Why do We Need Transparency in Healthcare?
Transparency is a vital component to build an effective and efficient health care system and the lack of transparency in Indian healthcare threatens to erode public trust.
Healthcare in India has emerged as one of the largest sectors - both in terms of employment and revenue. Fuelled by numerous factors that include its strengthening coverage, services, and increasing expenditure by public as well private players, Indian healthcare is growing at a brisk pace. The market is expected to record a CAGR of 16.5 per cent, and the total industry size is expected to touch US$ 160 billion by 2017 and US$ 280 billion by 2020. This breakneck growth further highlights the demand for efficient medical services and facilities, urging the need for quality healthcare where affordability and patient care are of utmost importance.
Transparency is a vital component to build an effective and efficient health care system and the lack of transparency in Indian healthcare threatens to erode public trust. As medical service consumers become more involved, conscious towards their healthcare upkeep, and take on more responsibility for paying for it, there has been a major push for more transparency in the industry. Today, these consumers faced with high-deductible health facilities and increasing sky rocketing medical expenses demand cost information and quality. They seek answers to questions such as:
- Which hospital is renowned for quality services and patient care?
- What will my true out-of-pocket costs be?
- What if I can’t pay?
- Where can I get the best care for my money?
Access to information regarding the quality and cost of healthcare services can inarguably help consumers make better decisions about their care. The truth is that patients rarely know the real cost of care until after they’ve received it. Additionally, the price, and quality, of a particular service can vary considerably depending upon the provider. What’s more, higher price does not necessarily equate to higher quality.
Smart consumers have all information they need, just like they do in every other aspect of their lives. While we have transparency in various other sectors including the F&B industry, it is time that healthcare joins the bandwagon. The more comprehensive and accurate the information, the better healthcare works. This is in a true sense, healthcare transparency.
Furthermore, here are top 3 reasons why transparency is critical today:
- This will enable providers- professionals, clinics and hospitals to improve by benchmarking their performance against others
- Empower patients as they have access to in-depth information which will help them make informed choices about the best-in-class medical care
- It will encourage private insurers and public programs to reward quality and efficiencies.
With access to information on the relative performance of hospitals and the rest of the health care supply chain, individuals will be much better equipped to choose services and providers who truly deliver the hgh quality at best value. This will enable the right kind of competition that is inherently lacking in the Indian health care system today.
Concerns on the quality and cost of health care in the country is continuing to grow, the need for transparency is widely recognized for its ability to foster better management of the quality and cost of the Indian health care system.
The recognition of the need for health care transparency is not a new phenomenon. Both the masses, healthcare service providers and policymakers have long sought to make better information available to consumers regarding the relative quality and cost of care throughout the health care supply chain. However, in spite of decades of effort, the information and tools available today fall far short of what is needed by both consumers and hospitals. The need for robust transparency is growing making it even more critical that we have the information needed to choose health care providers using a trusted source. This will ensure user friendly cost and quality measures.
Consequently, what healthcare demands is to make available the right information at the right time to patients and providers. An important step toward achieving a desirable outcome in terms of patient care would depends on making the system transparent, which will drive positive patient outcomes and greater patent satisfaction. Creating a database with this information is certainly feasible to reduce the potentially harmful effects on vulnerable populations.
Healthcare in India holds significant promise. It is one of the top countries for medical tourism and its huge advantage lies in its large pool of well-trained medical professionals and cost competitive services, as compared to its peers in Asia and Western countries. Transparency can immensely boost the system and reduce all prevailing challenges and obstacles to ultimately uplift the health of all Indians.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house
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