In the year preceding the pandemic, elective surgeries accounted for 40% of the estimated two crore surgeries performed in India. Elective surgery is an essential surgery, where elective patients can have their admission and surgery at a predetermined and predictable time.
India, which has 17.5% of the world’s population and accounts for 20% of the global disease burden, has an overcrowded, overburdened public health sector that lacks quality healthcare and, more importantly, has no concept of providing dignified treatment to patients. Many healthcare start-ups are gearing up to fill the healthcare gap and make the entire process of going for elective surgery easily, and accessible.
Patients in India expect medical care that is appropriate, needs-based, and cost-effective. They also demand reasonable waiting times for elective surgical procedures and expect that their lives are not jeopardized by having their surgery canceled at the last minute. Private healthcare start-ups are aware of ground zero, and to meet the expectations of patients, they have streamlined the entire elective surgery procedure.
These healthcare providers set out to address how surgeons, anesthetists, and other health workers can best deliver elective surgery in partnership with their patients so that it is safe, effective, and enhances the quality of life.
Here is how healthcare startups are doing what is required:
Assists Patients in Preparing for Surgery
Many patients avoid elective surgeries because of surgical phobia and the underlying condition can lead to death. To avoid the scenario, many healthcare startups are utilizing all resources including therapy and counseling to prepare patients both mentally and physically to undergo surgery.
During the pre-op time, patients are provided with all the relevant information about the entire procedure, including discharge planning. Doctors, nurses, and other paramedic staff work together in the Shared Decision Making (SDM) process to figure out the best treatment option based on evidence and the patient’s wishes and values.
These healthcare startups also adhere to Indian Council of Medical Research guidelines regarding Covid-19 protocols and suggestions for performing day-care elective surgeries in a timely and efficient manner.
Robotic-Assisted Surgery and AI technology
As per the data available, the doctor-population ratio in India is 1:1800 against the WHO recommendation of 1:1000. As elective surgery cases overload hospitals and require assistance and supervision of highly qualified doctors, many private healthcare providers are enabling robotic-assisted surgery to mitigate the requirement of doctors in every case.
With minimally invasive incisions, reduced blood loss, and improved pain management, hospitals’ collaboration with robots has enabled patients to recover quickly. Even many AI software programs have encouraged and aided doctors in making critical decisions without consulting specialists directly.
Once a patient is discharged from the hospital, there are various levels of interventions required in the patient’s healing journey, which are typically managed by the caretaking family. New healthcare startups are looking at holistic surgical care options which go beyond the normal concept of treatment by also enabling out-of-hospital care.
Hospitals easily keep themselves up to date with the patients living in far-flung areas with the help of remote monitoring technology. It has led to better outcomes for patients as well as hospital caregivers as the risk of re-admission is reduced.
In addition to offering numerous value-added services such as hassle-free admission, discharge, pickup and drop services, consultations, and follow-ups for patients, many healthcare startups are also collaborating with various financing stakeholders such as insurance companies to arrange single-window clearance for patients for their healthcare financing needs.
These hospitals also provide no-cost EMI options, allowing patients to pay for treatments in monthly installments without incurring interest costs.
A vast country with a large population, such as India, cannot simply rely on the public health care system. New healthcare players are critical to ensuring that the elective surgery frequency does not slow down, as this will not only put a damper on the elective surgery market but will also increase the mortality rate.