“Innovation has been integral to business and economic growth in India across many industries – not least so healthcare. Indian innovators in healthcare are leading the world in new business models and ways of delivering high quality and low cost care.

At the India Economic Summit in Mumbai, the International Partnership for Innovative Healthcare Delivery (a new organisation launched through the World Economic Summit) will convene to discuss how these successful innovations can be scaled further in India and made more relevant to the rest of the world.

Health systems around the world face the challenge of delivering better quality care with scarce resources. Ministers of Health in most countries are constantly looking for ways to reverse the trend of the ever-increasing cost of healthcare driven by major trends such as unhealthy lifestyles and an ageing population.

In India – the challenge is no different and the need to find low-cost yet high-quality models for delivering healthcare is an imperative. India also faces the challenge that 75 per cent of healthcare spending is out-of-pocket which puts huge pressure on the poorer segments of society.

LifeSpring Hospitals in Hyderabad delivers babies at a fraction of the cost of comparable clinics by right-skilling the workforce and providing a standardised, no-frills service. The result is an ability to perform deliveries at a quarter the comparable cost whilst giving its customers a quality service.

Aravind Eye Care in Madurai applies standardised processes, drives efficiency of its most expensive assets which are its doctors, and eliminates waste from the system to provide cataracts at a fraction of the cost of the National Health Service in the UK whilst demonstrating better quality.

Models of care were identified through work at the World Economic Forum which has led to the creation of a new organisation that supports the scale up and replication of successful models.

How the new organisation works

The International Partnership for Innovative Healthcare Delivery (IPIHD) connects stakeholders to share knowledge, supports via mentoring and creates a positive impact on healthcare systems by diffusing innovation globally. It has support from innovators, companies (e.g., AstraZeneca, Cisco, McKinsey & Company and Medtronic), foundations (including Robert Wood Johnson Foundation) and health systems (including Rio de Janeiro).

For the IPIHD, India is a critical country both in terms of creating opportunities to work with innovators to help them achieve scale of their business models but also to learn from what is happening in the country and finding implications to other health systems around the world.

The ultimate success of IPIHD would be having impact in both these areas: showing that these examples of innovation in India are scalable and learning what it takes to transform healthcare systems in other countries using innovation from India.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated November 13, 2011)
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