The healthcare industry in India is one of the country’s largest sectors in terms of both employment and revenue generation. Despite the tremendous growth and advances, the number of challenges to the Indian healthcare industry is increasing day-by-day. Many of the severe ones which are already affecting the system are neglection of the health of the rural population, social inequality, shortage of medical personnel, unmoved medical research, an imbalance in expenditure and cost of health services, the inadequate outlay for health and many others. 

The three main challenges that will have a great impact on the future of Indian Healthcare are :

Ageing Population

The pool of elderly population is expanding each year due to advanced treatments and medicines. In the previous census, 6 percent of India’s population was over 60 years of age but now it has increased to 9 percent. This figure was 6% in the previous census. It is estimated that this number will hit 11 billion in a couple of years, which is a whopping 120 million people. This is a huge number, and the country will need to take care of its long-term healthcare needs with regard to regular monitoring and disease management processes, medicines, etc.

Epidemiological transition

The situation of India facing non-communicable diseases and communicable diseases has totally inverted in the last forty years. In 1980, communicable diseases accounted for 75% of the total disease burden, the rest being chronic and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Today, in 2020, NCDs constitute 65% of the disease burden, a figure which is going to rise to 70% in less than five years. NCDs need long-term treatment and monitoring of infections and diseases, as well as patient participation in providing healthcare. India has to face the challenge of rising NCD burden and its unique demands for the delivery of health care.

Technological Advancements

The India Healthcare industry has made significant advancement owing to the emerging technologies. Its effect on devices and medical equipment alone was not limited. There have also been improvements in the means of access to health care. Mobile technology or e-health is today’s talking points. One area where technology can be used effectively is to improve mental healthcare access and availability in rural areas.  This is significant because 15% of Indians–about 200 million people–are suffering from some form of mental illness, and many of them are living in rural areas.

Dr. Pankaj Gupta, President, IIHMR University, Jaipur, explained in detail about these three challenges and addressed to the assembled students at the inaugural session of the pre-conference of the 24th edition of IIHMR University’s annual international summit. He said, “It is important for students of healthcare to share knowledge about not only the current best practices but also the upcoming ones. But mere knowledge is not enough. It must be digested well, converted to wisdom, applied in practice. Knowledge must lead to the transformation of the individual. The three important mantras for today’s students of healthcare are Sampark (connections), Seva (selfless service) and Sambandh (trust and collaboration).”