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The new value proposition for radiology: Balancing cost, quality, and safety

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The first panel discussion at Radiology & Imaging Conclave 2021 was ‘The New Value Proposition for Radiology: Balancing Cost, Quality, and Safety’

While COVID-19 temporarily disrupted the practice of radiology, it also became an opportunity to showcase the vital role of diagnostic imaging. And for the industry experts to introspect and reinvent business models. The panelist analysed and discussed some trends in the years ahead.

The esteemed panelists for this discussion were Dr Harsh Mahajan, Founder & Chief Radiologist, Mahajan Imaging & President, NATHEALTH (Moderator); Sunil Thakur, Partner, Quadria Capital Advisors; Vivek Kwatra, National Product Head, Healthcare & Education Finance Group, HDFC Bank and Niraj Arora, President, Operations, HealthMap Diagnostics.

Highlighting the impact of the pandemic on radiology sector, Dr Mahajan said, “During the pandemic we have seen that the digital nature of radiology helped in pushing the scan from one place to another. When hundreds of scans being done and very few radiologists to report them, their transfer was easy due to technological advancements. Radiologists by and large did not get effected by the pandemic because they were working remotely.”

“COVID-19 has brought home the message that healthcare matters to everything, including the economy. To become a $5 trillion economy, we need renewed focus on healthcare. In future, collaborations will be key in healthcare. Be it public-private partnerships, private-private partnerships, or partnerships with aggregators, each of them will have their advantages”, he added.

Talking about the challenges, Arora said, “While there is an India which is on the technology forefront with latest scanners coming up, there is Bharat which is striving on providing the right cost and right scans. Diagnostic services providers are trying to create the right mix of efficiencies, be it cost-effectiveness, technological prowess or quality of services.

Explaining HDFC Bank’s value proposition for the healthcare sector, including the radiology segment, Kwatra explained, “COVID has taught us that as a bank it is time to spread our healthcare services to the entire world. Our schemes not only cover hospitals, clinics, doctors but also the companies that are into different types of healthcare services. We tied up with several players in the healthcare ecosystem and created an HDFC market space for healthcare.”

Talking about the growth factors leading to the trends in radiology, Sunil Thakur, Partner, Quadria Capital Advisors said, “There is a secular growth drivers like ageing population, disposable income and innovation. There is a demand side trend and supply side. Government is in step now to create a demand narrative and the Ayushman Bharat initiative is the prime example of the same. The second trend is advancement in technology and analytics from equipment and software perspective. Third one is proliferation of digital platforms which are creating more avenues for patients and clinicians. Fourth trend is integration of whole continuum of wellness and preventive care where now government and corporates are looking at population health. Fifth is the need for specialised service in the form of a federated model which rings in specialisation, reduction of cost and viability of any model. The sixth trend is the increasing clinical use of radiology. Within these six trends, the one that we believe will have the highest impact is the use of artificial intelligence and increasing clinical use.”

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