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Showing posts from April 25, 2008

HealthCare Case Law in India

The majority of the population of the country is excluded from any statutory recognition of right to health. Constitutional recognition can, at the highest, only provide the framework for further statutory inroads. Judicial pronouncements, then, acquire significance. With the advent of public interest litigation, a large number of issues concerning the poor and marginalized are being agitated in courts across the land. It is important to follow the thinking of the courts on these issues. Even though judicial pronouncements may not have the same breadth as statutory laws, they constitute the law as applicable in given situations. Besides, these pronouncements give legitimacy, recognition and social acceptance to various ideas and constructs which can be used for strengthening rights based campaigns around issues.This Reader mainly looks at the Constitutional recognition and judicial pronouncements. These case law form the foundation of the right to health care and can support any furth…

Health Portal - A Boon or A Placebo.

The idea of providing health information on the Internet never really went away, it just had a little relapse.
One of the Web's most well-known health sites --, founded in 1997 by former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop -- set a bad example when it had a much-publicized heart attack. The site went public in 2000 and at one point had a market value of more than $1 billion. But the company foundered and was delisted by Nasdaq only a year later. The site name was purchased for $186,000 by Vitacost and the brand is now operated by a group called MDchoice.
The good news for health consumers -- which ultimately includes all of us -- is that reliable health-care information is becoming more widely available than ever. The upshot of this may be of great significance to you or your company.
New Entrants Offer Expanded Health Info
Three sites typify the new wave of health portals that are changing the way people get information about diseases, medications and treatments:

Health Insurance India - the Big "IFs"

.....Even though the Indian health insurance market grew by 38% in 2006-07, only ... were no third party administrators operating in India, and there was no direct settlement of claims between health Insurer and hospital. There were therefore issues concerning...

Even though the Indian health insurance market grew by 38% in 2006-07, only 1.08% of India’s billion plus population has medical insurance. The general perception is that the prospects for growth in this sector of the insurance market are good.
Health insurance policies were first introduced in 1986 at a time when the Indian insurance industry was nationalised. The policies on offer were complicated to read and offered limited cover. There were no third party administrators operating in India, and there was no direct settlement of claims between health Insurer and hospital. There were therefore issues concerning claims servicing, which involved an Insured following cumbersome procedures to get claims authenticated and…


Smart card technology holds great promise for the healthcare industry
The Smart Card Alliance has formed a Healthcare Council to bring together payers, providers and technologists to promote the adoption of smart cards in U.S. healthcare organizations. Smart card technology is increasingly being used in healthcare applications to enable secure access to patient information to improve both care-giving and administration."Smart card technology holds great promise for the healthcare industry," said Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance. "The Healthcare Council provides a forum where all the stakeholders can collaborate to educate the market on how the smart cards can be used and to work on issues inhibiting the industry."

Dr. Paul Davis, Council co-chair and CEO of Uniliance Health, outlined the priorities for the Council. "There are numerous initiatives around the world using smart cards for a variety of secure healthcare applications. On…

Is the Healthcare Industry in India a Burden?

Between 1987 and 1996, there was a shocking 30% decline in the use of public healthcare facilities in both rural and urban areas. Over this decade, utilisation of private health services, especially in the hospital sector, increased substantially, out-of pocket spending on healthcare galloped, and indebtedness due to healthcare affected nearly half the users of healthcare facilities. A comparison of utilisation and health expenditure data across the 42nd (1987) and 52nd (1996) Rounds of the NSS showed up these alarming trends. As a consequence of the declining use of public healthcare facilities, the 52nd Round showed higher levels of untreated morbidity, especially amongst poorer groups. The 2002 National Health Policy unashamedly acknowledges that the public healthcare system is grossly short of its defined requirements, that functioning is far from satisfactory, that morbidity and mortality due to easily curable diseases continue to be unacceptably high, and resource allocations ge…

Investments,Cash Flows and mental healthcare in India

Less than 1% of our health budget is spent on mental health By Soumitra Pathare Mental health disorders account for nearly a sixth of all health-related disorders. Yet we have just 0.4 psychiatrists and 0.02 psychologists per 100,000 people, and 0.25 mental health beds per 10,000 population. If access to mental healthcare is to be improved, mental healthcare must be provided at the community and primary levelMental disorders are grossly underestimated by the community and health system in India and across the world. It is estimated that in 2000, mental disorders accounted for 12.3% of disability adjusted life years (DALY) and 31% of years lived with disability. Projections suggest that the health burden due to mental disorders will increase to 15% of DALY by 2020 (Murray and Lopez 1996). Thus mental disorders account for nearly a sixth of all health-related disability.Despite this, most countries devote 1% or less of their health bu…

Public sector or Private sector Healthcare in INDIA.

By G Ananthakrishnan In the absence of a robust state-funded health infrastructure providing free care, citizens have no option but to seek out private facilities. As a result, we have a burgeoning private healthcare sector, unregulated and often exploitative A single episode of major illness is enough to eat away the life-savings of most individuals in India . In fact, there is data to suggest that such illnesses push several families below the poverty line. The World Bank reported in 2002 that irrespective of income class, one episode of hospitalisation is estimated to account for 58% of per capita annual expenditure, pushing 2.2% of the population below the poverty line. Even more disconcerting is the fact that 40% of those hospitalised had to borrow money or sell off assets. During 1986-96, the number of people who could not access healthcare because of financial reasons doubled over the baseline. This obviously suggests a greater role for the public sector in healthcare. Yet, sev…

Healthcare Telemedicine -India

India's attempts to make a foray into the world of telemedicine has not made much headway, especially due to foreign data processing laws and difficulties in certification of qualifications of Indian telemedicine providers, the Planning Commission has said.

Rising costs and dearth of medical personnel have created pressures for public health care providers in developed countries to explore the possibility of electronic delivery of services across the borders and they looking for opportunities to outsource diagnostic services to private healthcare providers.

What is relevant is the emergence of opportunities for Indian service providers to supply telemedicine services to developed countries in such segments as diagnostics, dermatology, opthalmology and psychiatry, a high-level group of the Commission observed in a report.

The group notes that a number of telemedicine centres are already operating in the country.

In 2001, the Indian Space Research Organisation launched a pilot project t…

Healthcare outsourcing to India

Surrogate mothers being outsourced to India add one more chapter to the saga of cheaper "jobs" being transferred to low-cost economies such as India. For now, "hiring" a womb appears to be a win-win situation, both from the cost and quality of medical service.

California-based Thomas and Karen, in their 30s and originally from South Korea, were married two years ago, but due to medical complications were forced to look for a surrogate mother. Research on the Internet led them to Anand in Gujarat, which has
become known for such in-vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures.

Pictures of their son, Brady, looking very much like his genetic parents, were splashed across television screens this week.

The cost of renting a womb is under US$5,000, compared to more than $50,000 in the West. The entire procedure in India costs in the range of $10,000, and the quality of treatment and technology and the expertise of the country's doctors compares with the best in the world.

What i…