands to Push for Positive Change

Kochi: Health and wellness industry players have joined hands to roll out a focused plan to address issues like paucity of management expertise, healthcare education standards, and policy among others, confronting the sector.

Analjit Singh, Founder and Non-Executive Chairman of Max India Group, Dr. Prathap C Reddy, Founder Chairman, Apollo Hospitals Group, Dr Naresh Trehan, Chairman & MD, Medanta – The Medicity, Prof. M C Mishra, Director, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, Daljit Singh, President, Fortis Healthcare Ltd, Mandar Vaidya, Partner, McKinsey & Company, Ajit Rangnekar, Dean, Indian School of Business  and Rahul Khosla, MD, Max India and Chairman, Max Healthcare deliberated on these issues at a panel discussion on the ‘Challenges facing Healthcare Sector in India’ in Delhi, on Wednesday.

The panelists agreed to collaborate on forward-looking, sector-specific policies and invest their time and experience in training health care industry professionals, to bridge the management skill gap for healthcare in the country. Analjit Singh is taking an active lead in taking this initiative forward that will have a positive impact on the Indian healthcare industry.

The discussion coincided with the launch of the  ISB’s Healthcare Management Programme (HMP), designed and developed by the Max Institute of Healthcare Management and the Centre for Executive Education at ISB. The one year part-time programme, scheduled to commence in January 2016, has been created for doctors in hospital management, professionals from the healthcare delivery and allied sectors, entrepreneurs and management consultants.

“For the first time, private healthcare providers have come together with an agenda to act for the industry. From improving healthcare education standards, developing management professionals to requesting the government to address industry needs, the agenda is to align as a force and come together as a sector, pool our resources and create pressure points to bring in change,” said Analjit Singh, after the panel discussion.

Ajit Rangnekar, Dean, ISB, further added, “The subject of healthcare is not just an issue of private, hi-end, tertiary hospitals but it’s a national problem. The simple issue in this country is that we have limited money and limited physical capacity and we have to make the most efficient and effective use of those resources. That is where a programme like this comes in- it’s for use for large chains, public hospitals and for small practitioners of medicine in small towns.”

With a cumulative experience of over 140 years and 25000 hospital beds between them, the industry leaders felt that there is a need to bridge the gap between experience and understanding consumer/patient needs.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof. M C Mishra, Director, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi said, “Currently, 80% of every rupee of investment in the health sector comes from private sector. There is a shortfall of 2 million doctors in India due to the underutilisation of resources in a sector, which is a huge problem as 50 percent of the existing medical force does not participate in the formal health care sector.”

Insurance can be a game changer and act as a catalyst for the next big move in the healthcare sector. Though nascent in India, it can change the trajectory of coverage and cost of healthcare delivery. A marriage of healthcare provider and insurer can provide a seamless experience.

Analjit Singh, further spoke about how the rising costs in healthcare led people to delay treatments, which further raised costs and increased death rates. India has one of the highest death rates due to diseases – 250 deaths per 1, 00,000 people as compared to the global average of 200 deaths per 1,00,000 people. Also, public spends on health care are as low as 1.2% GDP when compared against population growth. The global average is 5.4%.

Dr. Prathap C Reddy, Founder Chairman, Apollo Hospitals Group, stressed on the need for public-private co-operation in healthcare and said, “The government does well in primary care. It should work with the private sector in tertiary care and other services.”

Dr Naresh Trehan, Chairman and MD, Medanta – The Medicity, highlighted the need to fill the shortage of healthcare staff and ways to bridge the gap. He said, “ASHA health workers in villages can be trained to serve as frontline workers to bridge the gap.” He also highlighted the need for self-regulation within the healthcare industry to get rid of malpractices and establish an ethics module.

Ajit Rangnekar, Dean, ISB, closed the session by highlighting the facts about rising customer expectations and the importance of technology in healthcare as an enabler. He gave the example of leveraging big data by encouraging and training ASHA health workers to use tablets for collecting data, connecting with doctors among others. Most hospitals run on 75-85 percent capacity today and the excess capacity can be made available to the Government at a cost, he said.