For Indian Healthcare System, technology is playing a pivotal role in redefining how the industry sees growth. With mobile and AI taking centre-stage, the healthcare industry is seeing multi-fold benefits in leveraging technology at scale.
In India, Healthcare is one of the largest sectors in terms of revenue and employment. The market, as a whole, is expected to see CAGR of more than 16%. It’s set to touch anywhere between $350 – $372 Billion by 2022. That being said, the industry relies heavily on technology innovations that can allow the industry to operate better and faster. The healthcare industry growth rate is one that relies heavily on technology and investments from the private sector.
Indian Healthcare System- Shifting Economical Structures
In our country, we’ve added about 450 Million people in the last few decades and dropped the %age of poverty to half. This means that we’ve gradually become a two-fold economical structure. On one side of the frame, we have a rise in communicable diseases that affect rural populations. While on the other hand, we have a rise in lifestyle related diseases that resemble countries in the west. In fact, lifestyle diseases have accounted for over half of all deaths just a few years ago (up 42% from 2003).
There is also the impetus in involving technology in ageing populations. Since we have access to better healthcare and more options for treatment, our populations’ average lifespan is increasing. This is putting immense pressure on healthcare systems to produce solutions that are cost effective (owing to their income levels) and longevity-focused.
Technology needs to be implement in a two-fold approach – tackling both the rural and urban problems in India. From a rural standpoint, technology can be implemented to improve awareness through mobile health campaigns and produce scaled drug-delivery systems.
When it comes to urban populations, technology needs to focus more on connectivity and offering various choices that impact lifestyle and disease states. Companies like CureFit and BYG are affecting how consumers view personal health and fitness. Diet-oriented companies are tackling diabetes and PCOD from a nutrition perspective. Many tech solutions are being devised in India to tackle all layers of our healthcare problems.
Technology’s role in Indian healthcare
The Indian healthcare system has seen many tech innovations on multiple sides of the business. On the consumer side, we have many apps and mobile innovations that allow consumers to order, manage and maintain their prescriptions. There are also services that allow patients to connect with doctors across the country, as well as crowdsource ratings that showcase which doctor is better. It’s one of the best uses of the internet right now, as patients have more power to make better decisions.
Healthcare demand is rising, and technology is the greatest factor in allowing companies to keep up with patient inflows. With AI, hospitals are able to better diagnose large number of patients. They’re also able to review doctor performance and filter out patients based on large pools of disease data. AI is also able to provide a deeper picture of a patient when they have multiple points of symptoms. AI has also helped in managing patient data better, as hospitals and insurance companies can make better assessments on their patients. Health information technologies have also changed the way consumers are made aware of various treatments for their disease states.
When it comes to medical devices that leverage digital healthcare technologies, the industry is set to reach $11 Billion by 2022. Medical tourism, older patient care and usage of technology has allowed the devices industry to find its mark in the main stage.
Technology has also allowed companies to focus more on R&D than before. With better measuring and testing tools, healthcare participants can create better drugs that are more effective. Companies are also innovating on drug delivery methods, especially in the case of diabetes and tuberculosis, so that patients can obtain better care at cheaper costs.
While government organizations are doing what they can, private companies are taking the lead when it comes to healthcare innovation. Even when it comes to cancer awareness, diabetes watch, sexual awareness campaigns and more, private companies are innovating much faster owing to social media, mobile apps and online technologies.
Healthcare technologies has impacted the public healthcare space as well, with increases in innovations and more impactful delivery methods. While government only spends about 1.1 – 1.2 % of GDP on healthcare, that number should rise in the years to come. More attention is being diverted to healthcare as our economy grows across sectors in India. Budgeting will shift towards technology solutions that can tackle big problems in our economy.
Investments in technology startups
Companies like Practo and LiveHealth have raised funding on multi-million-dollar valuations by simply leveraging existing technology capabilities. Startups in the healthcare space are revolutionizing how we view healthcare in this country. These startups are creating new growth in the economy, leveraging investments from around the world. Investors are keen to continue pumping capital as India’s scale is unlike any other. With a majorly young population, healthcare needs are disproportionately oriented when compared to other countries.
Major hospital chains are also investing into technology solutions so that the country can produce better healthcare outcomes. One of India’s largest private hospitals, Apollo hospitals has set up a $100 Million fund for any tech startup that can provide results in the healthcare space. While innovation is in the mindset of the Indian healthcare system, startups still need to produce results while delivering value. India and healthcare need to go hand-in-hand as it sees the next technology wave.
“The overall size of the fund is growing from $50 million to $100 million. To start with, $5 million will be available and then it will reach $10 million. We are running the accelerator part of the activity. A range of startups are approaching us which are in healthtech and science-tech. We are constantly approached by healthcare startups at multiple levels and to cater to this need, we have created a small fund that supports these startups reach their next level.” – Sangita Reddy, Joint Managing Director of Apollo Hospitals (Source)
The value that these tech startups bring to the table is unmatched by government programs, traditional investments or consumer awareness campaigns. Startups are driving much of the growth we see in the healthcare space today.
The healthcare industry in India sees multiple challenges in terms of efficiency, labour management, sustained growth and rural innovation. There are multiple areas of innovation in the Industry, and the government is doing all that it can to support these initiatives. That’s where technology firms need to introduce new software and hardware innovations so that healthcare can deliver the best quality of services.
Even when it comes to consumer brands operating in the healthcare space, online businesses are seeing tremendous growth. The internet has made it easier to purchase and manage medication at scale. There is also immense scope in AI and machine learning when it comes to diagnosing patients with unique disease states.