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Healthcare Innovation in India vis-à-vis Healthcare Accessibility
By Medsamaan
31 Dec 2019

 

A lot has been written in the recent past about how the India has become an information technology superpower, with Indian software companies ruling the roost globally in terms of market share in the IT/ITeS sector. With Prime Minister Modi mandating the transition to a digitally transformed India, where innovation would be encouraged and rewarded, there is a renewed interest in academia and industry to invest in research to come out with disruptive products that have wide-ranging implications.

An interesting, and somewhat disappointing observation in this process of development has been the inadequacy of the healthcare industry to keep pace with other sectors where technology has disruptively and completely changed the way we lead our lives. This is further highlighted from the fact that out of 9,847 Patents that were granted by the Indian Patent Office in 2017, only 333, a mere 3.4% of the total number of the Patents pertained to biotechnology. While India’s premier medical training facility, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has partnered with the Stanford University, US to create a program for innovative bio-designs. Yet, even after 12 years since inception in 2007, there have been no significant med-tech innovations that have impacted us at a national level drastically. More than 20 technologies have emanated from this triumvirate collaboration between Stanford, AIIMS and IIT, Delhi   and yet we still have instances of child deaths in rural UP, cases of untreated epidemics in the North East and the general poor state of unavailability of qualitative healthcare for the common citizen.

While it is indeed heartening to note the various schemes being undertaken by the State and Central Governments to encourage innovation, the biggest malaise plaguing the industry today is the lack of accessibility, availability and affordability of quality medical devices to stakeholders.

More than 70 percent of India’s medical device needs are met from imports, making the cost as such high for healthcare providers, who invariably have no option but to pass on the costs to consumers/ patients. High Transit and Treatment costs to Patients, extended timelines in waiting and treatment eventually lead to a poor Quality of Life! No benchmarking of quality has led to adverse effects and low efficacy. Minimum order quantities, middlemen and monopoly of a select few have ensured that Procurement and Supply is permanently mired in delay and

new products face tough entry barriers, leading to absence of timely diagnosis and treatment, with the end result that Patients are denied a Chance at Good Health, and eventually, a Chance at Life.

 

Having been closely associated with the industry for over fifteen years, the core team at MedSamaan analyzed the scenario and concluded that the Solution lies in creating a Marketplace that has the following mandatory characteristics:

 

·       Caters to more than one segment

 

·       Has Robust Business Processes in Inventory Management and Supply Chain

 

·       Has Access to Global Manufacturers

 

·       Can Educate Healthcare Providers, both institutional and individual,

 

·       Provide Standard Quality Low Cost Products

 

In combination, all the above would ensure that the Lower Costs could translate into Lowered Treatment Costs and Faster Treatment for Patients and their Families.

 

For the past two years now, MedSamaan has been trying to address the problem of accessibility of quality medical aids to Patients, by addressing the pain points of each stakeholder I the healthcare system. Our 360-degree approach has resulted in the following immediate results:

·       For Hospitals, we have made Procurement hassle-free and cost-effective. By doing with the burden of MOQs, we have freed up capital for hospitals to invest in infrastructure and expansion.

 

·       For Distributors and Retailers, we have stocked and are supplying fast-moving Products at their Warehouse at lowest prices, offering Credit Cycles without MOQs

 

·       For Doctors, for whom time is always at premium, we have arranged for simple and super-fast ordering and provided exposure to latest technologies through on-site Demo and Product Training

 

·       For Patients, we have enabled Lower Treatment Costs, Quicker Treatment and facilitated Healthcare at Home  

 

·       For Governments, we have helped in reducing expenditure by providing Low Cost alternatives while conforming to Tender Guidelines

 

The moot point today in India is that healthcare innovation must go hand in hand with healthcare accessibility- the former cannot do without the latter; and the latter’s raison-d-etre is the former! MedSamaan, through its offering of artificial intelligence-enabled processes is striving to close the gap between the two, and is slowly helping India inch towards its goal of complete sustenance in healthcare

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