How does the quality and availability of healthcare services keep pace with a vastly improving standard of living in a rapidly developing country? And to what extent can access to that quality care be available to all socioeconomic levels? These questions have a special relevance to India because progress in healthcare availability – or the lack of it – will accelerate or deter growth as well as determine the future of political leaders.1 This article explores the particular challenges to medical professionals in the industry of wellness and healing, and to national policy-makers in meeting the needs of the growing Indian population.
What are the key goals of healthcare in every country? We can summarise them as follows:
- Improved quality of care and population health as measured by life expectancy and other measures of wellness.
- Cost containment and pooled risk-sharing by the population to allow financial access to care as well as avoid catastrophic ruin.
- Provide access to care in an equitable manner for all citizens.
It is not our purpose here to grade India on its performance on these goals. Many studies have addressed these quantitatively and qualitatively.2,3,4 The particular challenges should be inventoried so that their impact may be assessed, the interventions described, and innovations prescribed.