Paradox of Indian healthcare

With technology in our hands and improved accessibility, the world is now one common marketplace for products and services. To rewind back to the days of hunting for an imported Sony TV, traveling outside India to experience 5-star hospitality services, importing an iPhone jailbreaking it, etc we are now in a world where everything is within ones reach. What has also happened is that the costs are more streamlined getting the best products and services at the best prices.

The cost differences are now diminishing between the western world and India for both products and services. In fact, the costs for technological products are actually higher in India compared to the west (Eg: cars, cellphones, etc). But, in a world where services have to be provided with the use of technology, shouldn’t be that the prices of services be proportional to the prices of products. That’s exactly why the prices of staying in 5-star hotels in India matches that in the west, sometimes even being higher. Forget 5-star, you can even get to stay at well-equipped budget hotels in the US, that’s cheaper than those similar in India.

Let’s interchange hotels with hospitals here. From a secondary or tertiary care standpoint, most of the equipments used in diagnostics, critical care, and surgeries are similar across the world. Indian hospitals often use the lines “World-class health care” as a branding opportunity, making them invest in the best possible technologies to their needs/capabilities.No better than COVID showed us the strength of private healthcare infrastructure, even in tier-2 and 3 cities.

But, is the service costs the same in comparison to the west. It’s a big laughter!!!! Indian medical costs are some of the lowest in the world. Forget doctors de-valuing themselves which is separate previously written blog, the governments, and the insurance companies are continuing to squeeze the hospitals on cost provisions, at the same time expecting world-class treatment. The expectations can be compared to paying 3rd class fares for a Japanese high-speed rail. They fail to understand “you get what you are willing to pay”!!

Indian healthcare is fighting/will continue to fight with the paradox of having to meet so-called world-class standards(having successfully achieved so far) at one end and the stinginess in an attitude of the stakeholders towards this healthcare costs on the other end !!!

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