Preventive healthcare is the new mantra By Malathy Iyer Times News Network Thursday, July 24, 2003 Mumbai - An annual health check-up is the best prescription. That's what five-star hospitals and hi-tech diagnostic laboratories are trying to convince patients. ''This is about preventive healthcare,'' explained Brig. Joe Curian, director of Raheja Hospital, Mahim. Said Prakash Mhatre, director of Lilavati Hospital, Bandra, which offers packages ranging from Rs 2,000 to Rs 4,000, ''Why should one wait to detect cancer or kidney problems at an advanced stage when regular checks can detect them earlier and facilitate complete recovery?'' But observers are more cynical. Some believe the new emphasis on preventive healthcare is a result of new insurance companies requiring potential clients to undergo a battery of tests.Other experts believe that healthcare providers are simply looking for newer pastures. ''It is a search for volumes of regular clients,'' said one industry observer. India's diagnostic industry, valued at over $800 million, estimates that it has barely tapped the market potential of over 300 million clients. Diagnostic tests are one way to snare future business. ''If routine tests are conducted on 100 patients, you can be sure that at least seven per cent of them will be borderline cases who require advanced tests, such as the stress test or even an angiography or CT scan,'' said Brig. Curian. ''A few among these may need angioplasty or other surgery. So a series of tests could result in a handful of clients for the hospital.'' Call it medical altruism or plain business, there is no denying that the health spotlight is glowing on the masses. For instance, the Association of Hospitals organised free walk-in opthalmic tests last month at each of its 27 member hospitals, including Breach Candy, Jaslok and Lilavati. Wockhardt nHospital, Mulund, held a 10-day camp last month offering tests at a token fee. Some diagnostic labs also offered tests at a concession. Are individuals receptive to preventive healthcare? Not in great numbers, admitted Dr N. Shah of N.M. Centre for Excellence, a 15-month-old clinic at Khar dedicated to preventive health care. This is reflected in the centre's client list: 3,500 walk-in clients as compared to 12,000 corporate ones. By contrast, the crowds at free camps are larger. While the Wockhardt camp attracted 1,700 people, AOH got 2,463. The costs, obviously, are the hurdle. Dr Shah recalled how at a gathering of senior citizens he found that 85 per cent had insurance policies, but only one had undergone a check-up. ''People are reluctant to spend even Rs 2,000 on a preventive measure.'' Why then are healthcare hubs keen on these seemingly reluctant clients? Hospital and laboratory administrators claim it's part of the relationship-building process. ''Nobody will bank on walk-in clients alone for business, especially since we offer health packages at a discount of 40 per cent,'' said Dr Shah. Not everyone is impressed. Take oncologist Dr Ravi Chaturvedi. His father recently attended a free medical tests camp in Coimbatore. ''The clinic, on the basis of the free test results, asked him to undergo a series of advanced and expensive tests,'' Dr Chaturvedi said. ''The results confirmed that my father is healthy, but by then he had spent thousands of rupees.'' ''If routine tests are conducted on 100 patients, you can be sure that at least seven per cent of them will be borderline cases who require advanced tests, such as the stress test or even an angiography or CT scan '' Read the complete news at: http://www.timesofindia.com News Plus http://www.mantra.com/newsplus Jai Maharaj http://www.mantra.com/jai Om Shanti Panchaang for 26 Ashadh 5104, Thursday, July 24, 2003: Shubhanu Nama Samvatsare Dakshinaya Nartana Ritau Kark Mase Krishna Pakshe Guru Vasara Yuktayam Rohini Nakshatr Vriddhi-Dhruv Yog Balav-Kaulav Karan Ekadashi-Dvadashi Yam Tithau Hindu Holocaust Museum http://www.mantra.com/holocaust Hindu life, principles, spirituality and philosophy http://www.hindu.org http://www.hindunet.org The truth about Islam and Muslims http://www.flex.com/~jai/satyamevajayate o Not for commercial use. Solely to be fairly used for the educational purposes of research and open discussion. The contents of this post may not have been authored by, and do not necessarily represent the opinion of the poster. The contents are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works. o If you send private e-mail to me, it will likely not be read, considered or answered if it does not contain your full legal name, current e-mail and postal addresses, and live-voice telephone number. o Posted for information and discussion. Views expressed by others are not necessarily those of the poster.