Healthcare sector needs apex regulatory body: KPMG report.

Friday May 20, 2022 at 4:35 pm

The country’s healthcare sector needs an apex regulatory body and a single-window approval system to improve the ease of doing business and better growth shortly, according to the latest report by KPMG.

Health sector regulatory compliances currently vary from state to state in India. There is an emerging need to simplify the regulatory framework with a single-window approval system while minimizing compliance requirements and maximizing self-governance by adopting standard practices and benchmarks.

“Further, there is a need to institutionalize an apex body that can ensure a uniform regulatory framework for healthcare across the country,” claimed the KPMG report on ’15 top priorities for transforming Indian healthcare: the 2024 agenda’.

Catering to India’s emerging healthcare and pharma landscape like digital health, artificial intelligence, machine learning, medical software as a medical device, and several other such areas is key to simplifying the governance systems.

The union government of India needs to come up with various measures, including a Healthcare Infrastructure Development Fund and a performance-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for the healthcare sector, apart from partnering with the private sector to tap the potential of the nation’s youth to create a robust medical workforce for the desired growth of the healthcare sector shortly.

While the union government of India has set up dedicated funds and schemes for supporting infrastructure development across various subsectors like micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), startups, medical devices parks, electronic development, and others, there are minimal, low-cost capital options for the industry’s private sector to leverage for the development of national healthcare infrastructure.

“There is a dire need to set up a healthcare fund promoted by the Central and state governments to provide capital at low cost, support with dedicated viability gap funding, subsidies on medical equipment, and financial benefits linked to the development of projects across Tier-II and Tier- III cities,” claimed the KPMG report.

It is essential to incentivize the healthcare providers with additional capital investment for setting up desired healthcare facilities across rural and urban areas and for numerous patients treated with successful outcomes.

The incentivization could also be in the form of subsidies on electricity, taxation, and cash. The union government of India’s support, as witnessed in promoting various sectors like pharmaceuticals, agriculture, medical devices, manufacturing, etc., is asking for similar promotion and schemes to develop the healthcare sector.

There is also a need to set up a task force for the nation’s healthcare sector promotion program. Dedicated and comprehensive efforts are needed to drive the healthcare sector promotion agenda with primary objectives of increasing private sector participation, infrastructure development, additional investment, and promotion engagement at national and international platforms, supporting systematic, structured financing at low cost, enabling ease of regulatory approval and interface between the sector’s investors and the union government of India. The healthcare sector also has enormous potential for attracting medical tourism and foreign investment.

For India’s healthcare sector, innovative and blended finance has the potential to play a decisive role in the way the nation solves society’s most significant health challenges. The healthcare sector has plentiful, immediate prospects to leverage their innovative financing to bridge the financing gaps for building a resilient health system. The country is yet to explore and leverage modern, innovative financing models fully. A systematic effort led by India’s union government and private and other potential financing sources is critical in creating and adopting these innovative financing models in the coming times, the report added.

The top 15 priorities for transforming current Indian healthcare and achieving the 2024 agenda, according to the report, include the following

  • Expanding financing for ‘Healthy India’
  • Promoting ‘Healthy India’ as a mass movement
  • Launching a Healthcare Sector Promotion Programme
  • Ensuring health coverage for all
  • Strengthening the primary care system
  • Redefining and reviving public-private partnerships
  • Driving Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) to the last mile
  • National Health App for aggregating healthcare services across the value chain
  • National Task Force for healthcare workforce development
  • Developing National Medical Network
  • Developing ‘National Health Quality Index’ and transparency system
  • Strengthening medical hubs/medicines across India
  • Stepping up the national surveillance system
  • Utilizing telemedicine, virtual care, Metaverse, and decarbonizing healthcare.