COVID’19, to Pump More than Usual Investments in India’s Healthcare Industry– “Preparedness” is what “Prescribed” to the Private Players
“Challenging Times often Brings out the Best Out of Us” and the Current Pandemic is likely to Offer Similar When it Comes to the Indian Healthcare Industry
At outset of this new decade 2020, the world witnessed one of the biggest and toughest health crisis in the form of COVID’19. About 4.7 lakh people across the globe succumbed their lives to this pandemic over a span of just six months as on June 2020, with a count of infected one’s hovering around 90 lakhs. The scenario has been so critical that even the countries with best health infrastructure has been short on providing adequate medical facilities, with more and more cases getting registered every day. India being no different is also coping up with this tough time. It is pertinent to note that as on June 2020, the total COVID’19 positive cases in India stands to be 4.25 lakhs, i.e. approximately 5% of the total infected cases globally. Further, the country accounts nearly 3% of the total global deaths due to the current pandemic. But challenging times often brings out the best out of us, a great opportunity is underlying beneath the tough times and is likely to better shape the growth of the healthcare industry in India. The experiences gained during this time has demonstrated the potential fundamental shifts across the healthcare and well being continuum. These shifts include the design and construction of facilities, the training of healthcare workers, sourcing and inventory management of critical care equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE) materials, and the optimal settings for care delivery and how it is reimbursed. Some of these shifts were underway in the country before the pandemic was declared and likely will now be accelerated. Infact, well advance of the current scenario , the government of India recognized the need to reform the existing healthcare industry in the country. The testimony of this fact lies in the budgetary allocation of INR 690 Billion done for the sector in Union Budget 2020-21 on February 1, 2020. Not only this, the government also announced the expansion of its Ayushman Bharat scheme with setting up of more hospitals in Tier-II and Tier III cities of India through public-private partnership (PPP) mode. Not only in setting hospital infra, but the government is enhancing private participation across the healthcare industry. One of the biggest example of this is mushrooming of start-ups scaling virtual health offerings such as telemedicine. It is significant to note that many major hospitals in India have adopted telemedicine services and have entered number of PPPs tie ups which is likely to increase the said market at a CAGR of 22-27% by 2025. Some of the other identified important changes that the Indian health and well-being industry can witness and offer a potential market for the private players are – flexible design & construction of new facilities to ensure increased number of beds with a ability to quickly convert them into intensive/critical care beds , establishing an centralized ICU hub, virtual ICUs, use of artificial intelligence for operational excellence, robotic surgeries, separating ancillary functions such as imaging & test labs from core hospitals, accelerated transition to ambulatory care, technological advancements etc.