Today, the Healthcare industry is one of the most critical industries across the globe. With millions of COVID-19 cases and an increasing number of deaths, India is among the nations hardest hit by the second wave of coronavirus pandemic.
There is a need for a strong healthcare ecosystem and a potentially skilled workforce to deal with the healthcare issues we are facing as a country. Building a strong healthcare workforce by investing in skill training, reskilling, and upskilling is the need of the hour.
Over the years, the healthcare sector has become one of India’s largest sectors, both in terms of revenue and employment. The size of the industry is estimated to reach US$ 372 billion by 2022. Despite some challenges, the healthcare industry in India showed resilience in times of crisis and tried to address the demands of growing disease spread.
Health professionals act as a critical point of contact and in continuing care for patients, helping to ensure treatment is appropriate and adaptive to patients’ needs. Doctors, nurses, and caregivers are essential to high-quality primary care delivery which can help halt problems before specialty care is needed, saving resources, time, and costs.
Current challenges in healthcare
- Infrastructure development- The healthcare infrastructure in our country is not enough to cater to the masses. The infrastructure is often underfinanced and short-staffed. Lack of medical infrastructure, including an adequate number of life-saving ventilators, had posed a major question over India’s ability to tackle the COVID-19 crisis.
- Shortage of trained professionals – The shortage of healthcare workers and professionals had severe repercussions on health access and had adversely affected the country’s COVID-19 response in the initial stage. India has one physician for every 1,404 people and 1.7 nurses per 1,000 people, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. This is far below the benchmark of WHO which stipulates one doctor and three nurses per 1,000 people. This calls for the need to skill and train many more people in the healthcare sector.
- Rural-urban disparity – India’s healthcare professionals are majorly concentrated in urban areas. This makes the availability of healthcare services in rural, remote, and underserved areas more challenging.
- Strengthening public sector healthcare – The public sector offers healthcare at low or no cost. But it is often perceived as being unreliable, or of indifferent quality and generally is not the first choice, unless one cannot afford private care. Therefore, sufficient policy interventions are needed.
In-demand job roles
The healthcare industry will continue to grow even in the future. The need for healthcare services has increased so is the demand for skilled healthcare workers.
Since the pandemic has increased the scope of opportunities in the health sector, the ministry is working with individual countries to work out the equivalence of qualifications. MSDE has identified 300,000 jobs in the health sector alone in countries such as Australia, Germany, Canada, Japan, Sweden, and Singapore.
Among all the job roles the most in-demand job roles are,
- Lab technicians
- Hospital Staff
Blue and grey collar jobs for skilled workers have also been identified in a dozen-odd country, including the Gulf, United States, Singapore, and Switzerland. Officials expect 2.63 million job opportunities in the Gulf counties in the next five years.
Impact of technology and the current trends in healthcare
What the pandemic has shown us is that at least 30-40 percent of doctor visits can be replaced by video consultation. This is now an accepted new normal norm by both patients and doctors. Video consultations will lead to greater access to appropriate, accountable, and much more affordable and timelier outpatient care for patients.
This will decrease the cost of providing care for doctors and hospitals by reducing the cost of infrastructure and manpower.
Technology in healthcare has been there since the day the first x-ray was done. What is new, is the purpose for which it is being used now. Major disruptive technologies such as AI/ML/Data Science, Robotics, and IoT are moving Digital Health to a whole new level.
Technology has helped both the central and state governments in coming up with robust responses in tackling the pandemic. This includes setting up dedicated COVID-19 hospitals, isolation centres, and tech-enabled mapping of resources.
The Indian government also leveraged technology and developed various applications like the Aarogya Setu mobile app which assisted in syndromic mapping, contact tracing, and self-assessment, which was widely used throughout the country.
Such technology platforms were used to supplement the response management, which included delivery of essential items in containment zones, teleconsultation with patients, bed management, and real-time monitoring and review by the authorities.
Digitalization has almost transformed healthcare, doctor consultation, diagnosis, treatment, drug discovery/research and the following are the current trends in the healthcare industry:
- Telehealth, Telemedicine and Virtual care
- Increased demand for Data and AI-driven predictive analysis
- AI, IoT and Smart Cities – Digitalization in Public Sector
The future of healthcare lies in closely working with technology. Healthcare workers must embrace these emerging technologies to stay relevant now and in the future.
After the pandemic, governments and organizations are more focused on building digital infrastructure and preventive healthcare.
Skills required to get a job in the healthcare sector
Today, the deficit of skilled manpower remains one of the major challenges in strengthening the healthcare infrastructure.
To address the skill gap, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) is going to establish 140 Skill centres in government medical colleges across the country to impart skills of life-saving interventions.
Now let us look at 5 must-have skills to launch a career in the healthcare industry
- Communication Skills
- Time Management
- Stress Management
Also read: Skill2Jobs – Logistics Industry: Skills, Training, and Careers – https://www.nationalskillsnetwork.in/skill2jobs-logistics-industry-skills-training-and-careers/
Ministry of AYUSH and Healthcare Sector Skill Council (HSSC)
To strengthen the healthcare environment and to provide skilled manpower to the industry, there are various initiatives from the government. The establishment of the Ministry of AYUSH and the Healthcare Sector Skill Council were a part of those initiatives.
The key objective of the HSSC is to create a robust and vibrant ecosystem for quality vocational education and skill development in the allied healthcare space in the country.
The Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa-Rigpa, and Homoeopathy (abbreviated as AYUSH) is proposed to develop education, research, and propagation of indigenous alternative medicine systems in India.
There is a sense of urgency to recruit and upskill India’s healthcare workforce, and it will take a PPP ecosystem with central and state government institutions, hospitals, med-tech, ed-tech, non-government organizations, and corporate India to collectively address the demand and supply inequality and social injustice.
If you wish to build a career in the healthcare industry, then you can choose from the wide range of job roles available. However, to do so, you must first build the required skill set to get into healthcare industry.