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Healthcare industry: Surging ahead

India’s stint with 8% economic growth and Finance Minister’s advocacy of possible 10% made the World Economic Summit at Davos, Switzerland to focus on India as a fast emerging economy along with China. Healthcare industry in India has been and is expected to be one of the major contributors to this economic surge of India. India’s healthcare industry is worth $23 billion today or roughly 4% of GDP. The industry is expected to grow by around 13% per year for the next four years. In India more than 50% of the total health expenditure comes from individuals as against a state level contribution of below 30%.

Current scenario

The healthcare industry has come a long way from the days when those who could afford it had to travel abroad. Today patients from neighboring countries, Middle East, UK are flocking to India for specialized treatment. In India healthcare is delivered through both the public sector and private sector. But the government funds allocated to healthcare sector have always been low in relation to the population of the country.

In the private sector healthcare industry, healthcare facilities are run for profit by companies. Healthcare facilities run by charitable organizations also provide services totally free or at very low costs depending on the income of the patient or patient’s family. On the other hand the pharma market turnover was over $ 8 billion for year 2003-2004 and the exports were $ 3.5 billion. The pharma sector is growing at an annual rate of 9%.

Looking at Indian healthcare market in a Pan India perspective more than half million doctors are employed in 15097 hospitals. Additionally there are 0.75 million nurses who look after more than 870,000 hospital beds.

Market trends

Over the last five decades India has built up a vast health infrastructure and manpower at primary, secondary and tertiary care in government, voluntary and private sectors. Currently private sector health services range from those provided by large corporate hospitals, smaller hospitals and nursing homes and clinics run by qualified personnel.

A majority of the private sector hospitals are small establishments with 85% of them having less than 25 beds. Private tertiary care institutions, providing speciality and super speciality care, account for only 1 to 2% of the total number of institutions, while corporate hospitals constitute less than 1%. The private sector accounts for 82% of all out patient visits and 52% of hospitalization at all India level. Of late India is becoming a preferred healthcare destination for neighboring countries and the West due to low cost and high quality of treatment available giving rise to the term medical tourism. This has had a cascading effect with more and more hospitals in the private sector upgrading their facilities to land a slice of this business.

Medical insurance which was non existent earlier has now opened up. More and more of the Indian population is taking up insurance which results in increased spending on healthcare.

As cost of medical procedures seems out of control in the West, patients are becoming medical tourist in India. Given the availability of top of the line hospital facilities, diagnostic facilities and medical practitioners, this has become a virtual growth sector. According to Confederation of Indian Industries, India has a potential to attract 1 million health tourists per annum, which could contribute $ 5 billion to the economy. The fall out of this would be up gradation of medical facilities, in terms of new equipments, diagnostic lab reports, equipments etc.

Employment scenario

Healthcare, across the world, is considered to be the largest employer. Healthcare today offers direct employment to over 4 million people in India, which is expected to go up to almost 7 million by 2012. And the jobs are not just restricted to doctors and nurses. This sector would require a large number of paramedical staff, and more importantly a large number of managers with expertise across different functions.

When this scribe searched through the portal of Apollo Hospitals, Delhi (www.apollohospdelhi.com), variety of job openings came to the fore. The Hospital is looking for,

Registrars -- MBBS with Post Graduate Degree with Preferably One Year Experience in the given specialities,

Residents -- MBBS Preferably One Year I.C.U. Experience from Reputed Hospital,

X 'Ray Technicion -- Candidate must posses 2 years diploma in radiography from a recognized institute with minimum 2 years experience in hospital/diagnostic centre of repute,

Clinical Instructions/Tutors (For Apollo School of Nursing) -- B.Sc. (Nursing) With Minimum 2 Years Teaching/Clinical Experience Can Apply,

Chef - De – Partie -- Candidate must possess Diploma in Hotel Management with 3-5 yrs experience in Hotel Industry,

Service Line Administrator -- Candidate must have a masters degree in business or healthcare administration with 5-10 years relevent experience. He should be unafraid to make decisions, able to work collaboratively, relate well to physicians and nurses, yet move forward without becoming immobilized by inertia. Profound understanding of the business side of the Service Line is essential,

Radiotherapy Technologist / Sr. Technician -- Candidate must possess Degree / Diploma in Radiotherapy Technology from a recognized institute with sufficient experience in a reputed hospital,

Medical Transcriptionist -- Candidate must be 10+2 / Graduate with a certificate course in Medical Transcription from a recognized institute,

Call Centre Officer -- Candidate must be Graduate with effective communication and listening skills,

Marketing Executives -- MBAs / MHAs with 2-3 years of Sales / Business Development experience in Healthcare / Pharma / Service Industry. Self-starters with pleasing personality and good communication & relationship building skills need apply.

For people driven by opportunities to 'create', healthcare will perhaps offer highest opportunities in terms of challenges and complexity of job contents. The way it happened in financial services or retailing in the last few years, healthcare will require a vast amount of developmental work in creation of systems, processes, framework for overall business strategy.
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