Dr. Shalini Ratan

 

 

Healthcare is one of India’s largest sectors, in terms of revenue and employment, and the sector is     expanding rapidly. It is going beyond its “institutional” role. {1}

Healthcare is taking a transition from a “Disease-centric” to a “Patient-centric” approach. It is extending its role from treatment to prevention and up to healthy lifestyle. Today it is not only about medicine and treatment but also about self management, fitness, diet and wellness.

 

Healthcare users are continuously growing in number. One growth driver for this is India’s booming population, currently 1.1 billion and increasing at a 2% annual rate 2. This is due to a decline in infant mortality rate and extended longevity. The ageing of the population and the prevalence of chronic diseases is increasing the need for hospitalization. This would lead to an increase demand of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, beds and an increase in cost per treatment.

There is a rise in diseases like dengue fever, viral hepatitis, tuberculosis, malaria, and pneumonia. They have returned in force or have developed a stubborn resistance to drugs along with emergence of diseases such as AIDS as well as food- and water-borne illnesses. {2}

Another growth marker is the expanding urbanization and increase in the middle class with more disposable income to spend on healthcare.

People have become more conscious about healthcare and there is a growing demand for better quality of care. Today Indian patients are evolving as consumers with increased awareness of their health maintenance.

Healthcare is gradually coming to the patient’s doorsteps for early disease management. Healthcare clinics, health spas, wellness centers, pharmacy chains are emerging as the innovative healthcare delivery models to give a better access to various support services to the people.

The medicine supply system is getting improved in the country by procuring generic drugs and distributing these for free to patients. 

Newer technologies like diagnostic and imaging methods, better prescription drugs, transplants and innovative methods of performing surgeries are also changing the face of healthcare. Health information technology is becoming a strong connect between healthcare providers and consumers. 

In this era of “Healthcare Boom” the medical professionals face lot of challenges. This can be related to newer techniques, corporate hospitals, changing mindset of patients or current medical practices

Today the patient is a consumer and is also well informed. He has needs as well as demands from the healthcare providers. Retaining patient and getting new referrals is more challenging today, unlike yesterday.

The time of family physician where the patient was truly dependent on his doctor does not exist anymore. Now the patient is open for a “Second Opinion” than being a loyal patient to a family doctor.

So with the changing time of healthcare and patients, even the medical professionals are required to have a re-look into the ways of Traditional Medical Practice. This would require a new approach towards Patient Satisfaction.

Medical Practice would need to get Re-defined.

References:

 1.      Silvio Bonfiglio: Changes in Healthcare: towards a “patient-centric” approach.
 2.      Emerging Market Report: Health in India 2007 Price waterhouse Coopers