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Healthcare industry to focus on critical areas so that sector becomes vibrant: Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce

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Urges industry to come forward, prioritise countries in short term to allow international patients to come to India

Darpan Jain, Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Govt of India said that it is imperative for the healthcare industry to focus on critical areas like quality, trust and transparency so that the sector becomes more vibrant.

Addressing a webinar ‘Medical Value Travel – Strategies for Road Ahead’, organised by FICCI during the on-going ‘Virtual Healthcare and Hygiene Expo (VHHE) 2020’, Jain said, “The government is very keen to work with the industry on these parameters.” He further added that the quality of services is paramount in the healthcare industry.

In a bid to promote the Medical Value Travel (MVT), Jain said that we need a lot of proactive information sharing and establish ourselves as a global leader. “Resumption of operations is very critical, and we would require SOPs prepared by FICCI once we open up. We need to determine if all components are in place in addition to hospital infrastructure,” he added.

Jain urged the industry to come forward and prioritise the countries in the short term to allow international patients to come to India. He also suggested to prioritise medical facilities across India in the short term to cater to the patients who need critical care.

“There are facilities located in areas which are not much impacted by the pandemic and lying idle. We should use those facilities for priority cases along with the SOPs to treat patients with an integrated plan in the short term. The government will look into this and provide all necessary support,” he said.

Emphasising on the importance of telemedicine to boost MVT sector, Jain said that the government recently announced the guidelines on the use of telemedicine in India. “There are existing models which we have started in telemedicine facilities and teleconsultation procedures. Now, we need to go beyond our boundaries and use it for other countries and ensure our expertise and skills can be used through this medium. The government is ready to facilitate this,” he added.

Dr Sangita Reddy, President, FICCI, urged the government to create a dedicated fund to promote the Medical Value Travel and utilise this fund to create brand awareness which is important to help the sector. “It is important for us to project the capabilities of our country and especially of our doctors. Our intent is to offer high quality care at affordable cost with the best outcomes as well as an environment of hospitality while treating the international patients,” added Dr Reddy.

Dr Narottam Puri, Adviser-FICCI MVT Committee, Adviser-Medical Operations and Chairman, Fortis Medical Council Emeritus Consultant said that these are difficult times for the world which is engulfed in the pandemic. “India has always fallen back on the age-old learnings of our sages to provide help at the time of need. Medical Value Travel requires people to travel which is restricted now, but there is light at the end of the tunnel,” he added.

Dr Harish Pillai, Chair, FICCI MVT Committee and CEO, Aster India, Aster DM Healthcare India said that FICCI has developed SOPs for restarting the Medical Value Travel. “The Taskforce constituted is a true representation of the Indian healthcare and the SOP highlights the end to end protection for international patients. This starts from the identification of the international patient till the time he reaches back home post treatment with all documents submitted to the Government of India.

The webinar was also addressed by Dr Devlina Chakravarty, MD and CEO, Artemis Hospitals; Deepak Venugopalan, Regional COO – Bengaluru and TN, Manipal Health Enterprise; Anil Vinayak, Group COO, Fortis Healthcare and Abhik Moitra, President-HBG, Medical Assistance, General Secretary, FHWP.

The webinar was attended by 265 foreign delegates from 43 countries apart from Indian delegates from the sector.

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