At RSNA, a Session Focusing on the Challenges and Opportunities for Radiology in India

Dec. 2, 2019
At RSNA19, leaders of the radiologist community in India spoke at a morning session focused on both policy and clinical issues in Indian healthcare

On December 2 at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, one session at the annual RSNA Conference put the focus on the immense challenges and opportunities facing radiological practice, and healthcare in general, in India, the world’s second most populous nation, with 1.352 billion people.

Several leaders in the Indian radiology community spoke at the session held Monday morning, and entitled, “Status of Radiology Practice in Corporate Hospitals in India.”

Hemant Patel, M.D., resident of the Indian Radiological and Imaging Association, spoke most broadly about the challenges and opportunities facing Indian healthcare, and where radiology fits into the landscape.

“It’s a big challenge to serve a population of 1.35 billion,” Dr. Patel noted, even with 25,000 radiologists and a constantly growing, and relatively young corps of radiologists. “More than 50 percent of radiologists in India are under 42 years of age,” he noted, with 750 new individuals entering radiological practice every year.

Patel noted that while 30 percent of Indian radiologists work in the government-run healthcare sector, 70 percent practice either in privately owned “corporate” hospitals and/or in private diagnostic centers. He noted some recent changes in health insurance coverage in that country, policy changes that he said he believed would be beneficial to Indian citizens.

Meanwhile, Patel noted that, while rates of infection-caused disease have been falling in India, the incidences of both cancer and trauma have risen in recent years. Because of that, the Indian Radiological and Imaging Association (IRIA), with 18,000 members, has been focusing on interventional radiology and breast imaging as among the key subspecialties that might be engaged in order to address those areas.

What’s more, Patel noted, IRIA has been evolving forward a program called Samrakshan, whose focus has been to reduce the incidence of perinatal mortality, which is primarily driven by pre-eclampsia and fetal growth restriction.

Patel also noted that energy has been going into IRIA’s Youth Wing of Radiology section, which has been preparing young radiologists to participate in the radiological community. That section’s shortened name, “YuWa,” means “youth” in Sanskrit.

IRIA also celebrated the Women’s Day of Radiology this year in 100 cities.

Other radiologists spoke as well. Amarnath Chellathurai, M.D., a governmental healthcare sector radiologist, spoke of the effort to address tuberculosis, which remains alarmingly high in India, with 2.5 million new cases of tuberculosis a year (82 percent of them pulmonary tuberculosis), making it one of the top ten countries in terms of incidence of tuberculosis.

And Anirudh Kolhi, M.D., an oncological radiologist, noted a number of worrisome statistics. While breast cancer cases, represent 27.7 percent of all cancer cases in women, the second-highest percentage is cervical cancer cases, at 16.5 percent; Dr. Kolhi noted the poor rate of cervical cancer screening that persists in India, and continues to contribute to the high rate of cervical cancer in that country. He also noted that the most common form of cancer in men is lip and oral cavity cancer, at 16.1 percent, due to widespread tobacco use among Indian men. And, he noted that “India has become the diabetes capital of the world,” with 25 percent of the population having metabolic syndrome. Radiology, he noted, can play a part in the early identification of all of these illnesses.

Nitin Ghonge, M.D., a consulting radiologist at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in New Delhi, provided an overview of the organ transplantation landscape in India. While Indraprastha Apollo Hospital is a highly regarded transplant center, Dr. Ghonge noted the huge discrepancy nationwide between the need for transplanted organs and their availability, despite policy supports, such as the Transplanation of Human Organ Act (passed in 1994 and amended in 2011). While 180,000 Indians suffer total renal failure every year, only 6,000 kidney transplants take place every year. And while 200,000 deaths take place due to liver failure a year, only a few thousand livers are transplanted a year.

All the speakers agreed that radiologists and the radiological community will necessarily play a major role in helping to improve statistics in all those areas in the world’s second most populous nation, going forward.

Sponsored Recommendations

Trailblazing Technologies: Looking at the Top Technologies for the Emerging U.S. Healthcare System

Register for the first session of the Healthcare Innovation Spotlight Series today to learn more about 'Healthcare's New Promise: Generative AI', the latest technology that is...

Data: The Bedrock of Digital Engagement

Join us on March 21st to discover how data serves as the cornerstone of digital engagement in healthcare. Learn from Frederick Health's transformative journey and gain practical...

Northeast Georgia Health System: Scaling Digital Transformation in a Competitive Market

Find out how Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) enabled digital access to achieve new patient acquisition goals in Georgia's highly competitive healthcare market.

2023 Care Access Benchmark Report for Healthcare Organizations

To manage growing consumer expectations and shrinking staff resources, forward-thinking healthcare organizations have adopted digital strategies, but recent research shows that...