The Emerging Frontier is driving Innovation in Healthcare
The Emerging Frontier – As a result of the subsequent crisis, an increasing number of Indian corporations are focusing their CSR efforts on healthcare rather than other areas. With the number of cases increasing and limited resources to fulfil the growing demand, both government and private organisations were eager to respond.
In response, in FY 2020-21, nearly 26% of India’s overall CSR expenditures, or Rs 5720 crores, were spent towards subsidising healthcare. Gujarat, for example, demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to healthcare financing, allocating 55 percent of its entire CSR expenditure to healthcare in FY21, up from 33 percent the previous year.
However, while this trend suggests that financial resources would be available to improve our healthcare skills, the fact is that the healthcare business need more than simply finance. What we lack is the ability to allocate resources effectively to healthcare innovation, thereby making medical treatment more accessible, inexpensive, and efficient.
What should be done:
Collaboration between the government, public, and commercial sectors, as well as a paradigm shift in approach, can bring about this much-needed move toward progressive CSR. The following are some of the enabling factors that can cause those changes:
Enabling Law: Enabling legislation expands the scope, management, and deployment of CSR investment, making it easier to attract and deploy appropriate funding.
Awareness: Raising public awareness about the legislation, processes, and benefits of CSR investment in healthcare, as well as showcasing success stories among stakeholders, in order to instil confidence and positive motivation to attract CSR financing in targeted areas.
Capacity Building: A standardised curriculum, encompassing career paths, product and process training routes, is needed to help construct an efficient advising and implementation ecosystem, including capacity building.
The Emerging Frontier – Is there a way to accomplish it?
With a widely scattered CSR pool, one would need to support novel healthcare models, whether product, services, or enablers, that may help intensify and channel resources towards fewer, greater, and bolder bets in healthcare to tackle broader societal healthcare requirements.
The following are a few concepts that are in accordance with the suggestion and could be explored for implementation:
Governments should establish a public healthcare innovation fund to fund projects in the areas of (1) health-tech, (2) med-tech, and (3) biotech. These specialised pools should develop programmes and oversee resource allocation among start-ups, R&D, and public projects that leverage technology and other innovative models to address public health issues.
Social Impact Bonds: CSR funds should be able to be invested in social impact bonds, with any profits being recycled into future CSR commitments.
Smart Healthcare Projects, including Telemedicine Projects: Obtain CSR funding for all state and federal government projects that leverage innovative and technology-based healthcare approaches to meet greater public healthcare requirements. This should include telemedicine projects set up in rural and extra-urban areas.
Directed Viability Gap Funding: Establishment of a federal or state government pool, to be funded by CSR, that could be utilised for viability gap funding of PPP projects, with inbuilt incentives for projects with a high technological quotient. Projects with a high technological quotient have superior reporting, accountability, and traceability designs, making it easier for governments to manage and incentivize them.
Now that we’ve explored what has to be done and how it should be done, we can look at some major areas of focus where CSR financing might have a huge influence.
These are some of them:
Primary healthcare includes the widest range of services, is our first line of defence against disease, and has the greatest impact on overall healthcare costs. As a result of the high number of visits for basic medical needs, it also confronts the greatest resource strain. This is also one of the most fruitful areas for absorbing innovative technology and delivery methods in order to solve the majority of occurrences with less clinical intervention and physical hospital visits. The use of CSR funds to improve our primary healthcare response system is a critical factor.
Chronic diseases encompass a wide range of disorders and are connected with a variety of demands. Chronic illnesses necessitate long-term care that is well-planned, coordinated, and consistent. Using CSR funds to support digital chronic illness management models will make care more accessible, inexpensive, and efficient while maintaining high quality standards.
The Emerging Frontier
Investment in technology-enabled clinical interventions and workflows can help extra-urban and rural communities have access to inexpensive, high-quality secondary care infrastructure.
Investment in such infrastructure, particularly from companies with manufacturing plants and distribution networks in such areas, will aid in the development of a better and healthier community.
According to statistics, the unaffordability of healthcare pushes around 55-60 million Indians into poverty each year. This is due to the fact that over 65 percent of the population is uninsured, which includes both government and commercial insurance plans. While the government has begun to cover the poorest people, there is still a considerable portion of the population who uses technology but does not have access to health insurance.
Funding and supporting a pool of funds from CSR that could be used to co-finance or partially fund such insurance programmes in order to encourage the tech using the missing middle to enrol in an easy-to-join insurance programme will considerably lower the society’s health cost burden.
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