In an era marked by increasing public health concerns, rapidly evolving technology, and spiralling healthcare costs, sustainability in healthcare has emerged as a critical focal point of discussion. Recognizing the need for transformative change, the Sustainable Healthcare Alliance (acronymised as SUSCARE), is evolving as a pioneering force in India. This alliance seeks to revolutionize the healthcare landscape by promoting sustainable practices and fostering collaborations among diverse stakeholders.
Technology plays a pivotal role in advancing sustainability in healthcare. From electronic health records to telemedicine and telesurgery solutions, technological innovations contribute to improved efficiency, reduced wastage, and enhanced patient care. The Alliance acknowledges the importance of integrating technology to optimize delivery of affordable healthcare while minimizing environmental impact. This focus on healthcare technology aligns with the broader goal of creating a more sustainable and resilient healthcare system in India, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). (Read: Sustainable Healthcare through Optimal Use of Technology)
Vision and Mission
SUSCARE envisions a future where healthcare is not only inclusive and effective but also environmentally congruent. The alliance strives to create a synergy between health, economics, and environmental sustainability, recognizing that the well-being of individuals is inherently connected to the health of the planet. The mission of SUSCARE is to catalyse a paradigm shift in the healthcare sector by fostering collaboration, innovation, and sustainable practices among its diverse partners.
Goals and Objectives
- Inclusiveness in Healthcare: This overarching goal reflects a commitment to breaking down barriers that impede healthcare access and ensuring that quality medical services are within reach for all members of society, irrespective of socio-economic factors or geographic locations.
- Fast-tracking Technology Penetration: The alliance seeks to harness the power of technology to improve healthcare delivery, enhance data management, and reduce the cost of healthcare, by promoting trickling down of technological advances to the grass root levels of the society, especially rural communities.
- Prioritizing Prevention: A prominent goal of the alliance is to emphasize on preventative measures aimed at diminishing the burden of diseases. Prevention is not just better than cure, its far more sustainable as well. Through the promotion of healthy lifestyles, early detection, and vaccination initiatives, the primary focus need to shift from treating ailments to proactively preventing them.
- Community Engagement and Advocacy: SUSCARE prioritises to engage with communities and advocate for sustainable healthcare policies, ensuring that the unique needs and concerns of diverse populations are taken into account.
- Promoting Environmental Stewardship: SUSCARE aims to promote environmentally conscious practices within healthcare establishments and in communities, encouraging the adoption of renewable energy, waste recycling, and eco-friendly infrastructure.
- Capacity Building: Through collaborations with educational and research institutions, SUSCARE aims to build the capacity of healthcare professionals by integrating sustainable practices into training and education programs.
- Global Collaboration: SUSCARE envisions a global network of like-minded alliances, sharing best practices, and innovations to create a worldwide movement toward sustainable healthcare.
Partner Categories and Roles
The need for this alliance was realised by a group of healthcare and technology professionals working together as the Medical Technology Innovation Group since 2017. This further has evolved into an informal alliance between the organisations represented by these individuals. Formal expansion is ongoing, and the full list of partners shall be published soon on the alliance website (suscare.org), which is under development. The below description of partner categories is for the consideration of potential partners.
- Medical Professional Associations (MPA): National and Regional Associations of Medical Professionals are crucial partners within SUSCARE. These organizations bring together healthcare professionals, offering a platform for sharing knowledge, best practices, and advocating for sustainable healthcare policies.
- Healthcare Technology Enterprises (HTE): HTEs play a key role in advancing technological solutions through the alliance. These enterprises contribute expertise in developing and implementing sustainable healthcare technologies, from digital health platforms to telemedicine and telesurgery solutions to efficient data management systems.
- Donor Sponsor Organizations (DSO): Donor Sponsor Organizations provide critical financial support to SUSCARE initiatives. Their contributions enable the alliance to fund research, promote inclusiveness, and drive positive change within the healthcare sector.
- Healthcare Delivery Establishments (HDE): Healthcare Delivery Establishments, including hospitals and clinics, are foundational partners in SUSCARE. They demonstrate how cost of healthcare can be reduced, minimising energy consumption, optimizing waste management, and promoting green infrastructure.
- Healthcare Financing Organizations (HFO): HFOs, represented by insurers and financial institutions, contribute to SUSCARE by aligning financial models with sustainability goals. It adds a lot of value when they play a crucial role in supporting affordable healthcare initiatives.
- Last Mile Partners (LMP) or NGOs: Last Mile Partners, represented by NGOs, operating at the grassroots level, ensure that affordable healthcare reaches the most vulnerable communities. These partners facilitate community engagement, health awareness, and help take inclusiveness in healthcare to remote areas.
- Advocacy Media Partners (AMP): Advocacy Media Partners include healthcare-savvy media houses, healthcare advocacy groups and influencers, who collaborate with SUSCARE to raise awareness and advocate for sustainable healthcare policies. Partnering with them amplifies the alliance’s messaging, promoting the importance of sustainability in healthcare through diverse media channels.
SUSCARE would operate through a collaborative framework, facilitating regular communication and knowledge-sharing among its partners. This multidisciplinary approach ensures that healthcare initiatives are comprehensive, addressing economic, social, and environmental aspects. The alliance would conduct regular forums, workshops, and collaborative projects to drive innovation and share best practices, fostering a dynamic and sustainable ecosystem within the healthcare sector.
While rooted in India, SUSCARE recognizes the interconnectedness of global health challenges. The alliance will actively seek collaborations with international partners, sharing research, insights, and innovations to contribute to the global discourse on sustainable healthcare. By establishing a global network of alliances, SUSCARE envisions a collective effort to address the shared challenges of ensuring health and well-being of the highest quality for all.
In conclusion, SUSCARE envisions to stand at the forefront of the sustainable healthcare movement in India, driven by the collaborative efforts of its diverse partners. Through innovative solutions, technology integration, and a commitment to community engagement, SUSCARE will pave the way for a future where healthcare not only heals individuals from all walks of life, but also contributes to the resilience and sustainability of our planet.