“Challenges and Solutions in Healthcare,” in words of Sougat Chatterjee, CEO, Preventive Health, Apollo Hospitals

Sougat Chatterjee, CEO, Preventive Health, Apollo Hospitals highlights the pressing issues to be addressed in the healthcare segment so that the country blooms with better facilities across demographics.

With the impact of the pandemic on the global community, the importance of healthcare is at the forefront. While healthcare is a noble profession that majorly contributes to humanity, the contribution of IT Technology in healthcare has led to great facilities for the people in general and has impacted economies around the world. Medicircle presents an exclusive series featuring healthcare CEOs who are influential role models so that they can share their views on the future of the healthcare industry. 



Sougat Chatterjee is the CEO, Preventive Health at Apollo Hospitals. He has been recognized as Marketing Professional of the Year 2018 by ET NOW , Asia’s Top 50 Brand Leaders 2017 by CMO Asia, India’s 100 Most Influential Marketing Leaders 2016 by World Marketing Congress, Keynote Speaker, Academic Advisor for Institute of Management Technology (IMT) & Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan's Usha & Lakshmi Mittal Institute of Management (BULMIM). For over two decades he has been driving profitability, top line growth and revitalizing businesses across FMCG, OTC, Pharma, Healthcare, Telecom & Consumer Durables. He has also been strategically involved in advisory roles for projects in e-commerce, retail, packaging, rural marketing, education, and e-recycling.




The Challenges in Hand

Sougat mentions, “India is a country of 1.35 billion people and there is no one-size-fits- all solution. Health lies in the context of social determinants like access, poverty, gender, and class inequalities. One needs to be sensitive to all. There is a need to focus on primary, secondary care, and preventive services to expand the reach and ensure early diagnosis and detection. Currently, tertiary and curative care is the need of the hour but concentrated in a few pockets and metros of the country only. Asset light models in specialized care which can be replicated in tier 2 and 3 cities need to be encouraged. Trained healthcare manpower also wants to migrate abroad and practice where bigger hospitals and infrastructure exists,” points out Sougat.


Remedial Solutions

Sougat emphasizes, “Compassion and equity in healthcare need to be pushed and healthcare models which address large populations should be implemented. One needs to create manpower with basic skills across different forms of healthcare systems which is being done by the government. It would not be immediately accepted by all but is one of the solutions to plug the gap in this vast country. There needs to be a cadre of healthcare practitioners who can detect and refer people as early as possible in the healthcare system. There is a need to push infrastructure creation along with insurance providers for the poor and needy.”


He further drives in the point, “The Atma-nirbhar initiative gives a push towards self-reliance in infrastructure and medical devices production. Digital transformation can help people access healthcare but it also needs to be balanced with its use and ease of adoption. Entrepreneurship in healthcare should be encouraged and doctors and business teams who want to venture and set up facilities in rural areas should be incentivized. There is an opportunity to explore better private-public partnerships. The Bhore committee report of 1946 still is the fundamental report which focuses on holistic care in the country to tackle communicable and non-communicable diseases. Therefore, creating skilled manpower, asset-light specialized models which could be scaled up across the country, digital transformation, addressing social inequalities can help us address these issues,” says Sougat.


Need to Utilize Lessons from Pandemic

Sougat explains, “There is a need to learn from the social fissures and health care infrastructure deficiencies which have been bought to the fore. These cracks were there in the system and the patients were falling through it earlier. But the covid times have bought issues of access, mental health, availability of services to the forefront. It might happen that these concerns might again recede to the background once this exigency of the pandemic subsides. We hope that our country and civil society, administrators and politicians learn and reflect and use this adversity to bring in the necessary changes to our healthcare system. We need to liberalize healthcare so that all sections of the society irrespective of their gender, equity, class, and caste can access healthcare.”


Pressing Issues to be Addressed

Sougat is of the viewpoint that “Though there is a push to digital healthcare, we need to see that all sections of our country can access it like the banking and telecom revolution. The digital and telemedicine transformation needs to start from our doctors and healthcare staff to start using it actively. There is a need to have empathy as the out-of-pocket expenditure is still about 70% and above and the insurance penetration is still very less. Trained manpower at the grassroots level where our majority of the population resides needs to be pushed which the government has started doing. There is a need to focus on prevention and tackle non-communicable diseases and mental health issues urgently. We need to quickly start plugging these gaps rather than again pushing them under the carpet. We have been having an ostrich-with-its-head-in-the-sand-approach towards these areas and its high time we invest our energies into it with a long-term perspective apart from looking to generate profits and returns immediately. It is evident from the pandemic that if the society enjoys good physical and mental health, then rest follows as a consequence of better employment, opportunities, and economic growth. Healthcare will occupy an important role in our lives if we pay heed to the lessons imparted and if we are vigilant and humble to imbibe them and take steps,” advises Sougat.


More Investments in Healthcare Required

Sougat mentions, “There is a need to increase investment in the healthcare sector. There is also a need to change the paradigm of healthcare delivery through asset-light models, prevention, and primary care services. There is a need to address the inequalities existing in society. We do compare the investments done in developed countries but we would need to tweak what are the problems we are facing and invest accordingly long term. Impact on healthcare outcomes takes a long time and areas of primary care and mental health, medical devices, specialized care centers in tier 2 and 3 cities, and access to insurance are needed. We need to increase our spending to at least 8% of the GDP and build manpower and infrastructure across the rural and semi-urban areas in the country. Healthcare is a fundamental right. Covid 19 has exposed the gaps and lacunae in our healthcare system and we need to start urgently addressing it by increasing the investment and making healthcare more accessible and affordable to all,” says Sougat.

(Edited by Amrita Priya)


Contributed By:  Sougat Chatterjee, CEO, Preventive Health, Apollo Hospitals


Tags : #medicircle #smitakumar #sougatchatterjee #apollohospitals #challengesinhealthcare #lessonsfrompandemic #Top-CEO-in-Healthcare-Series

About the Author

Amrita Priya

The love for life-long learning brings me to this platform. There can be nothing better than learning from the experts when; it comes to; the domain of wellness and health-care. I am a writer who has loved exploring different mediums for the past two decades, be it the expression of ideas through books, magazine columns, newspaper articles, or digital content. This project is yet another satisfying avenue that keeps me hooked to the art of disseminating valuable information and in, this process enhancing the lives of fellow human beings and myself. You can write to me at [email protected]

Related Stories

Loading Please wait...

Trending Now

PM addresses the Nation today, announces free vaccinesJune 07, 2021
Why inhalers are best for treating asthma, well illustrated by Dr. Anil SingalMay 12, 2021
Dr. Rohan Palshetkar shares his invaluable insights about the Maternal Mortality Rate causes and improvements in India April 29, 2021
It is important to adopt a non-judgmental attitude towards any teenage girl seeking contraceptive advise suggests Dr. Teena Trivedi, Obstetrician and GynecologistApril 16, 2021
80% of the diseases are psychosomatic which means they have roots in the mind and this is where homeopathy steps in - It resolves physical ailments by finding the cause in the mind – Dr. Sanket Dhuri, Consultant Homeopath April 14, 2021
A futuristic Vision of a Healthcare Entrepreneur: Shyatto Raha, CEO, and Founder of MyHealthcareApril 12, 2021
Saher Mehdi, Founder and Chief Scientist at wellOwise talks about aspects making healthcare more equitable and reachableApril 10, 2021
Wide variety of therapies to address autism in children explained by Dr. Shilpa Jasubhai, Clinical PsychologistApril 09, 2021
Allopathic and Homeopathic medicines should not be taken together says Dr. Sunil Mehra, Homeopath ConsultantApril 08, 2021
The charm of homeopathic medicine is that it can be taken with conventional medicines – Dr. Shruthi Shridhar, Consulting Homeopath April 08, 2021
Dissociative Identity Disorder and associated concepts explained by Dr. Vinod Kumar, Psychiatrist and Head of Mpower - The Centre (Bangalore) April 07, 2021
Dissociative Identity Disorder explained by Dr. Shilpa Jasubhai, Clinical PsychologistApril 05, 2021
Sehat Ki Baat, Karishma Ke Saath- Episode 6 Healthy Diet For Boosting Metabolism Which Can Help Thyroid Patients April 03, 2021
Significant Pointers on Kidney Health by Dr. Santosh Waigankar, Consultant Urooncologist and Robotic Surgeon at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani HospitalApril 01, 2021
Dr. Vaishal Kenia, Ophthalmologist Talks About the Different Possibilities Available for the Treatment of Glaucoma Depending Upon Their Type and SeverityMarch 30, 2021
No Definitive Role of Diet in Treatment of Lymphedema but Intake of Calories, Salt and Long Chain Fatty Acids should be controlled says Dr. Ramani CVMarch 30, 2021
Dr. Kiran Chandra Patro, Senior Nephrologist Talks About Dialysis as the Temporary Process and Not a Permanent Cure for the Patients of Renal DysfunctionMarch 30, 2021
Two out of three new chronic kidney disease patients are found to have diabetes or hypertension informs Dr. Sreeharsha HarinathaMarch 30, 2021
Glaucoma Treatment: Medications or Surgery? A valuable piece of advice from Dr. Pranay Kapdia, Chairman and Medical Director of Kapadia Eye CareMarch 25, 2021
Dr. Shraddha Satav, Consultant Ophthalmologist Recommends that Everybody After 40, Should Go for the Complete Eye Checkup at Regular IntervalMarch 25, 2021