Certainly! It’s encouraging to hear about the appointment of Dr. Syed Abid to the new healthcare leadership and decision making position. Having a dedicated, passionate and hardworking professional with a medical background for healthcare leadership, policy making and implementation can certainly bring a fresh perspective to the challenges faced in our healthcare.
As you embark on this new phase, conducting a gap analysis can provide valuable insights into the current state of healthcare, the obstacles faced, and the potential ways forward in the context of a paradigm shift from patient’s perspective and care providers.
As a certified professional on healthcare and policy analyst, however, I can outline some framework for Government Policy initiatives, reforms, for improving healthcare with general expectations and potential areas of focus in improving healthcare as a system.
Putting Field Learnings into Action. How do you transform your failures into success? I’m aware of your TEDx talk on “Successful Failures”. My attempt to tell you that you can succeed in anything you want with the right ingredients.Inadequate infrastructure, limited access to quality healthcare services, affordability issues, and regional disparities remain challenges for policy makers.
The available data indicates around 30 percent of Indians do not have health insurance of any kind. Despite Govts hike health spending nearly 16.5 per cent increase in comparison to FY 2020-21 high out-of-pocket health expenditure (OOPE) is impoverishing some 55 million Indians annually, with over 17 per cent households incurring catastrophic levels of health expenditures every year, (WHO March 2022).
Clinical insight is invaluable when making decisions that directly impact patient care and outcomes. Prioritizing efforts to reduce health disparities and promote health equity by developing strategies to address among different demographic groups.
The healthcare secretary may advocate for initiatives that ensure all segments of the population have equal access to quality healthcare services. To understand the problems faced by our care receivers (patients and their families) in particular and their expectations from care providers hoping for a standardised healthcare system it makes things much easier an individual who has understanding of the intricacies of healthcare delivery.
Adaptability to Changing Clinical Practices:
Healthcare is an evolving field with constant advancements to keep pace with changes in clinical practices, technology, and evidence-based medicine, research and innovation is vital to stay abreast of advancements and improve treatment outcomes ensuring that healthcare management remains current and effective. Building an improved healthcare system where effective communication can positively impact decision-making and policy implementation.
Updating Healthcare Infrastructure:
Gap: The existing healthcare infrastructure might not be updated, constrained by resource constraints hindering the delivery of quality healthcare services. The healthcare system may be more curative than preventive, leading to increased disease burden. Understanding and balancing resource allocation with clinical priorities, this knowledge is crucial when making decisions to ensure that healthcare providers have the necessary tools and support to deliver high-quality care. Who can be a better choice here than a medico holding policy decision portfolio.?
Expectation: Introducing innovative approaches to healthcare delivery, such as telemedicine, digital health solutions, a comprehensive infrastructure upgrade plan, focusing on technology integration, training programs for staff, and the establishment of new healthcare facilities where needed can improve access and efficiency.
Healthcare professionals may lack necessary training to address current healthcare challenges of shortages and unequal distribution. Investing in the development and support of the self-sufficient well-trained staff by providing opportunities of higher training and e keeping them updated on the latest medical practices and technologies to ensure a skilled and competent workforce meets the evolving needs of the healthcare industry and none is compelled to seek treatment outside JK .
Prioritizing patient satisfaction and well-being by promoting patient-centred care models, which involve patients in decision-making and provide a more personalized healthcare experience.
An environment that promotes the implementation of evidence-based practices and guidelines for all common illnesses and emergencies for the whole state compiled by a team of experts from respective specialties will remove variation in care.
WE need to implement measures to enhance communication between healthcare policy /decision makers, care providers and receiver’s, ensuring that patients are actively involved in their care decisions, and promoting a more personalized and empathetic approach to healthcare delivery.
Universal Health Coverage (UHC)
A robust UHC system ensures that every citizen has access to quality healthcare services regardless of socio-economic status. To make healthcare more cost-effective, which may involve addressing pricing transparency, controlling healthcare costs, and exploring value-based care models the expectation is developing policies or expand existing government healthcare programs, like NHPS Ayushman Bharat Gold card to cover a broader range of services including measures to control the cost of medications and medical procedures including hospitalization and critical treatment
Quality and Patient Safety (QPS) System: To ensure continuous improvement establishing and implementing QPS standards for healthcare facilities and professionals for monitoring and reporting on the quality of care has proved successful. This could involve the development of standardized processes, regular performance assessments, and the establishment of benchmarks to measure and improve the quality of healthcare services including measures to reduce harm from medical errors, improve outcomes, and ensure patient safety across all healthcare service providers.
Accountable and Governance Regulatory Compliance: Safety is not a choice but mandatory in high-volume, high-risk establishments like aviation, Nuclear and healthcare. What is needed to make the system accountable, zero tolerance for negligence, we need effective mechanisms for monitoring and enforcing compliance with healthcare regulations ,transparent reporting of performance metrics, accountability for patient outcomes, and consequences for institutions that consistently fall short of established standards. Implementing policies to enhance a cadre based documented, clear job descriptions, SOPS with clear lines of responsibility and accountability for healthcare outcomes and performance accountability within healthcare institutions
Judging healthcare through measurable KPIS -Key Performance Indicators. “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” That is certainly true when evaluating healthcare management. The efficacy of India’s healthcare industry can be measured based on how access to quality healthcare services trickles down into the lowest recesses of Indian society.
Achieving desirable outcomes, that the care is provided effectively and efficiently, healthcare KPIs are used to evaluate the success and performance of healthcare organizations, by tracking these KPIs for progress and identifying areas of improvement.
Another proven initiative to improve the system is to have independent third party evaluation ,accreditation by NAB can be done in a phased manner asking teaching and district hospitals in the first stage.
Tackling overburdened Tertiary care: To reduce rush and overburdening of our Tertiary care hospitals ,a coordinated electronic communication grid of different stakeholders with a central control /operation room can facilitate and regulate transparent , smooth and appropriate referral from Secondary to Tertiary care hospital . With virtual consultation rooms and referrals, a coordinated control room can be organised between primary , secondary and tertiary care involving all stakeholders in healthcare delivery or business.
Regulatory Bottlenecks and Advocacy: Healthcare providers need an advocate in a decision making body who can understand empathetically to address their pending issues or grievances such as workload, burnout, enhanced emoluments ,merit based opportunities and professional development.
This advocacy contributes to a positive work environment, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and preventing exodus to the lucrative corporate sector. Stringent regulations may slow down healthcare advancements and hinder innovation .Revising and modernizing bureaucratic regulations, ensuring they are conducive to the evolving healthcare landscape while maintaining patient safety.
Data Management and Technology Integration: Data-driven decision making by embracing and advancing health information technology, with a focus on interoperability, electronic health records, and data analytics to improve decision-making to monitor healthcare outcomes, identify areas for improvement, and make informed policy decisions) especially related to patient satisfaction, wait times.
Healthcare Visionary leadership is essential for implementation of initiatives. For careful planning, coordination, and adequate funding it is my humble suggestion that selection of CEO be on leadership managerial traits not merely on seniority basis and existing Healthcare Managers to have assessment for leadership traits, while existing CEOs may be asked for refresher courses on SWOT , Lean six sigma, and VSM like Q tools.
Wills, Ideas, and Execution; Current healthcare standards assessment, root cause analysis of standard development delays. Stakeholder consultation, infrastructure, and resource evaluation these expectations often reflect a desire for transformative leadership that can address current healthcare system shortcomings and drive positive change to meet the evolving needs of populations.
Remember, these suggestions are broad and may need to be adapted based on the specific needs and challenges of the healthcare system you are addressing and tailor policies to the unique circumstances of the healthcare landscape in question.
The combination of clinical expertise and administrative responsibilities allows for a better understanding of the complex dynamics within the healthcare system, ultimately contributing to improved quality and patient safety.