Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Tuesday, Nov 04, 2003

Port Info

Group Sites

Industry & Economy - Health

`Telemedicine can bridge the healthcare divide'

Our Bureau

Chennai , Nov. 3

THE paradox of healthcare in India is that it is not accessible to almost 80 per cent of the population while the remaining 20 per cent are treated at hospitals that can be counted among the world's best.

Dr Alok Roy, Chairman, Healthcare Sub-Committee, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) - Southern Region, and Managing Director, Family Health Plan Ltd, an Apollo Group Enterprise, said that a number of patients from the neighbouring countries have started coming to India for health care, because of the high quality and low cost involved.

He said that an open-heart surgery would cost anywhere between $34,000 and $70,000 in the UK, and about $1,50,000 in the US. The cost of similar treatment in India would be anything from $3,000 to $10,000. With the numbers of patients increasing this would make the healthcare sector a major driver of the economy, he said.

On the other hand, a major cause for death in India is the lack of adequate healthcare. Dr Roy said that this situation requires some out-of-the-box thinking, like telemedicine, as putting up more hospital beds and clinics are obviously not the answer.

Another problem is that there are not enough specialist doctors in rural areas. He said, for instance, Chennai has 57 neurosurgeons while all the eight northeastern States put together have just three. Telemedicine - doctors advising treatment over the video - will help a general practitioner in a remote area to hook up with an expert in a more advanced urban centre. The virtual clinic is the only way out, he said.

The Karnataka Government has come out with group insurance schemes for the police force and the farmers "which enables them to be treated at the best hospitals", Dr Roy said. Family Health Plan has also approached the Tamil Nadu Government with a similar proposal for the Tamil Nadu Corporation for the Development of Women.

The CII is also planning to come up with a system of accreditation for hospitals and are in talks with Crisil and ICRA, he said.

Dr Roy said that the CII is organising a series of healthcare conferences for its members on awareness of preventive oncology (or preventing cancer) and telemedicine. The programme will be held in Chennai on November 12.

Article E-Mail :: Comment :: Syndication

Stories in this Section
Time range for farm weather forecasts to be enhanced

CII revises growth rate up to 7.2%
India becoming dumping ground for world mercury: CSE
EU Heads of Mission meet in Mumbai
Iran keen to boost bilateral trade ties with India
`Make AIDS drugs affordable at home first'
`Telemedicine can bridge the healthcare divide'
GAIL's separate gas trading co by 2008
New tariff regime in offing for petro pipeline scheme
Chhattisgarh may adopt AP model for power reforms
Govt to pay Rs 200-cr subsidy to TNEB
Karnataka to dilute stake in BESCom
Reliance, Essar apply for power trading licence
National Tax Tribunal ruffles legal feathers — AIFTP to contest Ordinance provisions
Kerala HC rules against fee for renewal of registrations
Steps to make textile sector competitive
Naidu promises help to SSIs
Desalination project to be expedited
Bengal sacks 2 medicos for attack on scribes
India Inc expresses disappointment
CII to discuss ways to market Indian films abroad
Nabard plan for Tirunelveli
Credit outlay for Virudhunagar
DWCRA Bazaar draws crowds
Business fest at IIT Powai
Texas Instruments to hold quiz in Bangalore
AAI celebrates vigilance awareness week
Despite poor show by traditional items — Exports rise 11 pc in Q1
Exporters feel let down
Herbal cultivation training programme
Parasailing on Krishna river
Tourist resort development corporations to be merged in Kerala
Knorr Annapurna `safe'

The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | Home |

Copyright 2003, The Hindu Business Line. Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu Business Line