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Jan 2021

Chronic diseases on the rise in India

Source: Asia Insurance Review | Nov 2019

According to ‘The India Life Sciences Report 2019’, 31% of physicians in India’s metro cities believe that it will become more difficult to deliver quality healthcare over the next five years. In non-metro cities, there were 24% such doctors apprehensive about the future.
The report produced by Bain & Co in collaboration with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) surveyed 325 doctors across the country. The survey found that 79% of the doctors included in the survey, are finding it difficult to keep pace with the breadth and evolution of disease and treatment protocols. Around 31% of them said they were afraid of the future.
Greater number of people suffering from non-communicable diseases than five years ago
Over 85% of the doctors surveyed said that a greater proportion of their patients had chronic diseases compared to five years ago. 
Doctors are looking for multiple types of support to manage this complexity - 85% of doctors rank upgrading their clinical skills as the most important. Additionally, 62% of doctors believe upgrading the skills of their staff is critical. Doctors also suggest that using practice management and disease management tools can help them deal with the increasing complexity of diseases and patient care in India.
The report outlined six major trends affecting patients, the medical practice environment and ways of working that will shape doctors’ behaviour in the future.
Six major trends that will affect the patients and doctors in the future
  1. A ‘tsunami’ of non-communicable diseases
  2. Informed and proactive patients
  3. Diminishing doctors’ prescription autonomy
  4. Prescription cost control by doctors
  5. Decreasing relevance of medical representatives vs digital sources
  6. Interest for more complex tools like robot-assisted medicine and remote patient monitoring
Bain & Company partner and one of the lead authors of the report Parijat Ghosh said, “Our research shows that doctors today are apprehensive about the future as they are challenged with rapid increases in patient volume and complexity, digital turbulence and cost and quality considerations.
“Stakeholders must come together to shape the future direction in a way that allows broad-based health improvement while building a sustainable business,” Mr Ghosh said.
Challenging conditions ahead
The report concluded, “The world of Indian life sciences is changing rapidly. Doctors today are as challenged with rapid increase in patient volume and complexity as they are restrained by cost and quality considerations. To respond to these challenges, life sciences companies must react promptly to meet the needs of the future by revamping their commercial and operating models to safeguard future profitability.”
India has a significant shortage of doctors - with just 0.8 doctors per 1,000 population, significantly lower than World Health Organization’s recommendations. A 
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