It is not every day that India's leading healthcare experts and Padma Shri Awardees grace the stage under one roof. At the BW HealthcareWorld Bharat Swasth Mahotsav 2022, we witnessed them outline the current-day landscape of the industry, helping us gauge the future better.
Having each of them contributed to making quality healthcare affordable and accessible to all, Dr Randeep Gulleria, Director, AIIMS, New Delhi set the tone with his comments on holistic health, which is irrespective of anyone's socio-economic status, caste, creed or place they belong to. "Holistic health doesn't require you to spend out of your pocket. It means preventive and curative health. Looking at health which also includes alternative treatment strategies available as part of the Indian culture."
Dr Balram Bhargava, Former DG, ICMR spoke on the government's framework in enabling this accessibility and affordability further, "The Indian healthcare is not glorified enough. In the last 25 years, there is plenty of excellent work by the Indian healthcare system but nothing has been glorified as much as IT, Bollywood or cricket.
It is important that there is a framework for preventive and promotive healthcare. The current scenario is trying to meet the requirement at a rapid pace but the quality must also be maintained," he emphasises.
Having revolutionised the diagnostic industry, Dr Arvind Lal, Chairman, Dr. Lal’s Path Lab gave us a sense of its evolution in the past years. "Medicine has become more evidence-oriented as compared to gunshot medicine. 70 per cent of clinical decisions are based on lab tests today and this must be recognised by everybody. With path labs getting accredited in 2000 and hospitals in 2006, I believe we have come a long way," he assured.
Diving deep into his expertise, Dr Vaidya Kotecha, National Member, NAHEP External Advisory Panel and Secretary, Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India, New Delhi commented on how India is still rooted in its age-old medical heritage and ensuring it stands relevant today as well. "Between 2014-2000, the traditional medicine sector grew by 6 times, which is a testimony of its demand. Additionally, assessing the impact of AYUSH intervention during Covid times, with a sample size of 1.47 crores (1 per cent of our population), it was found that 89.9 per cent of people utilised one of the AYUSH's assessments for Covid treatment. This signals the huge undercurrent in the ground that is yet to be acknowledged," he said.
Mr Girish Krishnamurthy, MD & CEO, Tata Medical & Diagnostics then delved into how technology has made inroads in the healthcare sector. Talking of the Oncology sector in specific, he explained, "We followed 1800 oncologists for one of the studies. It was found that 52 per cent of their time was spent on non-clinical activities and 35 per cent of time was spent on admin work. This is a common problem in all areas of medicine. Hence, with technology's intervention, a lot of potential can be unleashed."
Summing up, Dr Ravi Shankar, Medical Affairs, Viatris shared how any infectious disease can be eradicated by attending to the three prime areas- the right diagnosis, ensuring that the patient is treated well & doesn't spread the disease and prevention.
While the Indian healthcare system has made significant strides, there still remains a long road to travel. Experts await the next level of intervention from the government and suggest how healthcare must be looked at as a service and just an ROI-driven area.