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Mandaviya, top execs to speak at Mint Healthcare Summit today

NEW DELHI : Union health minister Mansukh L. Mandaviya will lead a galaxy of thought leaders, healthcare honchos, investors and independent experts at Wednesday’s Mint Healthcare Summit, the seventh edition in the series. While the cabinet minister will deliver the keynote address, the rest of the day will be packed with brainstorming sessions, including panel discussions and fireside chats.

The summit will see a wide variety of subjects being deliberated, and several top-notch speakers from different arms of the industry laying out their challenges and growth strategies for the sector that has been growing at a swift pace despite challenges.


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Mint Healthcare Summit

Technology being a critical component in the modern healthcare system, the event will see industry stalwart Vishal Bali, executive chairman of AH Holdings, hold forth on how advanced technology can be leveraged to scale for the benefit of patients and other stakeholders in the larger healthcare ecosystem. Also taking ahead the technology aspect will be a panel of healthtech founders and chief executives (CEOs) who will discuss cost-cutting and scaling-up imperatives. Even as healthtech companies have reached some degree of scale and reach, they have funding issues emblematic of what the larger startup ecosystem is facing. Their sustenance and growth to enable greater reach is critical for India’s healthcare infrastructure.

Insurance is a key element of any modern healthcare ecosystem; in India, it is not as widespread as it should be, and out-of-pocket expenses are high. Debating the insurance challenges, and how technology and digitalization are the way forward for the industry, would be top representatives of companies, including Niva Bupa Health Insurance, Canara HSBC Life Insurance and Insurance Samadhan. Providing a tech-startup angle will be Mayank Gupta, a co-founder of Zopper.

Another key session will be a chat with Dr. Kaushal K. Verma, dean (research), AIIMS, on how well the institution, and India as a country, are prepared to deal with exigencies such as the covid-19 pandemic. There were many lessons that the black swan event taught the healthcare fraternity, and how well those lessons have been imbibed and translated into best practices will be the focus of this discussion.

Specialized healthcare chains, focused on key therapeutic areas, are a relatively recent phenomenon in India. From eyecare to home healthcare and critical illness therapies such as for cancer, India has seen a surge in institutions catering to these. Just how such therapeutic chains fit into the healthcare narrative of India, the challenges they face, and how they could be more efficient, will be the focus of a panel discussion of CEOs later in the day. A fireside chat with Dr. Upasana Arora, CEO and managing director, Yashoda Super Speciality Hospital, will add to the specialization flavour.

India’s healthcare industry has been expanding at a fast rate, at an estimated compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of between 16% and 22%. The market’s valuation has more than quadrupled from $86 billion in 2016 to over $350 billion in 2023. By 2025, it is expected to cross $600 billion in size.

The industry also provides millions of jobs—4.7 million as per a Niti Aayog estimate—making it the fifth-largest employer in India. The industry is expected to add more than 500,000 jobs every year.

Healthcare in India took on a decidedly ugly face during the two years of the covid-19 pandemic, especially during the first two waves, before vaccines were ready. A shortage of beds, doctors, nurses and oxygen crippled the system.

The battle took a toll not only on patients but also on doctors and nurses, and managers of India’s hospitals. Since then, things have improved, and India handled the third and fourth waves of covid-19 very well, with the vaccination programme proving effective.

Several challenges remain. A population of 1.4 billion, a large chunk of whom are poor and cannot afford to pay for healthcare or even medical insurance, is at the crux of the problem.

A well-meaning but overwhelmed public healthcare infrastructure, not only in villages and small towns, but even in large cities and metros, has made healthcare access on time difficult. Technology, and tech-enabled startups, have begun to make a difference, but much more is needed in terms of investments and infra build-up.

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Updated: 28 Nov 2023, 11:57 PM IST


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