Post Covid, relatively smaller cities have better healthcare and awareness of well-being
India is a diverse country and with it the opportunities to become the up-and-coming center of the healthcare industry. With economic growth and industrialization in major cities, a number of Tier II and III cities have revolutionized the healthcare industry. In particular, the Indian healthcare system is currently evolving like never before, these cities have made major changes to their healthcare services after the Covid-19 pandemic. From telemedicine to video consultation during lockdown, their contributions in connecting the remote areas have been greatly appreciated. Tier II and III cities are the connecting links between developed cities and remote locations.
Healthcare startups are also filling the gaps between supply and demand. During the coronavirus pandemic, many healthcare startups have sprung up to contribute to the global emergency. Since then, these startups have done a commendable job by introducing the latest technologies and advanced solutions to remove the obstacles that are hampering the growth of medical science in the country. These startups aim to transform healthcare services, particularly in remote regions of India and other parts of Asia. In Tier II and III cities, there is a need for wearable devices.
Professionals who run small and medium-sized healthcare companies are aiming and pushing cities to become the hub for every healthcare solution. In addition to startups, many hospital chains are expanding and exploring routes in these cities as people in small towns and big cities have been engrossed in quality healthcare for several years. Companies are increasing availability in Tier II and III cities not only in terms of essential facilities and doctors, but also in terms of high quality cardiologists, surgeons, oncologists and diagnostic techniques.
Governments with initiatives to improve medical care in Tier II and Tier III cities are also contributing to the growing solutions in these cities and are determined to close the gaps between supply and demand. Investments for overall health infrastructure growth in Tier II and Tier III cities have increased dramatically over the years. There were a total of six AIIMS facilities in Rishikesh, Bhubaneswar and Bhopal. In addition, there are proposed AIIMS setups in J&K (Awantipora), Haryana (Rewari), Bihar (Darbangha) and (Madurai) Tamil Nadu. While digital healthcare and telemedicine have come a long way, there are many areas where we lack awareness. The government, in partnership with the private sector, runs campaigns and advertisements to raise awareness, particularly in underserved areas. Initiatives like Ayushman Bharat, Ayush Mission and Pradhan Mantri Swathya Suraksha Yojna are turning the tables on Tier II and Tier III cities.
The country is a top choice for investors due to its diverse geography, mixed cultures and immense potential due to a huge population creating immense supply and demand. The government is constantly striving to bring affordable healthcare to every corner of the country and to raise awareness of concepts such as telemedicine and online counseling. Tier II and Tier III cities adapt the facilities and services just like Tier I and bring them further to the remote places of the country. Advanced technology and digitization have opened doors for healthcare workers to learn about the latest inventions every day and this is another plus point for such cities that are becoming a major hub of healthcare in the country.
(The author is Executive Chairman, Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals)