The challenges facing both the private and public healthcare sectors in Tamil Nadu and the possibilities of collaboration between the two were discussed at the day-long health care summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry.

Setting the agenda for the summit, E.S. Krishnamoorthy, Convener, Healthcare panel, CII-Tamil Nadu, said the five A's that would have to be satisfied by health care services were availability, accessibility, affordability, acceptability and accountability. Positing the pros and cons of the public healthcare setting besides a similar analysis for the private healthcare industry, he said the ideal would be to unite best aspects of the two.

“Can we marry corporate efficiency with humanistic equity of the public system? That would be the challenge,” Dr. Krishnamoorthy said. This would require bringing together both sectors, along with another key healthcare provider – the NGO sector.

N.K. Ranganath, chairman, CII TN, said the healthcare market in India is all set to grow to about $280 billion by 2022, and the projections for 2012 was $70 billion, and for 2017, about $145 billion. However, there were great inequities in the provision of healthcare to the people. There were pockets of excellence; but questions of access and quality simultaneously continue to be asked.

Mr. Ranganath brought to the attention of the gathering key issues that are likely to influence the provision of healthcare in the future: capacity of physical infrastructure, scarcity of human resources, and different means of financing medical care.

Raju Venkatraman, managing director, MEDall Health Care, pointed out that healthcare was scarcely participatory in the country. The mindset must be changed, it should be a team effort, involving not only medical personnel, but those who can help professionalise the industry. The customer, or the patient, must be the centrepiece of all efforts, he added.

Ed L. Hansen, chief executive officer, Global Hospitals Group, said clinical care is a business too, and it is essential to be customer-sensitive. As India's economic engine continues to drive its growth further, multiple enterprises will crop up and patients will start shopping for healthcare.

In such a scenario victory will go to those who can provide what the customers want. While the technical expertise of Indian physicians may even be superior to others in the rest of the world, the Achiles Heel of Indian healthcare is that there is no hospitality/five-star service mentality to take care of the customer well. “The truly great healthcare organisations of the 21st Century must reflect the four core values — Patient-Centricity; Physician-Driven; Quality-Orientation and Customer- Sensitivity,” he added

Jayashree Gopal, member, CII TN Healthcare Panel, spoke.