Medical tourism in India needs quality investment

Oct 3, 2016 0

Greater Noida–India needs to focus on quality investment to remain globally competitive in the area of medical tourism, Union Health secretary C.K. Mishra said on Monday.

Mishra’s remarks came at the inaugural ceremony of the second edition of “Advantage Health Care India” (AHCI), an initiative of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, in association with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (Ficci) and Service Export Promotion Council (SEPC).

C.K. Mishra

C.K. Mishra

Addressing the gathering of over 500 delegates from around the globe, Mishra said that Indian healthcare has been constantly improving and globally acknowledged.

“However, given the scenario, it is time for both celebration and introspection — celebration, as the sector has done well and is continuously striving to do well, and introspection, because there is still a lot to do, as there is a huge opportunity still to be tapped,” he observed.

On the occasion, the Secretary, along with other dignitaries, released the “Empanelment Criteria for Medical Facilitators”, prepared by the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH) under the guidance of Ministry of Commerce & Industry, supported by Ficci.

Ficci President Harshavardhan Neotia and Ficci Chairperson Sangita Reddy were also present at the event.

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Indian company joins hands with Mass General Hospital for 3D post-processing services

Sep 17, 2016 0

Bengaluru–City-based tele-diagnostic delivery company Teleradiology Solutions (TRS) on Saturday announced a collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston – one of the top-ranked hospitals in the US — to offer 3D image post-processing services.

Three dimensional images are fast and easy to read and help physicians diagnose and treat a wide range of patients with confidence and clarity.

Arjun Kalyanpur

Arjun Kalyanpur

“There has been increasing deployment and utilisation of high-end CT and MRI scan equipment globally as well as in India, and such high resolution imaging requires effective 3D post-processing for its benefits to be most optimally realised,” Arjun Kalyanpur, Founder and CEO of Teleradiology Solutions, said in a statement.

“As an example, 3D image post-processing of aneurysms and vessel blockages that may potentially result in life threatening complications can greatly facilitate their diagnosis, treatment and subsequent follow-up of such conditions, thereby benefiting treating physicians and impacting patients,” Kalyanpur explained.

TRS has invested $300,000 in a 3D Imaging Lab facility in Bengaluru, which will be manned by a specialised team of 3D-trained radiologists.

As a result of the new collaboration, Massachusetts General Hospital will make available its proprietary 3D protocols to TRS, the statement said.

This collaboration is likely to open up new patient care opportunities in India as well as across Asia, Africa and other parts of the world as the technology and 3D post-processing services can be offered to other hospitals as well.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to work closely with TRS to enhance the diagnostic capabilities and timeliness of information that can help improve lives for patients,” Gordon J Harris, Director, 3D Imaging Service, Massachusetts General Hospital said.

“We hope that access to this technology can expand to providers in South Asia, as high-quality post-processing 3D imaging could have a significant impact on care – particularly emergency and trauma care – across the region,” Harris noted. (IANS)

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Dr Reddy’s to market Amgen’s three medicines in India

Sep 16, 2016 0

Hyderabad– Pharma major Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories has expanded its strategic collaboration with Amgen, one of the world’s leading independent biotechnology companies, to market and distribute three of Amgen’s medicines in India in the therapy areas of oncology and osteoporosis.

Under this collaboration, according to a press statement from Dr. Reddy’s on Friday, the company will commercialise Amgen’s XGEVA (denosumab), Vectibix (panitumumab) and Prolia (denosumab) in India.

The collaboration leverages the capabilities of both companies, combining Amgen’s innovative therapies with Dr. Reddy’s deep understanding of patient and physician needs in India, the statement said.

“These medicines provide unique treatment options to physicians to address unmet medical needs in the area of oncology and osteoporosis,” said M.V. Ramana, the Executive Vice President & Head of Emerging markets and India Business, Dr Reddy’s.

“We are happy to strengthen our relationship with Dr Reddy’s. Amgen is committed to addressing unmet medical needs of patients in India, and we are pleased with the commitment Dr Reddy’s has demonstrated towards making our medicines available in India as quickly as possible,” said Penny Wan, the Amgen Vice President & General Manager, Japan Asia Pacific Region.

Last year, Dr. Reddy’s had announced an initial strategic collaboration with Amgen to execute a full range of regulatory and commercial services to seek approval of and launch Amgen’s Kyprolis (carfilzomib), BLINCYTO (blinatumomab) and Repatha (evolocumab) in India. (IANS)

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India short of 500,000 doctors, bodies on shoulders reminders of health crisis

Sep 1, 2016 0

New Delhi– In Odisha, a man slung his wife’s body over his shoulder and carried it 10 km after being denied an ambulance on August 24, 2016.

In Kanpur, a man’s sick son died on his shoulder after being denied admission to a hospital on August 29, 2016.

Such cases become visible when they get social media and television attention, but millions cannot access India’s overburdened hospitals and inadequate medical facilities, a crisis illustrated by the fact that India is short of nearly 500,000 doctors, based on the World Health Organisation (WHO) norm of 1:1,000 population, according to an IndiaSpend analysis of government data.

Doctor-Indian-DreamtimeWith more than 740,000 active doctors at the end of 2014 — a claimed doctor-patient population ratio of 1:1,674, worse than Vietnam, Algeria and Pakistan — the doctor shortage was one of the health-management failures cited by the report of a parliamentary committee on health and family welfare, which presented its findings on March 8, 2016.

Illegal capitation fees in private medical colleges, a health-services inequality between urban and rural India and a disconnect between the public-health and medical-education systems were among the issues the committee investigated while probing the Medical Council of India, the 82-year-old organisation responsible for medical-education standards.

Up to 55 per cent of India’s 55,000 doctors graduate every year from private colleges, many of which charge illegal donations, or “capitation fees”; in Tamil Nadu, it now costs a medical student from such a college Rs 2 crore to get a MBBS degree, the Times Of India reported on August 26, 2016.

The imbalances begin with access to medical education.

States with nearly half the population have only a fifth of MBBS seats

“Six states, which represent 31 per cent of India’s population, have 58 per cent MBBS seats; on the other hand, eight states, which comprise 46 per cent of India’s population, have only 21 per cent MBBS seats,” said an unnamed expert who deposed before the parliamentary committee.

These medical-education imbalances reflect larger public-healthcare issues. In general, poverty is correlated with the lack of healthcare. For instance, among states with the highest proportion of undernourished children, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh have the worst infrastructure for institutional deliveries.

India’s poorer states have health indicators that are worse than many nations poorer than them, and India’s healthcare spending is the lowest among BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) nations, as are its health indicators.

Every year, 55,000 doctors complete their MBBS and 25,000 post-graduation nationwide, said another unnamed expert. At this rate of growth, he told the committee, India should have a doctor (allopathic) for every 1,250 people for a population of 1.3 billion by 2020, and one for every 1,075 by 2022 (population: 1.36 billion).

“However, the committee has been informed… that doctors cannot be produced overnight, and if we add 100 medical colleges every year for the next five years, only by the year 2029 will the country have adequate number of doctors,” the second expert said.

The shortage of doctors, the report said, is despite the increase in medical colleges, from 23 in 1947 to 398 at the end of 2014. India, the report noted, has more medical colleges than any country, and 49,930 admissions were available in 2014.

“An expert who appeared before the committee submitted that India was very very short of doctors and to meet this shortfall, India needs to have not four hundred, but one thousand medical colleges,” the report said.

The central government has approved 22 medical colleges with 1,765 seats in the last two years, according to an e-book published by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The NITI Aayog, the government’s think-tank, has prepared the draft National Education Commission Bill, 2016, to reassess India’s healthcare and medical-education infrastructure.

While 11 new All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) have been added with 1,100 seats, the government has proposed an additional 4,700 MBBS seats.

As many as 5,540 MBBS seats and 1,004 PG seats have been added in the last two academic sessions, the e-book said.

Medical-education shortages manifest themselves in under-staffed public-health services nationwide: There is an 83 per cent shortage of specialist medical professionals in community health centres (CHCs), as IndiaSpend reported in September 2015.

Public-health centres across India’s rural areas — 25,308 in 29 states and seven union territories — are short of more than 3,000 doctors, the scarcity rising 200 per cent (or tripling) over 10 years, IndiaSpend reported in February 2016.

The committee was, thus, sceptical of the government’s claims of the doctor-population ratio.

“Given the fact that the Indian Medical Register is not a live database and contains names of doctors who may have passed away or retired from active practice, by now, as well as those with a permanent address outside India and that there is no mechanism in place for filtering out such cases, the Committee is highly sceptical of the ministry’s claim of having one doctor per 1,674 population,” the parliamentary report said. “In view of the above, the Committee feels that the total universe of doctors in India is much smaller than the official figure, and we may have one doctor per 2,000 population, if not more.”

(In arrangement with IndiaSpend.org, a data-driven, non-profit, public interest journalism platform. The views expressed are those of IndiaSpend.)

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India, US sign MoU for cooperation in traditional medicine

Aug 24, 2016 0

New Delhi– The Pharmacopoeia Commission for Indian Medicine and Homoeopathy (PCIM&H) and the United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) inked an MoU on Wednesday for co-operation in traditional medicine, said an official statement.

It will also cover collaboration in identification, development, and dissemination of science-based standards in this field at an international level, it said.

K.V. Surendra Nath

K.V. Surendra Nath

The MoU was signed by Rajiv Kumar Sharma, Director, PCIM & H and Dr. K.V. Surendra Nath, Senior Vice President, Global Sites, USP in the presence of AYUSH (ayurveda, yoga, unani, siddhant and homeopathy) Secretary Ajit Sharan.

According to the ministry, the goal of the MoU is to enhance public health in India, US, and globally by working together to increase the awareness and understanding of quality traditional and herbal medicines, botanical dietary supplements, and their products.

“The goal will also be to increase the availability and access to needed public standards for traditional/herbal medicines, botanical dietary supplements, and their products,” said the statement.

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Patients and Healthcare Professionals Divided on Responsibility and Cost in Healthcare

Aug 22, 2016 0

NORWALK, Conn.–Healthcare research released from Xerox shows large disconnects between patients and healthcare professionals providing and insuring their care. This research suggests that across all participants in the U.S. healthcare system, there is still much to be settled regarding the transformation driven by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Who is responsible for consumers’ health?

Nearly 50 percent of consumers say they take complete responsibility for their health, whereas less than 6 percent of healthcare professionals believe this to be true. In addition, less than 5 percent of consumers say they don’t know how to take charge of their own healthcare, but nearly 40 percent of payers and providers say consumers don’t know how to take charge.

Moreover, 90 percent of payers and providers say patients need encouragement and help from their healthcare provider to make living a healthier lifestyle a priority, but only 55 percent of patients say they need such encouragement.

The study, conducted by Y&R’s BAV Consulting on behalf of Xerox1, surveyed 761 U.S. adults who purchase health insurance and are healthcare decision makers for their households and 204 healthcare payers and providers.

Rohan Kulkarni

Rohan Kulkarni

“Consumers and healthcare professionals have very different views on patient empowerment and control,” said Rohan Kulkarni, vice president of Strategy and Portfolio, Xerox Healthcare Business Group. “Payers and providers are much less likely to believe patients are taking responsibility for their health than what patients perceive to be true. The results suggest that improved communication could allow healthcare professionals to better showcase to their patients how they’re a partner in their health.”

One solution that can help is Xerox’s Virtual Health Solutions that allows providers to communicate and connect with their patients anytime and anywhere by overcoming interoperability challenges and powering front and back office services.

Are patients shopping around?

The research also found discrepancies between patients and professionals regarding a patient’s willingness to shop for healthcare.

Only 34 percent of consumers are more likely to shop around for a provider than they were one year ago, but more than 71 percent of payers and providers think patients are shopping.
When asked what consumers consider the top priority when selecting a provider, consumers said quality of care is number one. But payers and providers believe whether or not they take the patient’s insurance plan is the top consideration.
Ninety-five percent of payers and providers believe patients are not seeking or delaying treatment due to cost concerns, but only 42 percent of consumers say this is true.

“A lot of payers and providers think patients are shopping around for the best healthcare, but it simply is not the case,” continued Kulkarni. “The industry is clearly still adjusting to the shift toward consumer-centricity, and payers and providers may be best served to focus on patient retention by enhancing their communication channels.”

What is the solution?

Over 63 percent of consumers wish their pharmacist, healthcare provider and insurance company were more connected on their personal health. While interactions with each stakeholder are often transaction-based, Xerox’s Health Outcome Solutions offering can help the effort to coordinate care. The solution, currently available for providers and accountable care organizations with a payer solution coming in the future, offers a customized combination of analytics, clinical, technology and administrative services that help improve the health of patient populations.

Xerox also offers Care Integration Services that help healthcare payers identify members who need support and engage them with timely and personal clinical interventions. This enhanced member outreach service increases payers’ ability to assist their members in maintaining wellness and managing chronic medical conditions.

 

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AGS Health opens new facility in Hyderabad, to hire over 1,000 people

Aug 17, 2016 0

Hyderabad–AGS Health, a global provider of revenue cycle, healthcare analytics and medical coding services to leading US healthcare providers, on Wednesday opened a new facility in Hyderabad.

Located at Western Pearl in Hitec City, this is the company’s largest delivery centre with a capacity to seat over 1,000 employees.

Devendra Saharia, CEO and Co-Founder, AGS Health told reporters that the company, which has 50 employees at its existing facility here, will hire 1,500 employees over the next one year.

The company invested $3 million in the Hyderabad centre. He said AGS has so far invested $10 million in India and plans to invest another $15 million in the next few years.

Started in 2011, AGS Health has facilities in Chennai, Hyderabad, Vellore and Noida. It has over 5,000 employees and 50 clients who are all from the US.

The new office will also be hosting a world class 90 seat in-house training academy and a dedicated 150-seat cutting-edge recruitment centre.

Saharia said as a pioneer in bringing offshore Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) and healthcare analytics to the mainstream, AGS Health continues to be a market leader, servicing the $30 billion US RCM industry.

“The new state-of-the-art facility will help the company service their growing base of blue chip clients, while expanding their national footprint to access the best and brightest talent in and around Hyderabad. The entire healthcare revenue cycle market in India today employs about 50,000 people,” he added.

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Tina Ambani launches multiple cancer initiatives for Maharashtra

Aug 13, 2016 0

Mumbai–In a major boost for oncology treatment, the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital (KDAH), Andheri, here will set up 18 sophisticated cancer care centres in mofussil areas, a top official said here on Saturday.

KDAH Chairperson Tina Ambani also announced the launch of Edge Radiosurgery system — a first in South Asia — to offer a precise, non-invasive alternative to conventional cancer surgery.

“The launch of Edge and 18 cancer centres in Maharashtra not only represents a significant milestone in our journey but reaffirms KDAH’s endeavour to make international innovations available and accessible to all Indians,” Tina Ambani said on the occasion.

She described cancer as “one of the biggest public health challenges of our times” which the KDAH was ready to tackle head on with its medical talent and world-class technology as part of its focus on advancing healthcare technologies and medical excellent to facilitate healthcare access in the country.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at the launch of Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospitals Oncology Program

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at the launch of Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospitals Oncology Program

Lauding the KDAH move, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said it would take the fight against cancer to the next level and the state needs many more such institutes to take the initiative in advancement in healthcare.

“The launch of Edge is important because the precision technology will not only bring down cost but also reduce the pain and trauma of the patients and their families. KDAH has become a technological milestone in the country,” Fadnavis said.

The Reliance Group’s KDAH will acquire 18 advanced TrueBeam medical linear accelerators to equip the new cancer centres in Maharashtra, the first of which are likely to be operational in Akola, Gondia and Solapur in 2017, and the rest will roll out in a couple of years.

The evolution in advanced surgery was facilitated in the presence of internationally renowned radiation oncology specialists — Dr. M. Salim U. Siddiqui from Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, USA and Prof. Carlo Greco, Managing Director and Director of Clinical Research, Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, Lisbon, Portugal.

The two medicos Siddiqui and Greco are in India to share their knowledge and expertise in the new technology among leading oncologists from India.

Explaining the benefits of Edge Radiosurgery, KDAH’s head of Radiation Oncology Dr. Kaustav Talapatra said its a non-invasive technique using a GPS-enabled tracking device that helps the radiologist constantly track the movement of affected cells even as treatment is being delivered, allowing treatment with a high degree of accuracy.

“This precision radiation provides huge advantages in term of convenience, cost and comfort for patients as the number of sessions reduces significantly, with no incision or hospital stay, thereby enabling them to return to their normal lives within 15-30 minutes or less,” Talapatra said.

Ashok Kakkar, Sr. MD, Varian India which is the market and technology leader in radiotherapy and radiosurgery systems, said KDAH’s plan to install 18 TrueBeam machines is the largest, one-time commitment by any single institute.

“This is a major investment program by KDAH to remain ahead of the curve in adopting latest technologies in line with the best global practises in the area of Cancer care across the state of Maharashtra,” Kakkar said.

KDAH’s Centre for Cancer deals with the widest range of cancers and brings together multidisciplinary expertise under a single roof to offer a broad scope of cancer services, public education, screening, diagnosis, treatment, pain management and palliative care.

According to National Cancer Institute, a whopping 1.25 million new cancer cases are reported every year in India, but there are only a few comprehensive cancer care centres in the country, with a majority located in the metros. (IANS)

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Japanese companies eye healthcare sector in India

Aug 10, 2016 0

New Delhi– Aiming at the huge potential that the healthcare sector in India possesses, two Japanese companies have joined hands with medical chain supplier Carna Medical to further enhance the supply of consumable and disposable products from medical suppliers across India.

During the launch of medical product catalogue, here on Wednesday, the Japanese companies — logistic provider Konoike Transport and medical equipment distributor Medius Holdings — pointed out that India is gradually becoming one of the top countries in healthcare sector and establishing itself as a hub for medical investments.

Carna“There is a vast difference in the medical field in India and Japan. India has got a huge market in healthcare sector and is rapidly growing. Our target is not just metropolitan cities but also tier-two and -three cities as well,” said Minoru Amano, CEO, Carna Medical Database to IANS during the event.

With an initial capital investment of Rs 200 million, the Japanese companies established a joint venture in India to implement Japanese technology and create and distribute medical consumable products.

 

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E-Pharmacy to improve accessibility, affordability of medicines in India

Jul 25, 2016 0

New Delhi–Widespread use of the internet will improve accessibility and affordability of medicines in India, said a white paper on ‘e-Pharmacy in India’ by industry chamber FICCI on Monday.

The paper notes that India is experiencing a rapid transition with the rising burden of chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which currently accounts for around 60 percent of the total deaths and is due to rapid urbanisation, increased motorisation, mechanisation and sedentary lifestyle, especially among the working age groups.

According to the paper, the factors driving the demand for e-Pharmacy in India include rising number of people with unmet medical needs due to large population and increasing penetration of internet in both urban and rural India.

“With the rapidly changing consumer behavior in India, there is a huge demand for accessing a wide range of products at the click of a button, and at competitive prices,” the statement said.

According to the paper, it is expected that the e-Pharmacy model could account for 5-15 percent of the total pharma sales in India, largely by enhancing adherence and access to the medicines for a lot of under-served population.

The paper found a positive perception regarding e-pharmacy among medical practitioners as almost 90 percent of respondents perceive it as an acceptable means of sale and purchase of pharmaceutical products.

It recommended for a separate licence and registry arrangement for e-Pharmacy players and dispensation of drugs should be undertaken through the physical pharmacy, duly licensed under Part VI of the Drug Rules. (IANS)

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