02.01.02. The private health sector | India

02.01.02. The private health sector | India

06 Jul 2022

About 74% of India’s total health care expenditure is incurred in the private health sector (India Brand Equity Foundation, 2019), a large proportion of this accounts for inpatient care (including advanced diagnostics, major surgical, and critical care services). The formal private providers in India are mostly concentrated in urban areas (metropolitan and bigger cities) and focus primarily on allopathic care (about three-fourths), and on secondary and tertiary care. They operate in both multi- and mono-specialty set-ups (Chokshi et al., 2016).

The formal private health sector in India includes private clinics (usually led by a single doctor or a doctor-couple), poly-clinics nursing homes and private hospitals as well as medical colleges. They range from doctor-owned set ups to those with doctor-manager partnerships to corporate facilities, and from not-for-profit to for-profit national and international ventures. In rural areas the private health sector is relatively unregulated and comprises mostly of non-formal providers and local practitioners.

While the rate of growth of the private healthcare sector is not uniform across India (Hooda, 2015), the private health sector, in general, shows a very rapid growth due to increasing demand (increasing purchasing power of citizens, epidemiological transition, emergence of medical tourism, increasing home health care needs), and supply (increasing number of trained personnel, health technology, policy liberalization leading to increasing foreign direct investment, etc.). The advent of telemedicine and innovative public-private partnership models hold further promises for the growth of the private healthcare industry in India. Simultaneously, there is policy level effort (e.g., the Clinical Establishment Act of 2010 (Ministry of Law and Justice, 2010)) to standardise the private health sector in India.

Proportion that makes use of private sector services:

As per the National Family Health Survey-4 (International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) and ICF, 2017), 51% of household were more likely to seek care from the private sector in 2015-2016.


Chokshi, M., Patil, B., Khanna, R., Neogi, S. B., Sharma, J., Paul, V. K., & Zodpey, S. (2016).  Health systems in India. Journal of Perinatology: Official Journal of the California Perinatal Association, 36(s3), S9–S12. https://doi.org/10.1038/jp.2016.184

Hooda, S.K., (2015). Private Sector in Healthcare Delivery Market in India: Structure, Growth and Implications. Institute for Studies in Industrial Development Institute for Studies in Industrial Development.

India Brand Equity Foundation. (2019). Healthcare Industry in India, Indian Healthcare Sector, Services. Available from https://www.ibef.org/industry/healthcare-india.aspx

International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) and ICF (2017). NATIONAL FAMILY HEALTH SURVEY (NFHS-4) 2015-16 INDIA. Mumbai. http://rchiips.org/nfhs/NFHS-4Reports/India.pdf

Ministry of Law and Justice. (2010). The Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act. Government of India. Available from: http://clinicalestablishments.gov.in/WriteReadData/969.pdf