Healthcare has become one of India's most vast sectors in terms of revenue and employment. As of 2021, the Indian healthcare sector employs 4.7 million people and is one of India's largest employers. In addition, the industry gave rise to 2.7 million additional jobs in India between 2017-22, over 500,000 new jobs per year.
This article discusses the significant highlights of the healthcare sector in India. According to Niti Aayog's report, the Indian healthcare sector is expected to record a three-fold rise, growing at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 22% between 2016–22 to reach US$ 372 billion in FY22 from US$ 110 billion in FY16. Also, the hospital industry in India is indicated to grow to Rs. 8.6 trillion (US$ 132.84 billion) by 2022 from Rs. 4 trillion (US$ 61.79 billion) in 2017 at a CAGR of 16–17%.
The public expenditure on Indian healthcare stood at 2.1% of GDP in FY21-22, in the Economic Survey 2022. Compared to 1.8% in FY20-21 and 1.3% in FY19-20. This year premiums underwritten by health insurance companies grew to Rs. 73,582.13 crores (US$ 9.21 billion). As a result, the entire gross written premiums earned in the country in the health segment have a 33.33% share.
In FY20, the Indian medical tourism market was priced at US$ 2.89 billion and is expected to attain US$ 13.42 billion by FY26. In 2019 around 697,300 foreign tourists visited India for medical treatment, reported by the India Tourism Statistics at a Glance 2020. However, India ranked 10th in the Medical Tourism Index (MTI) for FY20-21 out of 46 destinations in the Medical Tourism Association.
Meanwhile, Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar, the Minister of Health & Family Welfare, informed the Lok Sabha that the doctor-population ratio is 1:854 in the country. Assuming 80% availability of 12.68 lakh registered allopathic doctors and 5.65 lakh AYUSH doctors.
India exported 24.24 crore vaccine doses as of August 8, 2022. Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covishield and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin manufactured by SII were instrumental in medically protecting the Indian population against COVID-19. Additionally, more than 210.31 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered nationwide on August 23, 2022
Furthermore, many well-trained medical professionals are now available in the country's healthcare sector. As a result, healthcare has become one of India's most vast sectors in revenue and employment.
In the Union Budget 2022-23, Rs. 86,200.65 crore (US$ 11.28 billion) was allotted to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). In addition, a credit incentive program worth Rs. 500 billion (US$ 6.8 billion) is planned by the Indian government to boost the country's healthcare infrastructure, especially in smaller towns.
Moreover, a rekindled priority on leveraging digital technology during the pandemic has been seen in healthcare delivery in India and globally. Several healthcare reforms launched before and during the pandemic, such as the National Health Digital Mission (NDHM) and teleconsulting guidelines, combined with the burgeoning health tech start-up ecosystem, have evolved to improve the healthcare journey for the Indian population.
In addition to these demographic and epidemiological trends, the pandemic added urgency and accelerated the change process for healthcare to become more digitally enabled, including telemedicine.
Moreover, increasing the financial, clinical, and operational value of these new digital offerings and services requires biopharma, MedTech, and other healthcare stakeholders to back digital as a completely new business model and ecosystem. As a result, deliver better outcomes and drive stakeholder awareness, adoption, engagement, and growth.
The government is already on a path to adding new policies inclined toward new transformations in the sector. At the same time, efforts such as:
- Public-Private Partnerships (PPP), the government of India, is committed to improving the level and quality of economic and social infrastructure services across the country. PPPs are being adopted in the urban sector and social sectors. It has emerged as one of the leading PPP markets in the world.
- Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY is the largest Government funded health assurance/insurance scheme in the world, launched on 23rd September 2018.
- The Ministry of AYUSH has developed the Champion Services Sector Scheme for Medical Value Travel to promote medical tourism in traditional medicine.
- Swachh Bharat Mission, the mission that aims to make India an open defecation-free country in Five Years.
- Fit India Movement aims to bring about behavioral changes and move towards a more physically active lifestyle. A platform for citizens of India to share information, drive awareness and encourage sharing of personal fitness stories.
- All the initiatives above are starters for the sector's overall development. Therefore, India needs to accelerate these missions for optimal results. The government and the private players need to form a cohesive team and bring in interventions that will ensure that essential steps are taken correctly to boost the Indian healthcare system further.
Indian people have become more conscious of their healthcare upkeep. Rising revenue levels, an aging population, rising health awareness, access to insurance, and a changing mindset toward preventive healthcare are expected to boost the demand for healthcare services.
Therefore, the government strives to evolve India as a global healthcare hub. Accordingly, it intends to raise public health spending to 2.5% of the country's GDP by 2025. It focuses on quality care and actively pursuing digital health ventures. Technology enthusiasts are working hard to make this dream a reality.
The collective intelligence of the government, tech enthusiasts, and the Indian healthcare industry will help to create a viable ecosystem for digital healthcare. Every day inching closer to new developments and adapting innovations, India has shown immense transformation in developing a digital mindset. Not much time is left before the right minds place the required tools in execution and desired outcome is achieved.
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