Health Technology Investments in India

According to the WHO, health technology refers to the application of organized knowledge and skills in the form of devices, medicines, vaccines, procedures and systems developed to solve a health problem and improve quality of lives. Advancing health technologies increases the health care costs. Health is a major financial problem and a serious issue the world over. Investment in health technology is essential for long term financial stability and to improve efficiency, support consistent delivery of quality health care and to avoid high-cost inpatient settings.Health care investment in IndiaAccording to an ICRA industry report on Healthcare, India invested 5.1 % of its GDP on health in 2001. The health market is estimated at $30 billion and includes retail pharmaceutical, healthcare services, medical and diagnostic equipment and supplies. The private sector dominated in the health care market and this increased participation by the private sector in healthcare services is stimulating change in the Indian healthcare industry. Government of India has endorsed tariff and non-tariff measures that have further stimulated health care market development by allowing more hospitals to offer critical care services. These investments are expected to lowered health care cost for patients suffering from life threatening diseases.Investment opportunitiesThe Confederation of Indian Industry’s (CII) Indian Healthcare Federation estimates that there is an investment opportunity of approximately US$25 billion over the next 8-10 years to establish health technologies and other facilities that will put the sector on the global healthcare map.TelemedicineHealth information technology improves the delivery of healthcare services and efficiency levels. Telemedicine improves accessibility of to health care facilities for the patient living in remote areas. Telemedicine has a great investment potentially in that is changing the lives of over 600 million people in rural India.Mobile technologyMany people in India have access to cell phones that opens for a potential healthcare in the form of mobile health solutions. Investments in VAS (Value Added Services) related to health will be a major investment & revenue generator. Telemonitoring reduces hospital and emergency room visits. Telephonic disease management increases enrollment rates. In metropolitan cities, most people have access to Internet. Telehealth has a great investment potential and is the key to success of chronic and rural healthcare.Laboratory & diagnostic services: imaging and pathology labsOutsourcing of laboratory testing and diagnostic services is set to become big business in India. According to a study on the Indian healthcare industry, the US$ 864 million diagnostics and pathology laboratory testing business is growing at a CAGR of 20 per cent. As part of its cost-cutting efforts, Britain may contemplate shipping blood and urine samples from National Health Service (NHS) patients to India for clinical tests and get the test results over the Internet.Medical devicesThe biomedical devices market in India is unofficially estimated at around US$ 1.5 billion and about 80 per cent of this is met through imports. Cardiology equipment constitutes about 20 per cent of the total market, followed by imaging systems -accounting for 15 per cent. Telemedicine services can create a demand for diagnostic medical equipment such as X Ray machines, CT scanners, Doppler’s ultrasound scanners and electrocardiographs.ConclusionIn conclusion investment in health technology is beneficial for both the health care provider and for the patient. Health technology has a potential to reduce health care cost the by shifting care away from higher cost inpatient settings and the benefits associated with this technology are projected to outweigh investment cost. Rising opportunities bring an increasing number of foreign investors to India.