6 October 2018: 0945 hrs: ITC Sonar : Kolkata

Welcome to Healthcare East 2018

Healthcare has become one of India’s largest sectors - both in terms of revenue and employment. The Indian healthcare sector is growing at a brisk pace due to its strengthening coverage, services and increasing expenditure by public as well as private players. The healthcare market will increase three fold to Rs 8.6 trillion (US$ 133.44 billion) by 2022. Between April 2000 and December 2017, the hospitals and diagnostic centers attracted Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) worth US$ 4.99 billion, according to data released by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). India’s competitive advantage lies in its large pool of well-trained medical professionals. There is a significant scope for enhancing healthcare services considering that healthcare spending as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is rising. Rural India, which accounts for over 70 per cent of the population, is set to emerge as a potential demand source.

Striding towards progress, the healthcare domain in Eastern India is at a turning point. Looking ahead for an optimal infrastructural transformation coupled with high end technological services, the eastern region healthcare fraternity is burgeoning towards a robust growth. Eastern India have repositioned itself as a forward-looking state and they are enabling to become a major healthcare hub for neighboring countries like Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and Nepal as these regions healthcare services are yet to achieve desired levels. The healthcare sector in West Bengal and North Eastern region is garnering enough steam as each state government is focusing in the reforms and policies of the domain. They are implementing different financial mechanisms as well as governmental reforms and policies. Combating multiple challenges like paucity of funds, lack of physical infrastructure and policies, eastern India is now progressing towards building a comprehensive, affordable healthcare for all.

Based on a report published by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, public healthcare expense is amounting to not more than 0.5 per cent individually in all north eastern states except Assam where the healthcare spending the public health sector is almost 2.5 per cent of the state’s GDP. All the states except Assam in NE India fare quite low than the national average of one per cent of GDP spending on healthcare sector by the government. Experts cite that higher spending on healthcare sector will be welcoming steps as there are various avenues to invest on to improve the healthcare delivery system like:

  • Establishment of educational institutes to produce more trained manpower
  • Setting up of new healthcare facilities in deprived locations
  • Up-gradation of existing facilities to improve efficiency
  • Better technology for better clinical outcome
  • Continuous training efforts for existing employees, etc.

With the advent of globalization and the emergence of the culture of consumerism, there is increasing tendency among people to travel in search of better quality and affordable healthcare options. Besides providing better treatment options to patients, it is also gaining strategic importance given its ability to create employment, encourage cultural exchanges, improve positioning of the country by projecting its ‘soft power’ and earn foreign exchange for respective countries.

Medical tourism has evolved rapidly in the last two decades. Preferred destinations for Medical Value Travel (MVT) has moved away from the developed markets of US and Western Europe to developing markets especially in Asia. Rise of Asian economies and emergence of concept of MVT as a growth opportunity saw several Asian countries establishing themselves as new hubs for MVT. India is one of the key MVT destinations in Asia with over 6 lakhs foreign patients seeking treatment. India is also cost competitive compared to its peers in Asia and Western countries. The cost of surgery in India is about one-tenth of that in the US or Western Europe. For that reason, India is experiencing 22-25 per cent growth in medical tourism and the industry is expected to double its size from US$ 3 billion to US$ 6 billion by the end of 2018. Medical tourist arriving in India has increased to 1.07 million in January 2018 from 0.98 million in January 2017.

It revealed that cost effectiveness, superior clinical outcomes and alternative medicine are key parameters on which India differentiates itself from other MVT destinations. India is among the top six medical value travel destinations of the world, which also include Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and Mexico. India’s expertise in highly specialized areas of organ transplants, cardiology, oncology, etc. has made India an emerging hotspot for medical value travel. For further growth of MVT, India needs to work more towards the following:

  • Liberalized visa regime
  • Encourage empanelled medical value travel facilitators
  • Better coordinated end to end facilities in various states & cities for the ease of medical value travelers

Taking the strategic geographical location to its advantage, West Bengal and other East state are enhancing to become a hub of medical tourism in South-East Asia. Patients from Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan regularly come here for specialised treatment. West Bengal being the gateway of entire eastern India it caters to a large population including the neighboring countries of Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. But in the past few years, patients from the North-Eastern states and neighboring countries prefer to travel to Delhi or South India for their medical needs rather than Eastern India. The need of the hour is to establish state-of-art Healthcare centers of excellence in Bengal and other neighboring states which will benefit the entire region. People mostly travel outside for availing tertiary care services in the areas like:

  • Cardiac sciences
  • Orthopedics
  • Neuro sciences
  • Oncology
  • Organ transplantation etc.

Travelling to distant places adds up to the woes of the ailing families and accessibility of such facilities in the states of Eastern India will be a big boon for these people. Enhanced infrastructure and skilled manpower will help the eastern states to be a major healthcare hub, as the low cost and quality healthcare will be an advantage. No doubt, east is positioning itself as a favored destination for medical tourism.
Technology is also playing a major role in the Affordable Healthcare section in the recent years especially with the smart phones becoming universally available. The healthcare market is predicted to grow from $100 billion in 2016 to $280 billion in 2020. With an increasingly high number of Indians gaining access to the digital media, the digital technology is going to be the next big thing in the health care sector too. With an increase in smart phone usage and telemedicine, large portion of the population’s health needs are served through m-Health technologies. The experts cite that state governments should consider building low budget tele-healthcare centers which would help the Tier 1 Tier 2 cities, which are ill-connected. Technology usage in the healthcare sector is grossly concentrated towards selected urban locations. Low paying capacity, lack of after sales service remains some of the major reasons for the low level of technological penetration.
Today, innovative healthcare solutions are becoming widely introduced in medical organizations enabling healthcare providers to reduce costs, improve patient treatment, and optimize workflow. These solutions promise to significantly transform the industry. Mobile applications, smart devices, biosensors, wearables, home virtual assistants, blockchain-based electronic medical record systems, predictive analytics, and web health portals represent a truly new stage in the healthcare environment

  • Internet of Things (IoT) in the healthcare market is expected to reach nearly $409.9 billion USD by 2022.
  • By the end of 2018, healthcare providers will have saved $1 billion through the use of robotic process acceleration (RPA) tools.
  • As per the experts, global market in the healthcare technology sector to grow at a tremendous CAGR of around 37% by 2020.

Generating new products and integrating innovative technologies, the healthcare industry is seeing a rapid transformation. With digital health solutions taking the center stage, we are moving towards a completely new age of patient treatment, health monitoring, and management.

CII Healthcare East, in its Thirteen edition, would look towards a positive roadmap putting efforts towards increasing investment trend, opportunities opening for medical tourism, involving various state governments and healthcare establishments in imbibing digitization of healthcare which will lead the healthcare industry to grow steadily and transform East into a hot spot for investment in terms of healthcare sector.

As a key industry-led and industry-managed organization, playing a proactive role in the development of the Indian healthcare sector, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is organizing the 13th Healthcare East at ITC Sonar in Kolkata on 6 October 2018, with clear objectives of helping the industry to meet, deliberate, discuss about the future of Healthcare which will help to bridge the gaps across the country’s health ecosystem and foster growth.

This conference focuses on bringing together major stakeholders of the Eastern India’s healthcare system to deliberate, discuss and take proactive measures to create a roadmap for delivering High Quality Healthcare and build capacity for better Patient care.

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