Around thirty percent medical tests and hi-tech applications, including MRIs and ultrasounds conducted in a private healthcare set-up are completely irrelevant and cost a bundle, jacking up the patient’s medical bill by thousands of rupees. Stakeholders of private and public healthcare further underlined, at a Tata Memorial Hospital conference on Friday, that self-sustainability of medical institutions was the way forward and perhaps a more efficient model than public-private partnerships.
At the conference ‘Healthcare: A Commodity or Basic Human Need’, doctors said a lot of the technology used in private corporate hospitals was not required to offer optimal care. “In at least 15% cases, we cancel treatment or simply scale it down from what has been recommended. Often, over-investigation and over-diagnosis due to irrelevant tests, software and technological apps (applications) in a high-paying private hospital can be completely avoided as they add to costs, and still may come up with the same diagnosis,” said Dr Sunil Chandy, director, Christian Medical College, Vellore.
Tata Hospital director Dr Rajendra Badwe said merely 6% patients are subjected to MRI scans at the country’s premier cancer hospital in Parel. “But when a private hospital invests that much money in procuring a technology, it has to recover the money. The only way to do it is to prescribe scans to more people,” he said.