By Mr Vikram Thaploo,
In its last term, the government had pushed for affordable and accessible healthcare and we are hopeful that this year’s Budget will also include plans to realise this vision. We hope to see increased spending on healthcare with a systematic and extensive revamp of the healthcare infrastructure. Telemedicine played a crucial role during the pandemic turning out to be the safest interactive system between patients, both infected and uninfected, and clinicians.
With the Indian healthcare industry on a progressive track and technology expected to continue to make in-roads, more medical colleges are expected to be set-up, with mandatory inclusion of telemedicine in the course details. Other than that, the upcoming Budget is also expected to encourage the setup of hub facilities in government medical colleges in various states for enabling telemedicine services.
Under the promising new schemes like Ayushman Bharat, we expect a further 30 per cent conversion of PHC (Primary Health Centre) and sub-centres to HWC (Health & Wellness Centre). 10 crore Indian families are already a part of the scheme and the government is anticipated to increase the number of hospitals by establishing more facilities and extend the implementation of services for utilization of Tele-OPD services and PPP projects under the Ayushman Bharat wing, which will directly increase the Budget for the sector.
The present taxation policies and regulations do not cover telemedicine, home healthcare and the cost of diagnostic tests along with other at-home aspects continue to come directly from out of pocket expenses. This is another area that will require the necessary attention in the upcoming Budget.
(The author is the CEO at Apollo TeleHealth)