Understanding Healthcare Access in India

Expanding healthcare access is a critical priority for the Government of India and the private sector. Efforts to date have addressed numerous issues and much progress can be reported. Yet the gap between the aspiration—of providing quality healthcare on an equitable, accessible and affordable basis across all regions and communities of the country—and today’s reality is all too apparent.

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Executive Summary

Expanding healthcare access is a critical priority for India today. Despite numerous efforts made to address this problem and the progress made to date, the gap between the aspiration—providing quality healthcare on an equitable, accessible and affordable basis across all regions and communities of the country—and today’s reality still remains.

The inception of National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and the implementation of other policies over the last decade have shown a positive improvement in India’s healthcare system. To do more, and at a faster rate, it is important to understand the current state of healthcare. This understanding will play a pivotal role in determining priorities, resource allocation and goals for the future, as well as plugging the existing gaps in the system.

This report brings fresh, objective perspective to the status of healthcare in India, and offers the most comprehensive view of this issue since 2004.

The IMS Institute in India

The IMS Institute India, located in Delhi, leverages public and private sector relationships to deliver objective, relevant insights and research to advance the country’s health agenda.

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Key Findings

The physical accessibility of pubic or private healthcare facilities is a challenge in rural areas

  • The implication of traveling large distances to access a healthcare facility in rural areas is that an individual potentially loses their day’s worth of earning and may also select facilities that may not be the most cost effective for the treatment they seek
  • A larger proportion (+10%) of people traveled less than 5km to access private healthcare facilities for OPD (out-patient department) services as compared to public facilities
  • Similar differences were observed across urban and rural segments, and also across acute and chronic segments

An increasing proportion of the population is using private healthcare facilities for both in-patient and out-patient treatments.

  • Increasing proportion of people are using private healthcare facilities over public facilities for both IPD (in-patient department) and OPD (out-patient department) treatment
  • There has been a steady increase in the usage of private healthcare facilities over the last 25 years for both OPD and IPD treatment, across urban and rural areas

Recommendations

1. Improve availability of manpower, which will also eventually improve affordability

2. Raise performance levels by improving availability of healthcare services and augmenting the governance system to drive higher performance

3. Expand and accelerate affordability by improving the penetration of health insurance at an accelerated pace

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Note: All third party trademarks contained herein are the property of their respective owners and their use herein is for informational purposes and does not imply sponsorship or endorsement of their products or services.

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