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«Published Annually Vol. 6, No. 1 ISBN 978-0-979-7593-3-8 CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS Sawyer School of Business, Suffolk University, Boston, Massachusetts ...»

-- [ Page 54 ] --

In India, which is one of the top destinations in terms of medical tourism Healthcare has emerged as one of the most progressive and largest service sectors. As per Ibef industry reports, the Indian healthcare sector is expected to reach US$ 280 billion by 2020. One of the major drivers of growth in the healthcare sector is India’s booming population that is increasing at a rate of 2% annually. India will overtake China by 2030 as the world’s most populous nation and by 2050, the population is projected to reach 1.6 billion. This growth in population is largely due to better healthcare facilities resulting in longer life spans as well as decline in infant mortality rate. Moreover, with booming economy, Indians are living more affluent lives and are now prone to lifestyle diseases such as hypertension, cancer, and diabetes, which is reaching epidemic proportions.

But unfortunately, the healthcare infrastructure has not kept pace with the economy’s growth. Although, the manpower is one of the best in the world, the sheer number required to cater to millions of people is inadequate. Moreover, besides a few state of art hospitals in urban areas, the rest of the country is grappling with poor infrastructure, lack of healthcare facilities and shortage of trained medicos. The Government of India is doing its part with increase in the plan allocation for health by 20% to US$ 5.8 billion in Union Budget of 2011-12. Similarly, the government allocated an additional US$ 1.23 billion for six upcoming AIIMS-like institutes and upgradation of 13 existing Government Medical Colleges in 2010. In fact, Indian government is the highest spender (that is 5.25% of the GDP) on healthcare amongst the developing countries. Despite this, the public sector is contributing only around 15-20 per cent of the required investment in the healthcare sector.

Therefore, with such a large investment, this sector is poised for growth in the next few years. Thus it becomes imperative that good management strategies such as Knowledge management are leveraged to make optimal utilization of resources and improved healthcare delivery especially in a developing country like India. There is a significant body of evidence that shows that experts are now keen to embrace KM tools and techniques to bring about the necessary change required for improved healthcare services. Therefore, there is a need to analyse the healthcare knowledge paradigms and identify various dimensions that will facilitate superior healthcare delivery.

Experts believe that though medical science has made revolutionary changes, healthcare has not kept up the pace with those changes. The disparity between the two needs to be removed. Healthcare is a knowledge intensive discipline and ready access to the latest medical research knowledge is often the difference between life and death. It can be the difference between accurate or erroneous diagnosis, and between early intervention and a prolonged and costly hospital stay. Therefore management of knowledge becomes absolutely important as far as healthcare organizations are concerned. Moreover, it has been seen that the previous healthcare management practices have been unable to manage this information overload in healthcare. (53) In context of Indian healthcare sector, the problem of inadequate staffing, poor infrastructure, lack of latest information at the point of contact and overcrowding of premier hospitals have led to poor healthcare delivery leading to increased morbidity and mortality rates. Moreover, a vast country like India needs to share its expertise across its vast network of primary healthcare centres so that the rural areas are also able to benefit from improving technology and better treatment methods. Therefore, the Indian healthcare network needs a solution where healthcare practitioners in the remotest villages and cities of the country are connected to the top experts of the field and are able to take guidance and help to provide quality healthcare to people. It has been observed by experts such as Dwiedi et al. (52), that healthcare organizations are now moving towards adopting knowledge management practices and techniques to overcome these challenges. Hence it is important that Indian healthcare sector too works with knowledge management tools and techniques to improve their performance.

Indian Healthcare as an industry is currently undergoing tremendous changes. The last few years have seen revolutionary improvements in the technology and the industry is still grappling with finding a right solution to its growing needs. With India poised as being the hub of Medical tourism, and Indian medical professionals making a mark in the world, what is needed is a healthcare solution that will address the problems mentioned above. Healthcare Knowledge management appears to be the right fit and could provide many possibilities and the solution to problems such as access to right information at the right time and lead to provide superior healthcare delivery. (54). Therefore, it becomes necessary to study and understand the process of adoption and implementation knowledge management practices in the healthcare organizations.

Scope for Further Research

Academicians and experts have only recently started exploring the KM concepts in healthcare context. Most of the studies have focussed on bringing up theoretical models on the implementation of tools and techniques for knowledge sharing and dissemination but the literature is generally silent on its outcomes such as improved organizational learning and superior healthcare delivery. One of the reasons of the dearth of empirical studies in this discipline is that it is very difficult to identify and measure knowledge. Moreover, not many studies have been conducted to link the healthcare delivery outcome to the implementation of knowledge management paradigms in healthcare in Indian context. Therefore, more studies are required to fulfil this gap between theory and practice.


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