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NDHM can potentially unlock incremental value of Rs 1.5 lakh crore for healthcare industry: BCG-FICCI report

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Just like the creation of shared digital infrastructure in the financial industry enabled UPI payments, the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM), in the next few years, will catalyse a robust digital infrastructure for the Indian healthcare ecosystem.

A recently released BCG-FICCI report, estimates that over the next decade, India’s National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) can potentially unlock an incremental value of Rs 1.5 lakh crore for the healthcare industry.

The joint publication by BCG and FICCI titled “Leapfrogging to a Digital Healthcare System: Reimaging Healthcare for Every Indian” as released at the 14th FICCI HEAL by Shri M Venkaiah Naidu, Hon’ble Vice President of India, Dr Sangita Reddy, President FICCI and joint MD Apollo Hospitals, and Bart Janssens, MD and senior partner, Boston Consulting Group.

As per a release, the report will be distributed to the Prime Minister’s Office, Niti Aayog, Chief Ministers, Health Ministers, State ministries and Secretaries among other dignitaries in the public and private sector.

The release states that India is now at the cusp of the digital 3.0 era of Open Digital Ecosystems that represents a fundamental change in the way the government can leverage technology for public care delivery and enable private sector innovation. It entails creation of a shared public digital infrastructure that can be leveraged by both public and private players to deploy new solutions that enhance the end-user experience.

Referring to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which also exposed India’s weak healthcare system and reinforced the need to urgently improve all levels of healthcare, including primary care, the release highlights that in times of adversity, the pandemic has also inspired promising innovations, particularly in digital healthcare models. From the telemedicine guidelines being announced in March 2020 to the launch of national digital health ID in August 2020, we have just started to see the digital era in healthcare take shape.

Surveys conducted by BCG across doctors and patients highlight that 85 per cent of the clinicians used digital platforms for patient interactions during the lockdown. 50 per cent of the clinicians found these platforms to be an effective medium for providing care. Additionally, 60 per cent patients across metro and tier 1 cities reported they would continue using digital platforms for primary care in the post COVID world due to the fundamental benefits of shorter waiting time and easy access to qualified doctors. In addition, as per reports, the lockdown period saw teleconsultation services being accessed by over 2000 small towns, with 80 per cent patients being first time users.

The report undertakes a collaborative approach to ensure that multiple perspectives across government bodies, private sector entities, developers, and the user community are brought to the forefront. It aims to drive active stakeholder discussions to help accelerate India’s journey towards a healthcare system that puts the patient at the center of all solutions and drives accessible, affordable and quality healthcare all.

Dr Indu Bhushan, CEO NHA and PM-JAY, said “With the guiding principles outlined in the National Digital Health Blueprint (NDHB), the government has laid out a comprehensive strategy to bring a fundamental transformation in healthcare and open a range of market opportunities for all stakeholders. This report details out how the entire ecosystem will gain, and the industry will be galvanised as a result of the implementation of NDHB over the next few years.”

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