In India, healthcare has become one of the fastest-growing economic sectors which comprise hospitals, pharma companies, medical equipment and devices, medical tourism, health insurance, clinical trials etc
Whilst the world has witnessed (and will continue to do so in 2022) a tumultuous two years in terms of the rampaging Covid-19 pandemic which has affected every country and society globally, it is also grappling with the other health issues caused by an ageing population and the growing tide of chronic diseases - both infectious and lifestyle-oriented. This means that challenging times still lie ahead of us but, on an optimistic note, there are new emerging trends in the medical and pharmaceutical industries which promise to transform the healthcare ecosystem in the coming year and beyond. One can safely say that in the next five years a lot of these may become a reality for the benefit of humanity as a whole.
Needless to say, technology will prove crucial to keeping the healthcare industry adaptive and resilient in the face of so many challenges.
Many innovations are on the anvil to accelerate the growth of healthcare delivery, both in the broader public health area as well as in the individualized patient care space. Global health initiatives, largely driven by agencies like the WHO, have been set up to tackle worldwide health threats and to mitigate the dangers which Covid-19 or any other similar pandemic may cause. These also include efforts to drastically control and reduce damages that are being caused due to climate change and narrow the economic gap between nations and communities which contributes to and enables humanity to live safer, longer and healthier lives. Pharmaceutical companies are making giant strides in developing new technology to create new drugs and formulations and, indeed, its delivery mechanisms to effectively create an entirely new class of medication. The new mRNA vaccine is a case in point and many such new treatment avenues are rapidly being developed. Governments and the national drug administration units are also actively playing a positive role to help accelerate and promote these new advancements. Pharma companies are increasingly deploying artificial intelligence and machine learning to increase the pace of development and deliver more cost-effective solutions. Digital and cognitive technologies are rapidly playing a decisive role to deliver swift, seamless and integrated care to individualized patient care needs. Telemedicine has even now become an accepted form of the healthcare consultative and treatment landscape. Privacy of healthcare data and its customised access to the individual is also proving a valuable tool in generating confidence in the patient's mind. Increasing R&D, both in the public and private sphere, will improve quality levels and enhance health outcomes in the pharmaceutical as well as hospital industries. Many hospitals are learning to deliver healthcare in the individuals home rather than admitting them as in-patients. Data analytics will play a vital role in promoting biomedical innovation as also boosting drug manufacturing and predicting accurate diagnosis results. Technology advancements such as artificial intelligence, wearable apps and other mobile technologies, along with the internet of things, offer several avenues for improving awareness and positive results.
In India, healthcare has become one of the fastest-growing economic sectors which comprise hospitals, pharma companies, medical equipment and devices, medical tourism, health insurance, clinical trials etc. All these sectors are now being actively promoted by both the central and state governments, as there is a fundamental realisation that investments in this sector not only promotes a healthy population but also will enable our youth to actualise its demographic dividend. Both components of the sector (public and private) cater to the primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare needs of the people. India also has access to a large pool of well-trained and cost-effective healthcare personnel which will continue to enhance our competitive advantage vis-a-vis other countries. The central government has also added to this by launching the Ayushman Bharat, e-hospital and eSanjeevani telemedicine initiatives which will go a long way to cater to the health needs of the people and reduce the disease burden all around. A ‘National Medical & Wellness Tourism Board’ to promote Medical and Wellness Tourism in India has also been established. Continuation of the National Ayush Mission, responsible for the development of traditional medicines in India, as a centrally sponsored scheme, has also been approved until 2026. Many new medical colleges are under various stages of implementation across India which will contribute to the welfare of society both in terms of administering treatment as also providing a large number of doctors and healthcare personnel. The Government of India has plans to increase public health spending to 2.5% of the country's GDP by 2025. India's competitive advantage lies in the improved success rate of Indian companies in getting Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) approvals. India’s pharma companies are now counted amongst the best in the world which has been proven comprehensively by the vaccine manufacturing capabilities and capacities of the many Indian companies which are involved in this. Indian medical service consumers have become more conscious of their healthcare upkeep and all sectors are gearing up to match these expectations. India is also at the forefront of the WHO defined global health initiatives and collaborative work which covers several areas such as AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, immunization programmes, maternal and child health, tobacco use, human resources, emerging diseases, nutrition, health promotion and health system strengthening. All of these programmes and initiatives are going to prove crucial in re-defining and improving India’s healthcare management and enhancing positive outcomes.
(The writer is the Jt. Chief Executive Officer, Masina Hospital, Mumbai)
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