Health Care Around the World International Health Care Systems

Health care in India

Highlights from The Economist’s article on Health Care in India:

  • India spends only about 5% of GDP in medical care.  Of this spending only one fifth is public spending.
  • With an overwhelmed public sector, relatively low levels of insurance, a premium is put on frugal innovation.  Fortis, a hospital chain in New Delhi, elects to have ‘world class’ scanners, but not necessarily the newest.
  • Surgical procedures are also innovative.  Vivek Jawali has developed an open heart surgery procedure where the patient is still awake.  “Because such ‘beating heart’ surgery causes little pain and does not require general anaesthesia or blood thinners, patients are back on their feet much faster than usual. This approach, pioneered by Wockhardt, an Indian hospital chain, has proved so safe and successful that medical tourists come to Bangalore from all over the world.”
  • Health IT use in U.S. hospitals: 20%
  • Health IT use in Indian hospitals: 60%
  • Tiered pricing: Aravind, the world’s biggest eye-hospital chain, employs “a tiered pricing structure that charges wealthier patients more (for example, for fancy meals or air-conditioned rooms), letting the firm cross-subsidise free care for the poorest.”
  • “In health care, as in life, there is need for both Ferraris and Tata Nanos.”


  1. I had angioplasty in Indiana. I found it to be a good experience considering I was having my chest cracked open. I wonder how it would compare to the same procedure in India.

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