Need for Improvement of Diagnostic Services in Rural India

Date:   Friday , March 04, 2016

Medidaili is an e-healthcare platform that provides specialised medical support services like diagnostics, healthcare packages and emergency services at the touch of a button.

Healthcare has been a neglected sector in India and has faced some serious supply and demand gaps, and unfortunately, diagnostic services has suffered the same fate. The penetration of diagnostic services is mainly concentrated around metros and big cities. The deplorable condition of medical and healthcare services in rural India makes it impossible to aid people in the deprived corners of Indian villages.

In Rural India, the access to healthcare is restricted to primary health centres catering just the basic healthcare services. Typical health problems in rural India are related to nutritional deficiencies, lack of maternal and perinatal condition support, common occurrence of communicable diseases such as Malaria, Diarrhoea, Tuberculosis, and respiratory diseases. Shortage of hygiene infrastructure, lack of awareness, limited access to facilities, lack of trained medical personnel, dearth of medicines and good doctors are the key challenges faced by more than 70 percent of India\'s population living in rural areas today.

As per research survey, approximately eight percent of the Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) in rural India do not have doctors or medical staff, 39 percent do not have lab technicians and 18 percent of PHCs do not even have a pharmacist. To prevent the spread of diseases and reduce the mortality rates, the focus should be on the healthcare and medical services in rural India. Also, attracting and retaining trained medical professionals and facilities is a major challenge for rural public health facilities. Apart from scarcity of qualified health staff, laboratory setups of the health center are not well equipped to support the accurate investigations for diagnosis of diseases. Rural people have to go to urban cities to access diagnostic services, where better diagnostic facilities are available.

Diagnostic testing is one of the most promising and evolving industries in the medical field. Diagnostic laboratory testing results are applied for almost 60-70 percent of medical treatments in India. The Government has undertaken a number of initiatives towards improving such services in India. There are approximately 100,000 diagnostic laboratories in India and majority of these cater to metros and tier 1 cities. As per survey, there are only around eight diagnostic labs per 100,000 people in India. These facilities have a very low reach in the small towns and villages.The gap of better medical service availability in rural areas can be bridged through technology by providing information about diagnostic centers that cater to a wide range of healthcare requirements. Rural population can have access to best healthcare services through mobile based technological application as several healthcare giants are seeking to tap into this market.

Healthcare is a significant social sector in India and the government is also taking strategic initiatives to boost the sector. Digitalisation of healthcare is fast paving its way in the emerging market with technology changing the dynamics of the healthcare industry in an innovative way. With rising amount of consumers becoming tech savvy and the advent of mobile apps, the healthcare delivery model is now transcending from the traditional platform into the virtual world.

Upcoming platforms like healthcare apps aim to facilitate diagnostic and healthcare searches in a simplified way by providing immediate access to a plethora of affordable medical solutions. These technology based platforms will not only work as helping aid to rural healthcare challenges but will also reduce redundant medical tests, improve and expedite clinical decision making and improve access to all levels of healthcare by consumers from every corner of the country. The use of mobile technology to directly connect with the people and enhance the quality of care by providing convenient, affordable, transparent and reliable medical services is going to change the landscape of healthcare industry in the coming decade.