<p>The health sector in India, one of the major contributors to India’s economy, is experiencing the wrath of COVID-19. The private health care sector describes a sharp decline in business post-lock-down. The healthcare sector is at the epicenter of this unprecedented global pandemic, and the private sector has risen to the occasion, by offering to the government all the support it needs, be it testing support, preparing isolation beds for the treatment of Covid-19 positive patients, or deploying types of equipment and staff in identified nodal hospitals. </p><p>Elective surgeries and medical tourism were the two biggest revenue generators for the private healthcare business in India which has suffered the most as a result of lockdown. The drop-in business makes the private healthcare sectors put a big question mark on their survival post-pandemic.</p><p>Approximately 70 percent of the healthcare services in India are provided by the private healthcare sector. The single greatest worry for all private hospitals is cash flow management and how to meet both payroll and material costs. As the Outpatient and Inpatient occupancy volumes have crashed significantly across India impacting revenues big time, it will probably take at least 6 months to 12 months for recovery. In these hard times, the private healthcare sector is looking towards the government’s support for survival.</p><p><strong>What is the healthcare sector grappling with?</strong></p><ol><li>The investment done by Healthcare service providers in stocking PPE kits is significant. Section 8 of the Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 places a duty on employers to supply PPE where risks cannot be eliminated or adequately controlled.</li><li>Doctors and nurses, dealing with Covid-19 patients, are functioning 50% of the time as they have to be quarantined for half the month thus putting an immense load on the healthcare system.</li></ol><p> <strong>How Can Government Help?</strong></p><ol><li>The government can support the health care sector by getting them emergency assistance loans, tax waivers, and clear pending dues from their schemes. From the long-term perspective, significant investment in building healthcare infrastructure is overdue!</li><li>A structural overhauling of Indian healthcare to make it more sustainable and agile to help cope with new challenges while catering to the needs of such a huge population.</li></ol><p> <strong>What is the impact on India’s medical devices industry?</strong></p><ol><li>The medical devices industry has taken a hit. The country imports consumables, disposables, and capital equipment including orthopedic implants, gloves, bandages, syringes, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging devices from other countries.</li><li>Due to the current global crisis, medical device manufacturers across the country are finding it difficult to get important raw materials and electronic components from overseas factories.</li></ol><p>Healthcare delivery businesses and necessitated the need for innovation, Hospitals should look for opportunities and align products and delivery systems to the evolving needs of patients. The current pandemic will provide an impetus for hospitals to re-evaluate their procurement model. Healthcare is a notoriously conservative industry; however, the current pandemic situation has accelerated the inevitable evolution and rapid adoption of technological innovations.</p>
KR Expert - Prashant Shedge
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