According to a study, the improvement in the health sector can lead to a jump in India’s GDP.
Union Budget 2021-22 Expectations for Healthcare: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the budget for the financial year 2021-22 on 1 February next year. This budget can bring big changes for the healthcare sector of the country. In the era of Corona epidemic and in the case of digital health, technology has proved its big role. Digital Health can further enhance its role by aiming for effective management or universal health coverage regarding corona vaccination, if better policies are made about it.
The next budget should focus on the proliferation of digital healthcare as it can also provide affordable health facilities to the people of remote areas. Digital health can play a big role in primary and secondary care, diagnostics-imaging, vaccination and quality of services. Digital health now includes not only these services but also takes care from the recruitment of patients till the discharge and after discharge.
The Corona epidemic has taught a good lesson and this has led to unprecedented spending on the health sector. Health sector in India has been spending less than neighboring countries. Due to Corona epidemic, now the sector needs to be strengthened. Due to the epidemic, technological use in the health sector is increasing now.
Expect to increase spending by 0.5% every year
The central government announced an ambitious national health policy three years ago in 2017, stating that government spending on the health sector would be increased from 1.15 percent to 2.5 percent of GDP. However, thereafter there was a slight increase in the budget allocation for the health sector in FY 2018-19 and FY 2019-20.
The entire healthcare infrastructure, including digital health, needs to be strengthened. The healthcare sector expects the government to spend an additional 0.5 per cent of GDP every year for the next five years.
Need for shared digital infrastructure
The central government has already taken big steps this year regarding the health sector. National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in August 2020. The goal of this is to create a digital health ecosystem. The biggest need of the health sector at this time is shared digital infrastructure and a policy under NDHM.
This type of infrastructure will enable government and private enterprises to provide their services through new methods. A strong digital health ecosystem requires mutual support between private and public sectors. Apart from this, the government should also negotiate with industry players to formulate comprehensive and uniform policies.
Demand to set up an autonomous body
The government should set up a not-for-profit, non-government autonomous body like CII and FICCI for digital healthcare. The government should initiate the formation of such a dedicated organization that can work according to the global, regional and industry agenda for digital healthcare.
Better healthcare increases GDP
Improvement in health will increase productivity, which will increase the country’s GDP by an additional 20-25 thousand million dollars. The Chavan BCG (Boston Consulting Group) has put this in its recent report on digital health. According to the BCG report, this increase in India’s GDP will be due to increasing patients’ trust, diagnosis rate and demand for health insurance products.
Help to fix clinical protocol from database
Through the digital system, those providing health facilities will be aware of the needs of the patients and they will be able to provide services keeping the patient in a better way. Apart from this, if complete data is available, clinical advice and how much it has benefited will be discussed and help in deciding clinical protocols which will improve the quality of health care.
Demand to be kept in low tax slab
Digital health in the country is mainly moving through health tech companies and startups. New and strong digital health ecosystem will be created through better policies. The health-tech community hopes that a Rational Policy Framework will be developed to develop Sustainable Business Models. Healthcare leaders have suggested to the government to set up a digital health or medical innovation fund to fund the needs of this segment.
To increase the role and contribution of digital health, health-tech companies and service providers hope that their products or services will be brought under the purview of lower tax slabs. These types of incentives or policies will be a great support for the health sector.