PREVENTIVE HEALTHCARE IS THE NEW MANTR

Discussion in 'Health and medical' started by Dr. Jai Maharaj, Jul 24, 2003.

  1. 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 ''

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