Home Healthcare will be the most disruptive trend in the next decade: NATHEALTH

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The Indian 60+ population is expected to grow from 8% of the population in 2010, to 19 percent by 2050 as per United Nations Population Division estimates. India is expected to have more than 300 million people over the age 60 by 2050.Increasing chronic diseases pose main threat. In such a scenario, it is expected that home health services will play a very critical role in contributing towards a healthy India. Lately, home healthcare has transformed the way India looks at elderly care.

Terming the progressively growing Indian Home Healthcare as the main disrupter for the next decade, Healthcare Federation of India (NATHEALTH) has recommended that the government needs to put in place a transparent policy framework pertaining to regulation and quality.

According to NATHEALTH, availability of insurance can be a game changer for this rapidly growing sector. Health insurance penetration in the country is very less and home care is still excluded. To ensure holistic support to the patient, there is a need of convergence of health insurance and home healthcare especially for post-hospitalization needs. This will pave the path for growth of home healthcare.

“Home Healthcare will be the most disruptive trend in the next decade. However challenges are many. The major challenge is to find skilled nurses and other allied health professionals to work for this segment. There is also a need to up skill hospital employees and guide their expansion. Medical professionals need to create a support environment where problems are resolved professionally. Moreover, non-availability of insurance coverage for home care is a roadblock for a robust ecosystem,” said Mr Anjan Bose, Secretary General, NATHEALTH.

“Now the government’s main focus is on health insurance under Ayushman Bharat Mission, hence, it is high time for insurers to capitalize on this opportunity to include home care to quickly grow and increase their scope of coverage. Insurers can provide it as a separate or add-on service to differentiate their product offerings,” he added.

Technology and strong consumer demand are driving the home healthcare market. The space is dotted with healthcare aggregators, doctor discovery platforms, and start-ups offering home healthcare services. Several companies have established home healthcare services in major Indian cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad as well as other smaller cities. Homecare services mainly cater to the demand of Elder Care, Chemotherapy, Rehabilitation, Physiotherapy and Dialysis. Presently, the Indian home healthcare companies are focused on elderly care; rehabilitation; diabetes management. There are new market segments within home healthcare that are opening up, including neo natal care. Home ICU care is one the game-changing innovations. It has potential to reduce the total healthcare cost enormously. Patients can be discharged from hospital and get the recovery in home with the same quality of monitoring and treatment. Remote monitoring systems and ICU control room, real-time monitoring of patients can be done by the experts.

“In view of growing demand and to meet the requirements of the segment, there is an urgent need to prepare a roadmap which will take up issues pertaining to Quality (Accreditation), Supply, Insurance, Skill, Technology and Regulations among others. Being at nascent stage, this space certainly needs promotional policies, regulations or guidelines,” said Mr Vivek Srivastava,Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer, Health Care at Home India and NATHEALTH Member.

Studies show that the market for home healthcare in India is projected to reach US $6.2 Billion by 2020 at a CAGR of 18% from US $3.2 Billion in 2016 million. In 2018, it is expected to touch USD 4.46 billion. (NATHEALTH Home Healthcare Forum/Cyber Media Research Report 2016)

Ms. Meena Ganesh, CEO and MD of Portea Medical and NATHEALTH Member, said, “Cost competitiveness for in-home health services has been a major driver of their demand. Patients end up saving 20-50 per cent cost as compared to regular hospital treatment depending upon the services taken. Home healthcare has the potential to replace up to 65% of unnecessary hospital visits in India, and costs reduction up to 20% incurred on hospital costs. Big healthcare providers have started working closely with Home healthcare companies to ensure continuum of care for their patients are provided and they are able to send patients home earlier with the confidence that the treatment protocol will get executed.

In India, the demand for home-based healthcare services is progressively growing due to several reasons including high hospitalisation costs, rising elderly population, need for personalised medical attention, dismantling of traditional joint family, lack of quality healthcare service network and increase of non-communicable diseases (NCD) that require care, but not necessarily hospitalization. Home Healthcare is gradually becoming the most sought after service especially among elderly and the NCD victims.

Other drivers for homecare are changing demographics, increasing disposable incomes and quest for better and quality care. Over 50 % of all old age deaths in India occur due to chronic diseases. Homecare space would prove very effective. However, India needs to have adequate health infrastructure and policy framework to push this segment.