Darkness is nothing but the absence of …….? (Not a philosophical post)

This is the title of my latest essay but this has nothing to do with philosophy however it has a direct connection with India’s Healthcare.

Gaurav, Co-founder of a small Healthtech startup - BigOHealth - for rural India recently shared an ImpactGuru link (I have avoided adding the link here as this might feel like promoting the campaign) with a heartfelt note. His mother is battling Gall Bladder Cancer, and while approximately 10 lakhs have already been spent on her treatment, the doctors have recommended 6 cycles of immunotherapy, which comes at a staggering cost of 3 lakhs per month, totalling 36 lakhs annually. Sadly, 36 lakhs is beyond the means of 95% of Indians. They are trying to arrange some debts from family and friends however that debt would not be enough and hence he created that campaign. The good news is that when I last checked, around 6% of the goal had been contributed, and I am sure invisible hands will play their part in achieving the goal.

But this can’t be a permanent solution. Health Insurance could have absorbed a significant percentage of the shock but again available Health Insurance is neither suitable nor affordable for the rest of India except the top 2 quintiles. But Health Insurance alone is not enough.

Also, India is home to over 500 million chronic patients, with cancer being one of these ailments. The non-communicable nature of chronic diseases makes them silently propagate until they reach the treatment stage. Visible signs and symptoms alone are insufficient for early detection. Objective data points like health vitals, nutrients, and other indicators become crucial. While various methods can create comprehensive health indicators, the most viable one is longitudinal health records.

To understand Longitudinal Health Records we need to understand the number of patient visits. According to the Sample Registration System (SRS), India recorded 5.8 million OPD visits and 1.3 billion IPD visits in 2021. Additionally, according to the National Health Systems Resource Centre (NHSRC), India averaged 1 billion daycare visits per year. When we combine all of these figures, India had a total of 8 billion facilities and professional registered visits in 2021 by patients.

Now, in the case of OPD visits, professionals create just one health record. However, for daycare and IPD visits, professionals create more than one – let’s say three health records each. This equates to the total number of health records created per year being 5.8 billion (OPD) + 6.9 billion (2.3 multiplied by 3 for daycare and IPD) = 12.7 billion. And contribution of Public and Private is 60:40.

These Health Records are the medium of everything and could unlock India’s biggest value-creation opportunity.

This is a small portion of my latest essay: You can read it here