India is always compared to US, a nation which has established it’s 300 Years of Independence and quite a few times, the policies are compared and contrasted with the US. I personally feel we should not do this comparison and focus on how to build Innovative solutions to address the needs of a country like India.
India is 4 times more in population when compared to the US and we are an economy which has been struggling to establish itself in the 65 Years of Independence. I do not wish to go into history, but just a point of reference when in 1800’s, India was one of the richest land’s in the world and hence we have been invaded by quite a few people and finally ruled until 1947. There was a lot of damage done and we should take responsibility for it.
What is over is over and today, we are a nation of proud accomplishments. From the recent Mission to Mars to the complete eradication of Polio, it is not an easy task when a country has such a varied distribution of population and practices of many native medicine.
In India, the Union Government is responsible for allocating Budget for Health Services. This money is distributed to the State Government’s considering various parameters and the State Government’s are responsible for delivering Health Services to the common man.
If we go deeper into understanding how the HealthCare is structured in India, the Primary HealthCare Centre is the first point of contact for any of its 1.2 Billion Population. A PHC serves to a population of anywhere between 1,500 – 5000 people. For more information on the exact numbers and categorisation, please refer to my earlier blog post on HealthCare Infrastructure in India and my other posts under HealthCare in India category.
Today, the need of the hour is for us to push for some strong amendments to the HealthCare Law in India. Here are few of my thoughts on how we can work on building the foundations for a stronger HealthCare system in India.
1. On-line or Centralised Drug Database – This might look naive, however, this plays a very crucial role in building up a strong Health Delivery System. For technology to play a bigger role in building up India’s Health System, having a central Drug database is a must and the first step.
2. Fee Regulations for Private HealthCare – We hear the economic distribution of Private Vs. Public Health in almost all the case studies on HealthCare in India. 70% is still out of pocket. We need to have a law to regulate the cost of basic Health Services across the country. For example, for a first / basic consultation, the Doctor fee or the Hospital charge should be same across the country. This will help in more people approaching bigger/better facilities to ensure they receive the best consultation and there is no competition among Hospitals or for Doctors. My argument here is that the first point of contact for any consultation should be regulated.
3. Common Health Practices across the nation – We do not have a strong law in the country where the Hospital Workflow’s remain constant. Each hospital has it’s own rule and patients are bound to abide by them. If I need to fight out, i should take time out to go to the Court. We need to establish common rules of how Hospitals treat patients and the rights patients have to access their Health data.
4. Common Registration System – Each Hospital has their own rule of how they treat the Patient registration System. This has to be regulated to ensure the basic Patient demographic data is always constant and can be carried by the individual. Use of Adhaar like system to enforce this is very practical and brings ease of managing this aspect.
Last but not the least, we should encourage initiatives which bring in a stronger Health Law.