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Private providers are the first point of contact for curative healthcare for the majority of Indians. Moreover, approximately 93% of all hospitals, 80-85% of doctors, and 80% of outpatient visits are catered to by the private provider sector. Therefore, it is imperative to understand the role of private providers in the awareness, diagnosis, and treatment of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as hypertension in India. However, not enough is known about private providers' NCD management practices and how financial incentives influence their practices. In the current scenario, prescription of more than required diagnostic tests and multiple drugs by the pharmacists coupled with provider hopping and sub-optimal follow-ups by the patients increase diagnostic delays and repeat cycles for testing. Such practices adversely impact hypertension treatment and drug adherence among private patients.
MIHM is working to understand the private provider practices and incentives for effective management of hypertension in small towns within the state of Telangana. The project is focused on understanding the practices of several supply-side stakeholders - private practitioners, AYUSH, RMPs, laboratories, pharmacies, and pharmaceutical sales representatives - and outlining possible interventions to foster improved engagement of private providers for better management of hypertension in small-town settings. The findings from this study will be ultimately presented in the form of a report that emphasizes private providers' preferred intervention choices. These insights could perhaps later serve as a starting point for a full-fledged separate study involving discrete choice experiments.
The study will help us gain insights into the current private provider practices and shed light on ways to incentivize private providers for better hypertension management in semi-urban areas of the country.