Healthcare Industry So Far In 2023 & What To Expect Next?

Dr. Ajaikumar is a seasoned healthcare professional with over 40 years of experience in the radiation and oncology fields. Along with being with HCG for the last 25+ years, he is also the Board Member at the Duchenne Data Foundation. In a recent conversation with Siliconindia, Dr. Ajaikumar give us a brief, yet insightful overview of the Indian healthcare industry so far this year, and discussed its future prospects entering the New Year. Below are the excerpts from the exclusive interview –

Share your thoughts on the Indian healthcare industry so far in 2023.
The healthcare industry in 2023 has been very growth oriented, especially after the covid time challenges. The covid pandemic has made people realize the importance of healthcare, who are now prioritizing health above all and early diagnosis. As a result, the healthcare industry has been witnessing a tremendous growth. Nearly 70 percent of healthcare in India is provided by the private players. As people move up the economic ladder and more people join the middle class strata, everyone are demanding for high quality healthcare across not only tier-I, but tier-II & III cities as well. This is a very promising development because the healthcare ecosystem is burgeoning even in tier-II & III cities with the rise of new hospitals and new healthcare related innovations happening on a constant basis.

What were some of the major concerns for healthcare organizations while entering 2023, and how is the scenario now?
One of the major concerns for our industry was the involvement of the government. While many people do believe in our industry believe that quality healthcare is the right of individuals across classes of the society, unfortunately, there is no Universal Healthcare in India. Despite the government rolling-out many initiatives in terms of making quality care accessible to all at affordable costs along with insurance coverage, it is not uniform across the country. Lack of uniformity in healthcare is another major concern in India. We also have to redefine the role of the government in the private healthcare sector. Also, people have slowly started to recognize India as the go-to region for best value for money healthcare in terms of the technology expertise being provided. We also hope the government will involve the private enterprises in the decision making process, take our opinions into consideration and reformulate the frameworks pertaining to universal healthcare so that all classes of the society are provided quality care and covered under insurance.

People have slowly started to recognize India as the goto region for best value for money healthcare in terms of the technology expertise being provided

According to you, what are the two most significant developments for the healthcare industry in 2023?
The healthcare industry is now looking at how to provide global standards of care to Indian population. Given the massive population India is home to and an increasing number of people coming into the middle class and demanding the highest quality care, bridging this demand-supply gap in the country is a huge challenge. Although modern day technologies are bridging this gap to some extent, the government's intervention as part of their Digital Health scheme is helping the industry immensely in this regard. While many other sectors garnered a lot of recognition and importance in the past, this year, a strong emphasis is given by the government to the healthcare sector in the country. This, and people more conscious about their health and lifestyle are the two most significant developments in 2023, according to me.

Entering into a new year, how do you expect modern day technologies to shape-up the way healthcare is being offered and consumed?
While integrating technology in healthcare has been in discussion for a while now, we lacked the kind of infrastructure, hospitals and equipment until the last few years. However today, this has improved significantly, where in the infrastructure, treatment techniques and other advanced requirements are readily available across every large city in India at par, or even better than the global standards. Digital technologies are redefining healthcare already, and concepts such as digital pathology and remote planning systems have really gained a lot of momentum lately, and this will no doubt grow endlessly going forward. Also, virtual avatars assisting in surgeries and e-ICUs are expected to become mainstream in 2024. To summarize, technology will break all the distance related barriers in healthcare and make almost of kinds of treatments accessible to patients in a matter of few minutes.