Healthcare Insurance in India: Rising or falling

In the last half a decade, medical insurance has gained immense popularity amongst the Indians. Lifestyle changes in the citizens are making them more prone and vulnerable to a variety of healthcare issues. These unwanted health-related problems burden an average person with extra expenses which come in as a stressful life since the treatment costs are also not low. In such circumstances, health insurance plan comes as a saviour. While insurance companies serve with a portfolio of different schemes and policies, people look out for the best one within their budget and which can offer comprehensive coverage simultaneously.

Medi-claims in Indian scenario:

Indian Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF) Annual Report 2017 reported that 85-90% of life insurance frauds fall in the sum assured bracket of Rs.1 Lakh to Rs.10 Lakh. An estimated 10-12 % of the claims are found to be fraudulent or suspected ones. 80 districts across the country have excelled in fraudulent claims over the last decade. And around Rs.10,000 crore was the estimated cost of frauds that were led by fake certificates and other related organised crimes.

 

Furthermore, per Bloombergquint article, only 18 % of urban Indians and 14.1 % of those in rural areas have any health insurance coverage. Out of that, many are reliant on corporate insurance plans, which come with their own set of conditions and, more importantly, have a low sum insured.                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

 

Government Initiatives:

The central government has launched its one of the ambitious projects for upgrading Indian healthcare system – the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS). The scheme has been referred as the world’s most massive health insurance plan. The plan aims at covering ten crore families which amount to approximately 50 crore beneficiaries at large. The coverage amount will be Rs.5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary healthcare. In coming years, the scheme is expected to merge with the existing plan such as Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), along with other state insurance schemes. This cover amount is significantly higher than any other central or state government schemes.

 

These measures are government’s latest attempt at reforming India’s healthcare system and moving towards making India a healthy nation without any shortage of hospitals, doctors and financial aids to the needy. Moreover, in recent times, the government has also regulated prices of critical drugs and medical equipment to make it available for the public at large at a minimum cost. Few other plans also have a roadmap of setting up government medical colleges and hospitals to combat the dismal health situation of the nation.

 

Although the mega project seems to be highly ambitious one, it will be no easy job for all the parties involved, i.e., government, insurers, doctors, and the citizens. While challenges are bound to be there and will a tough job to face them, the Indian healthcare industry will be going to have countless opportunities to flourish in the coming future.

Modernisation and Trends in Indian healthcare

Since independence, advancements in healthcare has become one of India’s largest sectors both concerning revenue & employment.

The sector is growing at a considerable pace and increasing its coverage over the nation. Healthcare comprises hospitals, telemedicine, medical tourism, health insurance and technological advancement in the pharmaceutical sector.

In recent years, medical researchers are talking about the latest terms of healthcare industry such as IOT in healthcare, e-health, m-health, app-based diagnosis, online ambulance booking, big data analytics on the EMRs, promoting generic drugs, and so on.

 

Modernisation of Indian healthcare:

Increase in purchasing power of the citizens, an aging population, growing health awareness had helped them to change their attitude towards a healthy life and this leads to more substantial demand for preventive health care. Here are few of the trends that are aiding Indian healthcare:

 

Affordability and quality:

  • There is an increase in availability of trained medical professionals across the nation who are helping the system to make healthcare more affordable and accessible.
  • Cost effective yet high-quality medical services and medical equipment manufacturing had placed India at a competitive place for its peers in the West and the remaining Asian countries.

 

Governmental policies:

  • With the aim of making India as a global healthcare hub, the government provides policy support in the form of a reduced tax levy.
  • Creating and providing infrastructural aid such as building new drug testing laboratories and strengthening existing state laboratories.

The shift to lifestyle diseases:

  • With increasing urbanisation and problems belonging to modern-day living in the urban culture, there has been an increment in the demand for specialised care.
  • High cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, poor diet and alcohol intake causes most lifestyle diseases.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Telemedicine:

  • Telemedicine one of the fast-emerging sector in India with the involvement of significant hospitals such as Apollo,  AIIMS, etc.
  • As of  FY16, telemedicine market in India was valued at US$  15 million and is expected to rise at a CAGR of 20 percent during FY16-20 to reach US$ 32 million by 2020.
  • With telemedicine, we can see growth concerning medical facilities in rural areas. It will aid support in low-cost consultation and diagnosis facilities to the remote areas through high-speed internet connectivity.                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Mobile-based health delivery:

  • Robust mobile technology infrastructure and 4G connectivity are driving mobile health initiatives in the country.
  • Medulance aims to reach the emergency situations throughout the nation with its app-based model for booking an ambulance and other emergency services.
  • In India, the mobile health industry is expected to reach US$ 0.6 billion by 2017.

It was the youth who played a significant role in explaining the importance and understanding of wellness in India amongst their parents and loved ones and made them value health more than any other material thing. Relatively low medical cost and clinical research, a rise in medical tourism, recognition of Indian healthcare at the global level are few factors that are attracting patients from across the world. It is making India a desirable and developed nation for advanced medical treatment and other technological developments in the healthcare sector.

To conclude, the opportunities are prominent in the Indian healthcare segment which will create a highly efficient healthcare system for the country as well global healthcare economy in the coming years.

How startups are disrupting medical industry in India?

The Indian healthcare market is rising with technological advancements, demanding more quality healthcare and thus opening up an avenue for tech companies and startups to fulfill the astounding demand.

As per the reports of India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), Indian healthcare sector is advancing at a CAGR of 17 per cent. While the industry is touted as one of the fastest growing ones, it is expected to reach US$ 250 BN during 2008–20.

While the internet is also penetrating at a rapid pace, startup ecosystem is not leaving any stone unturned to disrupt the healthcare sector with their inputs and innovation.

Here are some of the health-tech startups that are trying to make a difference in redefining Indian healthcare system and bridging the gap between the patients, doctors and other healthcare service providers:

Mobile-based health emergency services by Medulance:

Growing road mishaps, multiple emergency situations, and calamities – both natural and man-made had given rising demand for emergency services in India such as ambulance services, emergency trained medical technicians, first responder and so on. With robust mobile technology infrastructure and nationwide coverage of 4G network helped Medulance to evolve as an app based emergency service providers.

Medulance aims to reach out the patients and needy at the emergency spot with the help of a request via their app. One only need to book ambulance online with Medulance app and their team of medical experts will reach the emergency scene at the earliest.

Stack up your medical records with DocTalk:

DocTalk, a cloud-based platform, allows its users to save all their medical records on the cloud safely. Using this AI-based, on-demand virtual assistant app, patients can access their medical files on-the-go, interact with the doctors, update their medical history and also get the prescriptions online from the doctors.  

Healthcare industry’s one stop shop – Practo

Started in 2007 as a SaaS platform, this Bengaluru based startup is disrupting the Indian healthcare industry at its best. From online appointments, reaching out to nearby and available doctors, and ordering medicines online, Practo has evolved as a one-stop shop in 10 long years. The health tech is currently active in almost 40 Indian cities.

Doctors and medical practitioners at the patient’s doorstep – Portea

Portea, another Bengaluru-based start-up is offering doorstep services for the patients who are staying at remote locations or those who can’t travel to hospitals in quick time. The users can have home visits of doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, and technicians. Using remote diagnostics, point-of-care devices, and other monitoring equipment; doctors and medical professionals can diagnose and prescribe the medications to the patients remotely.

 

 

Smart medical reports with LiveHealth:

LiveHealth is yet another startup that works as a Management Information System (MIS) for healthcare providers. From collecting samples, managing patient records, and diagnosing them to generating reports and invoices, the startup attempts to make the healthcare processing smarter and efficient. With its AI integrated system, it also assists doctors with a better diagnosis and decision making.

While the Indian startup ecosystem is leading from the front for the progress of Indian healthcare segment, we can expect much larger trends to emerge in healthcare and emergency services in the near future.

What is value-based healthcare and how it will benefit the consumers?

Healthcare industry is revolutionizing with doctors, pharma and drug manufacturers coming together to upscale and benefit the people with the right prescription for their better and healthy life. They’re partnering with the members of the industry to make sure majority of patients, needy and every other people who need medical support and treatment receive the right care at the right the right time. And such responsibility is leading to a model called as ‘value-based health care.’

 

What is value-based healthcare?

Real improvement in healthcare requires restructuring of care delivery system. To enable a high-value delivery system, partnering with doctors, healthcare service providers, government bodies, and associations are crucial. Hence, value-based healthcare can be referred as a healthcare delivery model in which providers, including doctors, hospitals, and pharma experts, are paid based on the results of patient’s health. The healthcare providers and physicians help in improving patients’ health, reduce the effects and incidence of chronic disease.

 

In a value-based model, healthcare providers are paid based on the number of healthcare services they deliver and specific performance measures of the outcome of the service. To simplify, a patient pays for the quality of value-based care against the quantity.

Value based-healthcare in India

Although India is facing a transformational challenge when it comes to its healthcare system, the same can addressable if the medical community comes and grow together. It needs to focus primarily on preventing and treating the life-long, acute and proactive chronic care encompassed across India’s burgeoning middle class.

For a country with more than a billion people, creating a healthcare system to cater this humongous population is no easy job. And to move from fee-for-service to a fee-for-value model will take time, and the transition would be a difficult task. As Indian healthcare landscape continues to evolve and providers increase their adoption of value-based care models, they may face a low in short-term finances before hitting the long-term decline in costs. Since the costs attached are enormous, the government is also lending its helping hand with various initiatives, workshops, and financial grants. Such aids and assistance by the government are motivating enterprises, physicians and healthcare service providers to come along and make India a healthy nation. Hence, this model could be the best method for lowering healthcare costs while increasing quality in healthcare and helping people with healthier lives.

Medulance, an app based ambulance booking service in New Delhi also aims to deliver value-based services to the patients and the one in needs with its constant quality and the expert team of medical respondents.

Furthermore, the value-based healthcare movement will be possible only with the collaboration of people, organizations, and governments that believe in delivering the essential health care to the citizens of the country.

Medical Tourism – a new growth factor for India’s Healthcare Sector

Medical tourism can be defined as travelling to another country to acquire a particular medical treatment. It is mainly due to the unavailability, cost difference, quality difference of specific curative therapy in a state.

Medical tourism – while the term may be slowly buzzing on Indian soil, it’s undoubtedly creating an impact at a global level. In layman terms, medical tourism means travelling from one country to another for the advanced medical treatment. It is mainly due to the unavailability or low-quality medical treatment in one country due to which people travel to developed nations for better and high-quality treatments.

 

Is India fit for medical tourism?

Health crisis is one the major concerns for any developing, and hence, medicinal aid plays a significant role in such countries both regarding economic development and for a being a healthy state.

In recent years, India is not only contributing abundantly in trading, manufacturing, and R&D of pharma and drugs industry but is also one of the leading exporters around the globe.

As per Indian Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF) Annual Report 2017, the market size of the medical tourism market in India has reached US$3.0 BN as of April 2017 and expected to reach US$ 6 billion by the closure of 2018. And when it comes to medical tourism and attraction, the number of foreign tourists coming to India for medical purposes rose by almost 50 percent to 201,333 in 2016 from 134,344 in 2015. During 2013-16, India’s medical tourism grew at a CAGR of 27 percent.

Furthermore, the Indian tourism ministry also offers financial support to accredited Medical, and Wellness Tourism Service Providers, Chambers of Commerce for organizing workshops, events, seminars and other medical tourism promotion shows.

 

As published in livemint.com in July 2017, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) report titled “India Services Sector—A Multi-trillion Dollar Opportunity for Global Symbiotic Growth 2017” stated that the presence of world-class hospitals and skilled medical professionals had strengthened India’s position as a preferred destination for medical tourism. Treatment for significant surgeries in India costs only a fraction—in some cases as low as 10% of that in developed countries.

The report also stated that the global medical economy is looking out for Indian pharma players, medical talent and know-how to help them in setting up advanced medical infrastructure, and assist in latest medical technology. Thus, it leads to growing demand for India’s pharmaceutical and healthcare expertise.

 

Innovation in India’s healthcare industry:

While multiple reports have stated about the growing demand and current market structure of India’s healthcare economy, some firms are contributing inside out for the progress and development of the country’s health. Health tech startups are one such who are driving the sector at a decent pace. Services offered by such health tech startups vary from air ambulance, online ambulance booking, healthcare and medical reports on mobile to even making a doctor’s appointment and receiving the diagnosis on the go. One such Delhi based startup – medulance deals in providing online ambulance services via a mobile app making it convenient for the patient or the family members to book ambulance, ask for first responders and other medical technicians. It performs as a handy feature for the citizens, especially of the national capital – Delhi, since its one of the densely populated cities of the country where pollution, road mishaps and other health concerns have been a significant problem.

In the bottom line, cost advantage and upcoming innovations in India’s healthcare system will significantly open doors to developed countries like the USA and is already a major destination for medical tourism for countries like Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Maldives, Pakistan, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and other the Middle East and African countries.

Need of Trained Emergency Medical Technicians

Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) are trained healthcare professionals providing basic as well as advanced lifesaving procedures and pre-hospital care during an emergency.

They are an integral part of the healthcare system and associated with the emergency response management team of the city, especially the ambulance services and fire-fighting team.

These ambulance technicians are trained-healthcare professionals operating as part of an emergency medical service and provide preliminary care to the patients experiencing a severe injury or illness resulting in an emergency.

 

They work mobile and reach the emergency spot over a call with an ambulance since they often perform their duties out of an ambulance. EMT’s may also act as a liaison between the patient and hospitals to ensure they receive essential treatment at the facility center.

Although EMTs work closely with ambulances services, it should not be mistaken with ambulance drivers or attendants. The government, as well as private ambulance service providers like Medulance have their own team of EMTs working actively in case of an emergency.

Why are EMTs important?

EMTs respond to emergency calls to provide efficient and immediate facility and care at the emergency scene and transport the critically ill or injured person to a nearby medical facility for advanced treatment of the patient. Here are some of the most common medical tasks performed by an EMT at the emergency spot:

  • They provide life-saving medical care at the emergency site and transport patients to hospitals where they can receive adequate medical treatment.
  • They ensure that patients who’re in a remote or far away place from basic medical facilities receive essential treatment soon in order to survive the critical injury or ill-health.
  • Mostly, these clinicians work as volunteers at hospitals, and fire departments alongside other trained professionals.
  • EMTs act as intermediaries for patients dealing with medical emergencies and the hospitals.

Apart from above-mentioned tasks, EMTs also performs following functions such as:

  • Providing first aid
  • Applying splints
  • Performing basic airway management treatment
  • Conducting basic treatment such as checking pulsation, recording blood pressure, etc.
  • Performing CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation)
  • Using AED’s (automated external defibrillators)
  • Supplying basic medications to the patient such as aspirin, glucose etc.
  • Monitoring patient’s vital behavior

Bottomline:

EMT’s are among those individuals who responsibly save thousands of lives every year by resolving the medical emergency or prolonging a patients life. Companies like Medulance  provide advanced mobile medical teams around local neighborhoods with trained medical practitioners such as paramedics, and EMTs to administer professional medical care when it is needed the most. Alongside trained individuals, these ambulances are also stacked with full of life-saving medical equipment.

How air ambulance services work in India?

The ambulance services have been broadly classified into air ambulance, ground ambulance, and also water ambulance services. Air ambulance contributes to the highest revenue in ambulance service market. The rise of medical tourism in the developing countries like India has driven the growth of the air ambulance segment.

What is an Air Ambulance?

An air ambulance is a specially designed helicopter, or an aircraft, equipped with specialized medical equipment including medications, ventilators, ECGs and monitoring units, CPR equipment, and stretchers. These aircrafts airlifts and transports injured people or critical patients for a medical treatment to the hospitals. Air ambulances are booked when the patient is located either in a remote or terrain locations where advanced medical treatment is not available. Air ambulance in Delhi by Medulance is usually staffed with doctors, highly trained paramedics individuals, and first responders. Further, when an air ambulance is actively operating with a patient, Air Traffic Control (ATC) grants special treatment to them. Some air ambulance can be non-medically equipped too and the attendant staff simply transports patients from point A to point B.

State of Air Ambulance in India:

In India, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is the authorizing body when it comes to air ambulance service regulations and provide license and/or accreditation to the air ambulance service providers. Major hospitals have been tying up with airlines companies and Government to create better and effective air ambulance services in India.

Demand for Air Ambulance Service in India:

In recent times, there has been a growing demand for air ambulance services in India. With growing awareness about organ donation in the country such as donating heart of brain-dead patients, and for transplantation of such organs, air ambulance has been used on multiple occasion. This rising demand for emergency ambulance services in India is attracting many international companies and various startups are also emerging such as Medulance, to render the air ambulance service in Delhi and in rest of the country.

 

Further, with higher demand and use of advanced technologies by the Indian hospitals, medical tourism have seen an upward slope in demand graph. Favorable reimbursement policies and the increasing trend of home health care have fueled the growth of this market.

 

As per the industry report of India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF) on Healthcare sector published in 2017, medical tourism market in India stands at US$ 3.0 billion in size and is expected to reach US$ 6 billion by 2018. During 2013-16, the country’s medical tourism market witnessed a growth at a CAGR of 27 percent. The number of foreign tourists coming to India for medical purposes rose by almost 50 percent to 201,333 in 2016 from 134,344 in 2015.

 

More on, due to lifestyle, and behavioral changes and rising healthcare awareness in Indian citizens, prime hospital chains such as Apollo, Fortis, and Max, are operating their own air ambulance services, especially in tier I and tier II cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore.

In conclusion, saving time for our friends and family is the first step in an emergency situation. Medulance’s Air Ambulance service in India aims to conquer time and distance in emergencies and saves lives of your loved ones.

Is this a wake-up call for India to have first responders?

You get down at the metro station, started walking to your office space and all of a sudden, a fiery accident happened in front of your eyes. Panicked! You with other people surrounding the incident rushed towards the victims and out of panic, most of you would get confused on what to do or what not to do. Only 2-3 out of 50 people mob will strike and call for an ambulance or call for an emergency medical service (EMS). As cited from Hindustan Times, a recent study conducted by Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI), an estimated 300,000 emergency cases, medical and non-medical, are recorded in the country every day, with 80% of these being medical, and 9.5% of the population being affected by an emergency annually.


It’s quite visible that being a first responder is the need of the state. Let’s discuss here who the first responder is and how you can one of them.

Who exactly is a first responder?
The first responder is a trained individual who in an emergency, both medical and non-medical make sure that immediate support services are being offered to the needy until an ambulance arrives.
These are the person with specialized training and among the first to arrive and provide assistance at the scene of an emergency, such as an accident, natural disaster, or even a terrorist attack.

First responders typically include police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and other trained individuals and volunteers connected with some organizations providing emergency services. These individuals strive to provide basic medical care to a patient and help the people out in an emergency to access basic and first aid treatment in an instant.

 

How to become a First Responder?
First Responder is a higher level of training, which usually takes 40 hours. The training is significantly more extensive than basic first aid. To be a certified first responder to provide pre-hospital care, an individual needs to undergo certification programs which are usually conducted at prime and private medical institutes and hospitals. These institutes conduct first responder and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training programs.  Whereas there’s a CERT training which will prepare you to help respond to area crisis where first-responders are too busy to handle everything.

Roles of a first responder
Roles of a first responder can be providing first aid, CPR, manual stabilization of fractures, and assisting in the administration of basic medications such as auto-injectors, oral glucose, inhalers, preliminary medications, etc. They’ll immediately provide basic life-saving aid before any advanced life support arrives. Also, if any patient receives medical attention within first one hour of the incident or initiation of medical illness, which is considered to be crucial for the diagnosis of the patient, the outcome would be much better for the patient. In medical terms, this period is addressed as Golden Hour.

 

As mentioned, first responders are trained to tackle the emergency situations. Although the types of emergencies will differ on a case-to-case basis, there is a similar pattern in their approach:

 

  • Taking command or being in-charge of the accident scene.
  • They detect the presence of hazards and begin to identify them.
  • They begin to remove, evacuate, and separate otherwise property from the body of the personnel.
  • They will conduct first aid and perform necessary diagnosis such as checking up for a pulse, blood pressure, apply glucose, etc. in case an individual is unconscious.
  • Further, they will look for individual’s identity, and start searching for identity cards, mobile phones or other electronic devices, tags on their baggage, wallet, and so on.
  • They seek additional resources as needed from the vicinity.

While the first responder performs this operation, he will ask nearby individuals to accompany him for the help and request them to call for advanced medical support, book ambulance, and likewise.

Bottomline
Although basic first aid is great and always helpful, the first responder is one level up. Entities like Medulance has a team of trained and skilled individuals including first responders who attend the emergencies with urgent priority, especially to the one who book ambulance in Delhi and nearby areas. It would be great if more youths and citizens get themselves certified for First Responders, and being available responsibly in such events.

How to know if a person is suffering from a heart attack?

When does a heart attack occur?

A heart attack, or Myocardial infarction (MI), occurs when an artery that carries blood and oxygen to the heart is completely blocked. When this happens, the heart muscle cell becomes starved of oxygen and nutrients and the cells begin to die, damaging the heart. The damage can happen within minutes. But it can be lessened if the patient seeks emergency treatment right away. This happens because plaque (made up of fat, cholesterol and other substances) narrows the arteries carrying oxygen-rich blood to the heart. This slow process is known as atherosclerosis. When a plaque in a heart artery breaks, a blood clot forms around the plaque. This blood clot can block the blood flow to the heart muscle. When the heart muscle is starved of oxygen and nutrients, it is called ischemia. Ischemia causes damage to the heart muscle which is eventually called as heart attack or myocardial infarction (MI).

Common myths attached to heart attack:

  • Heart failure means stopping of the heartbeats
  • Every Chest pain is a heart attack
  • No cholesterol problems until you’re middle-aged
  • Heart failure and heart attacks are one and the same

Common warning signs of a heart attack:

Don’t wait to get help if you experience any of these heart attack warning signs. Symptoms of a heart attack can vary from person to person.  Although some heart attacks are sudden and intense, most start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Pay attention to your body — and asked the nearby person to book ambulance for an immediate help. Here are some of the commonly observed signs of a heart attack:

  • Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like pressure, squeezing, or fullness.
  • The pain is most often in the center of the chest. It may also be felt in the upper body such as the neck, lower jaw, back, arms (especially the right one), and upper abdomen.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • Cold Sweating, Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Changes in mental status, weakness or fatigue, especially in older adults. (Most common in women)

First-aid first:

If you find any of the above symptoms in someone near you, call medulance immediately for easier and faster transportation to the hospital. Using simple location-based mapping, medulance  seeks to provide you with quality ambulance service in Delhi that are easier, faster and quicker than anyone else. Meanwhile, follow the below-mentioned steps as a part of the first-aid:

  • Make sure the person is in a comfortable position (sitting down on the floor, leaning against a wall or chair), and try to keep calm.
  • Loosen up any tight clothing of the patient.
  • Try to ask if the person is on any medication for chest pains, such as nitroglycerin, for a known heart condition, and help them take it.

Heart Attack recovery process:

While the majority of people survive their first heart attack, there are some essential lifestyle changes that one should adopt. Here are some common treatments and practices you should follow during the recovery stage apart from medications:

  • Treatments for heart attack patients include medications, lifestyle changes and, in some cases, surgical procedures.
  • Rest is important after a heart attack, but it’s just as important for you to participate in recreation and begin making physical exercise a part of your daily routine. A good night’s rest is especially important for heart attack patients. Proper and timely rest becomes important for heart patients.
  • Once you’ve had a heart attack, you’re at higher risk for another one. If you’re having any chest pains, visit your doctor.
  • There are exercises and medications that can help ease or prevent the pain.
  • Avoid eating tobacco, and smoking
  • Ensure regular physical activity and good nutrition for a healthy heart.

 

A healthy diet, making changes in your lifestyle would work in longevity and are some of the most important things you can do to prevent heart attack and heart disease.