State of Indian Healthcare

A need for uniformity

Pradeep Chowbey, Chairman, Max Institute of Minimal Access, Metabolic Bariatric Surgery, Max Superspeciality Hospital

The major challenge for Indian healthcare today is to provide a modicum of uniformity in healthcare services throughout the country.

Where does India stand with regards to the research happening in healthcare? What can be done to improve the scenario?

India has a very large pool of qualified scientific man power which is essential for research in healthcare. It therefore follows that India now forms a hub for basic and advanced research in healthcare. A lot of activity has taken place in this connection in the last few years and as the research protocols and infrastructure fall in place, there is going to be a quantum jump in these activities here.

What are your views on the current quality and patient safety standards in India? Are the standards good enough?

India is a large and diverse country where facilities and expertise in healthcare are varied in different regions of the country. Since there is such a lot of diversity in healthcare delivery systems across the country, standards of healthcare vary within the country. Currently, we are in the process of accrediting our healthcare delivery systems from reputed organisations within the country and abroad to ensure an acceptable level of quality and patient safety standards in India.

What are the current trends that are shaping the Indian healthcare sector?

Health insurance is a major factor that is shaping the development of the Indian healthcare sector at present.

How has the growth of the private sector changed India’s healthcare scenario?

The private sector has played a major role in advancing the frontiers of various specialities in medicine today. Healthcare services available with in the large private and corporate hospitals compare with the best globally.

What are your views on the current boom in the investments happening in Indian healthcare?

With an expanding middle class in the country and an opening of the economy, the investment boom in Indian healthcare was waiting to happen. It would appear that the current investments in Indian healthcare are being made with a medium to long-term perspective.

What challenges does Indian healthcare face today? How can they be overcome?

The Government needs to involve private and corporate healthcare providers to participate in providing basic and advanced healthcare facilities to the teeming masses in the country.

In the global arena, what do Indian healthcare providers need to do in order to become more competitive Strict and uniform accreditation procedures need to be adhered to ensure uniform and quality medical services. There is no shortage of qualified and trained medical specialists, doctors, nurses and technicians. What is needed are protocols and audit to ensure that the quality of healthcare services remains uniformly high.

Patient participation (patient-centred care) is a relatively new phenomenon in Indian healthcare. Can Indian hospitals benefit from this?

Patient centred care appears to be the bay that we are headed. Patient follow-up, supervision and guidance may be provided at home by qualified healthcare professionals. This in turn can save patients several trips to the hospital and also reduce demand for beds for admission to hospitals. Selected patients may be advised, supported and treated at home by appropriately trained healthcare delivery personnel. This would ensure high patients satisfaction, increased patient comfort and acceptable results in the long term.

I can foresee that patient centred care is likely to be a key driving element in the expansion of healthcare facilities in the country.

All over the world, the patient is becoming more and more knowledgeable about the options available to them. Is the same thing happening in India?

With the expansion of the Internet to all nooks and corners of the country, patient awareness has increased tremendously. This phenomenon seems to have caught on more in the larger metros and it is quite likely that a patient undergoing treatment has done research on the Internet (for good or bad).

What can today’s healthcare providers do to bring healthcare services to the poor?

A concerted private and governmental effort has to be made to reach out to the poor. Insurance companies shall, no doubt, be the key element in such a scenario.

As compared to developed economies, health insurance plays a relatively small role in Indian healthcare, what is your take on this issue?

The quality of healthcare services provided today in India varies quite a bit from one region to another. This may be due to a variety of factors ranging from infrastructure and equipment to expertise available in a region. In such a scenario, health insurance companies may be trying to assess and then work on healthcare services that are provided in the country. There is a rapid growth of healthcare insurance within the country and it appears that a much larger segment of the population would be covered by health insurance in some form in time to come.

Author Bio

Pradeep Chowbey

Pradeep Chowbey belongs to the cadre of the pioneer laparoscopic surgeons in India. He has graphed his career with singular determination to develop, evaluate and propagate Minimal Access, Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery in India. The advent of Laparoscopic surgery with his hands became a point in India's medical history.

Chowbey established the Minimal Access and Bariatric Surgery Centre, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi in 1996, which was the first of its kind in the Asian subcontinent.