All is well: The winds of wellness | HT Brand Leadership Series

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All is well: The winds of wellness

  • Marut Setia
  • November 05, 2019

Prevention is better than cure – this age-old cliché is quite generously thrown around, but do we really know what it means? Do we really see the link between this adage and prominent government programs such as Ayushman Bharat, or the major global focus on wellness?

In today’s digital world, where everything is available at a tap of a finger and lifestyles are becoming increasingly sedentary, it’s no surprise that the concept of wellness is booming both in the global and Indian context. However, from a consumer perspective, the larger idea of wellness generation is not much more than a fad at this point.

This change in consumer thinking has definitely forced organizations, especially those operating in the healthcare ecosystem, to relook at health, moving from a traditional equipment or curative space to now widening the scope to include a more holistic wellness perspective.

But what will it really take, for us as a country, and, specifically, as the healthcare industry, to take wellness seriously?

The answer lies in the necessity of providing high-quality healthcare to 75% of India’s underserved population. So, one way to drive penetration is for organizations like GE Healthcare, large medtech players, to become proponents of wellness and preventive care by becoming proponents of Ayushman Bharat.

The government is nudging us, the key players in the healthcare space, to start reshaping our strategy to think about not just the urban 10% who can afford the treatment, but to look out for a larger section of the society.

This would mean quite a few shifts from an industry evolution standpoint:

– One, it would mean the movement of healthcare delivery setups to tier 3/4 geographies
– It would mean pressure on technology providers like us to create affordable point-of-care solutions to enable real access to high-quality healthcare right up to the last mile
– And, third, it would mean an improvement in an overall HRH (Human Resources for Health) strategy to cater to the masses and penetrate right down to the grassroots

For a company like GE, the fundamental priority now will be on staying agile yet living up to its brand promise irrespective of where the product is being used. How do we ensure that irrespective of the ecosystem in which we operate, we deliver a best-in-class product, a positive brand experience and the highest levels of ethics and integrity?

This kind of disruption is not new to GE Healthcare. The shape and form of this particular disruption may be new, but it is in our DNA to respond to changes, and that should see us through. But we will live up to our brand promise by adopting a solutions approach”. And, at GE, this is being done in various ways:

– One, we are designing affordable products that can perform very well in a tough environment. The example that first comes to mind is that of a low-cost CT, which we launched in 2015. This has changed the perception of diagnostic imaging – from being a tool isolated at urban tertiary care set-ups, to becoming a go-to solution available to every T2/T3 town radiologist. With an install base of over 1,000 facilities, this is probably the largest footprint of such a machine anywhere in the world.

– Two, we understand that a machine is only as good as the person behind it. To address the acute healthcare skill gap in the country, we have invested in skills development initiatives for healthcare professionals. This initiative started in 2015, and we have been able to touch over 10,000 healthcare professionals, equipping them with knowledge that has a direct impact on patient outcomes and health-seeking behavior.

– The third aspect of this approach lies in our ability to leverage the latest technology and adapting it to cater to the needs of those who require it most. This could be something like when, in 2016, we accelerated a startup to read ECGs remotely via cloud-connectivity, or, more recently, the launch of Edison[X] – startups powered by GE Healthcare. Edison is the name of our advanced intelligence platform to develop new healthcare applications, services and AI algorithms for our customers. Edison[X], the startup collaboration, will harness the brainpower and energy of startups and allow them to use the Edison platform to develop solutions for some of the toughest healthcare challenges existing today.

To summarize, wellness is not just a buzzword. There is enough evidence around us to validate the need to move towards a preventive and promotive healthcare approach in a country like India. We only hope that the whole conversation about wellness is not restricted to nutrition, beauty or wellness tourism, rather we have larger healthcare ecosystem stakeholders right from the government to hospitals to medtech to pharma, all coming together to drive a meaningful change across the board. While we are still in the nascent stages of the wellness revolution, I would urge the industry leaders to come together and chart the course for a robust and comprehensive preventive healthcare setup in the country.

Marut Setia
Marut Setia, Chief Marketing Officer, GE Healthcare

Marut is a seasoned healthcare professional, with experience across developed and emerging markets. Over the last few years, Marut has been a key driving force in expanding GE Healthcare’s education capabilities. He has also been able to establish GE Healthcare as a pioneer in healthcare skilling space across Africa and South Asia. Further, Marut has been a thought leader in developing innovative digital solutions for the next generation of healthcare system.