A nation’s growth just not depend upon its industrial,agricultural and service balance sheets. It equally depends upon the countries performance in human development indices. The program of health care is one of the critical measures of how the nation is performing, for a country like India it is even more important.

With the WHO 2000world health report ranking India’s healthcare at 112 out of 190 countries. For the people in urban area, healthcare is merely a political issue, while the population growth rate for India has steadily gone down, it is still over 1.3% and not expected to go down below 1% in the near future. Another important note is that our population aged above 60 years is expected to grow around 193 million, compared to the 96 million in 2010. This change in the population pyramid is expected to increase the demand of healthcare in general and lifestyle particularly.

India has witnessed a rapid increase in levels of wealth and disposable incomes in the past decades,which goes along with the standard of living and health care,which in turn has led to an increase in spending on healthcare. Lifestyle related diseases comprise 13% of total diseases in India according to 2008 and this number is expected to increase by 20% by 2018. This leads to an additional demand for specialized treatment.

While the opportunity to enter the market is very ripe, India still spends only around 4.2% of its national GDP towards healthcare and goods and services. Additionally there are wide gaps between rural and urban population in its healthcare system, which worsens the problem. And 70% of the population still lives in rural areas and has no or limited access to hospitals and clinic, the rural population mainly depend on alternative medicine and government rural health clinics. One such government program is NUHM, which pays individuals for health care premium, in partnership with various private parties,which is found to be ineffective to date. On the other hand urban centers have better private hospitals and clinics providing quality healthcare,with well experienced doctors and access to preventive medicines and quality clinics which are a result of better profitability for investors compared to the not so profitable rural areas. Another important factor driving India’s healthcare landscape is  high out of pocket expenditure, where most of the Indian patients pay for their hospital visits and doctor’s appointments with straight up cash after care with no payment arrangements.

According to World Bank and National commissions report on Macroeconomics only 5% of Indians are covered by healthcare insurance policies, there is a penetration of health insurance market, which has increased over the years, it has been one of the fastest growing business in India.

The Indian government plays an important role in running several safety health insurance programs for high risk population including the community health insurance program for population, growing need to fix its basic health concerns in the areas of HIV, malaria, TB & diarrhea, additionally children under five are born underweight and roughly 7% of them die before their fifth birthday, and another fact is that only a small percentage of population has access to quality sanitation for primary healthcare, Indian government spends only about 30% of country’s total healthcare budget, which is just a fraction of what the US & UK spend every year.

A solution for this problem is by standardizing diagnostic procedures, building clinics in rural areas and developing streamlined Health IT systems. There is an increased need for skilled medical graduates, especially in rural areas, which fail to attract new graduates because of financial reason and a major portion of them go abroad.

According to the Indian Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), India is the third-largest exporter of pharmaceutical products in terms of volume. Around 80% of the market is composed of generic low-cost drugs which seem to be the major driver of this industry.

The increase in the ageing population, rising incomes of the middle class, and the development of primary care facilities are expected to shape the pharmaceutical industry in future. The government has already taken some liberal measures by allowing foreign direct investment in this area which has been a key driving force behind the growth of Indian pharma.

The medical devices sector is the smallest piece of India’s healthcare. Even though it is one of the fastest growing sectors in the country like the health insurance market. Recently the government has been positive on clearing regulatory hurdles regarding the import-export of medical devices and has set a few standards around clinical trials.

The amount spend on healthcare in India is far below the global averages. According to the nature of health care system in India, many hospitals are now demanding for the need of ‘patient centered care’, where the patient is in the center of the approach. Another arising approach is ‘integrated healthcare’, it is not about bearing insurance risk, but it is about networks and connections, particularly between different organizations, which focuses the quality of healthcare delivery to patients. Their main objective is to ensure most effective care is provided whenever needed. Connected health provides improved coordinated care, disease management and use clinical practice guidelines to help to reduce errors and to improve the quality of care provided. The features of connected health is that the involvement of IT, for planning and conducting.

There should be exchange of healthcare information between the clinicians and with the patients, use advanced methods for analysis of data, clinical decision making, deepening the connectivity reducing medical errors.


February 7, 2018


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