Availability of doctors is a key reason for patients selecting private facility outpatient treatments
While progress has been made in India over the past decade from both public and private sector initiatives, significant challenges persist in providing quality healthcare on an equitable, accessible and affordable basis across all regions and communities, according to a new IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics study.
The study - Understanding Healthcare Access in India: What is the Current State? - is the most comprehensive assessment of healthcare access undertaken since 2004 and is based on an extensive survey of nearly 15,000 households covering all socio-economic groups in rural and urban areas across 12 states. Information was gathered on more than 30,000 healthcare system interactions, supplemented by interviews with over 1,000 doctors and experts.
"The healthcare system in India is not delivering affordable, acceptable and accessible healthcare to all Indians - which must be the test of its quality," says Arun Maira, member, Planning Commission of India. "Fixes to only parts of the system cannot produce the systemic changes required. In fact, some fixes to only a part, without considering their effects on other parts of the system, can backfire as indeed some are. IMS Health's healthcare access study provides an objective map of the whole system, which can be used to show where the leverage points for action are and to engage stakeholders to arrive at agreements of what strategies will improve the system's performance. I hope this study will be publicized widely and, supplemented with other information, used to stimulate a more collaborative discourse amongst stakeholders."
The study was conducted by IMS Health India, with funding provided by the Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. Support also was provided by the Indian Drug Manufacturers' Association. The survey, analysis and report preparation were conducted independently.
According to Amit Backliwal, managing director, IMS Health India, "The study's findings provide a solid foundation for the discussion and debate required to align efforts by all stakeholders to advance healthcare access for all Indians. And, it provides a useful baseline for developing a roadmap to improve availability, raise performance levels and expand affordability in the long term."