The Current Healthcare Landscape & Future Prospects

Holding a management degree from Harvard University, Manoj has an experience of over three decades across various finance functions. Prior to joining Siemens in 2011, he held the role of CFO at OSRAM. In a recent conversation with Silicon india, Manoj Prasad, SVP & Executive Director - Finance & Operations, Siemens Healthineers gave 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

How has been the healthcare industry in 2023, especially from an Indian standpoint?
2023 was truly the beginning of the post-pandemic era because until the end of 2022, there were still many countries going through strict lockdowns. This year has been remarkable for the Indian healthcare industry in terms of growth and making healthcare more accessible & affordable. Over the last few years, we have been witnessing a lot of efforts from central and various state governments in India to improve healthcare services across the country, and 2023 was no different. Their investment in improving the country's healthcare is increasing each year, and they also plan to make it to 2.5 percent of total GDP by the next two years. Although this is still very meager compared to many other countries, it is important to notice the way our nation is progressing in this regard. Also, the way they are addressing the issues of access to healthcare and affordability for underprivileged is remarkable from an Ayushman Bharath perspective. Additionally, the government is also incentivizing global companies under its PLI scheme to either setup their manufacturing units or expand their existing manufacturing units in India.

What were some of the major concerns for healthcare organizations while entering 2023, and how is the scenario now?
The covid pandemic made us all realize the criticality of having shortage of skilled healthcare personnel, medical materials and components, which put a lot of stress on our supply chains. Later, the global geopolitical crisis further worsened the condition of our supply chain, leading to very high inflation rates across the world. Most of the US and Europe which lived in a sub-zero inflation rate post the pandemic were later in 2023 hit by inflation, putting sever constrains on the entire ecosystem the world over. Although the supply chains recovered and the inflation slowed down to some extent by the first half of 2023, we unfortunately are recently again hit by another geopolitical crisis in the Middle-East, which makes the journey ahead tougher for the healthcare sector. Specifically in India, non-communicable diseases are still on the rise, and access to care and affordability continue to be a major challenge even today.

According to you, what are the two most significant happenings for the healthcare industry in 2023?
Firstly, technology and its usage saw a lot of advancements pertaining to healthcare in 2023. Medtech players are innovating faster today and are leveraging technology to improve accessibility and affordability. Also, use of AI in healthcare is increasing exponentially. Secondly, healthcare organizations have started becoming more patient-centric this year. These were the two noteworthy developments this year so far.

How do you expect modern day technologies to shape-up the way healthcare is both offered and consumed in 2024?
We will be entering a new era in healthcare where technology will play an increasingly important role in improving patient outcomes. We see a great potential in the development of technologies like AI, IoT and Robotics improve the quality of care. Also, the use of LLMs will increase in the healthcare sector going forward. Overall, technology will continue to play an important role in the healthcare roadmap in the upcoming year.