The proposed National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) can unlock incremental economic value of over $200 billion for the health sector over the next 10 years. If implemented with improved health outcomes, there will be an increase in productivity which will lead to an additional benefit of $200-250 billion to India's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), said a report.
The report of global management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and industry body The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) said there will be a main open digital ecosystem (ODE) that will drive healthcare transformation in India. This will include transparency of information with 'health registries' acting as the single source of information for all stakeholders. Ability of all stakeholders to use data interoperable between different stakeholders will allow patients to share their digital health records across providers. Further, standardised claim processing, digitised prescriptions and development of patient-centric innovations will improve healthcare in India.
It said healthcare access will undergo a fundamental shift with increased adoption of digital service delivery models such as e-consultation, e-pharmacy, e-diagnostics and e-ICU, with increased demand for Out-Patient Department (OPD) care. Affordability will increase as competition, coupled with reduction in administrative costs will lead to price rationalisation in the sector. Patient trust will increase due to health registries as it allows patients to select providers as per their needs and preferences.
Diagnosis rates will increase for medical conditions due to higher OPD and more "consumerism" (patient's self-involvement in their care), driven by aspects like digital health records. Health insurers' business models will transform due to overall reduction in costs, catalysing a stronger shift to managed care, including the introduction of the next generation of insurance products, including OPD insurance.
The report said digital health will improve care quality significantly since patient behaviour will improve as they are able to better access healthcare. New healthcare models will evolve with analytics on aggregated and anonymised data allowing population wide co-relation between clinician advice and health outcomes, leading to standardising clinical protocols and improving care quality. Payors will reward providers that deliver higher quality care, as insurers will steer patients towards providers with better quality, making healthcare more evidence-driven and catalysing innovations in clinical practices, the report adds.
Currently, healthcare stakeholders use disparate health data systems that create inefficiencies in multi-stakeholder processes and interactions. These processes and interactions will be streamlined significantly with significant cost savings for all players. Digital health will simplify providers' administrative systems-processes, streamline claim filing and processing. Digital "ways of working" will reduce workforce costs and increase productivity, leading to significant cost savings for the entire healthcare ecosystem, the report says.
Th report adds the new digital health system will drastically change healthcare market dynamics, threatening existing business models. The report anticipates Central Government to play a critical role in shaping its evolution including policies, standards, and the overall design of the systems and processes.
The State governments will play a dual role - ensure roll-outs of the Health ODE (registration of patients and providers), and drive on the ground management change and identifying implications, expediting separation of its role as a provider, payor and regulator to avoid conflicts, it says. Health tech start-ups stand to benefit the most and are expected to drive the consumerism of healthcare with higher patient engagement. New players will emerge, and business models will undergo significant shifts, said the report.