India is a country of a billion dreams. Pushing those dreams forward is the tremendous demographic dividend of a young population and various avenues for growth in the present and future.
Healthcare technology (health tech) plays a huge role in helping secure the health and safety of such a promising population. With the COVID-19 pandemic driving changes in the value of employee health and well-being on a global scale, India Inc. has also shown a commendable level of commitment to keep the workforce resilient, healthy and productive in the face of unforeseeable crises.
The "Three Bs" of future health
According to Dr Sangita Reddy, Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals Group, there are "three Bs" that are driving changes in the future of healthcare. These factors are as follows.
Biology - New health technology can help reduce the expenses related to genetic testing & help create new business models centred around targeted treatments, precision medicine and preventive care.
Bytes - The cost of computing is dropping significantly, making health tech more accessible as time goes on.
Bandwidth - India’s growing teledensity and improvements in the communications infrastructure can help expand healthcare access for rural India as well. Telemedicine services, customized pharmaceutical support and video consultations with medical professionals are only the tip of the iceberg. Higher bandwidth and a tremendous rate of innovation have also helped bring efficiencies health tech with faster and more accurate diagnoses as well.
In Dr Reddy's own words, "Care is shifting from the hospital to the clinic, from the clinic to the home and from the home to 24/7, ubiquitous access to care, driven by the mobile phone."
Drivers of growth in the health-tech sector
As per Raviteja Dodda, CEO & Co-Founder, MoEngage, there is a need for personalized healthcare from trusted sources, without compromising the privacy & security needs of users.
Keeping this in mind, there are various factors driving the growth of the health-tech sector. The most important ones are as follows.
Telemedicine & online doctor consultations - Since the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the healthcare industry, telemedicine services have seen a massive spike due to their user-friendly nature. Telemedicine services allow users to reach out to doctors and medical professionals as and when they need assistance.
ekincare's online doctor consultations saw a growth of 125% amid the pandemic, resulting in 90,000+ online consultations with users.
e-Pharmacy - With ever-growing digital awareness and massive adoption of internet-enabled devices, e-Pharmacies are on the rise. The ease of access and improvements in logistics support enables users to order medications from the comfort of their homes.
ekincare's robust service partner network saw e-Pharmacy orders rising by 40%, with 30,000+ orders being delivered across 27,000+ pin codes pan-India.
Smart health & wearables - With greater tech adoption comes better health tracking. From people living with chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes, to health-conscious people who want to improve their health in a consistent fashion, health tech is now more mobile than ever.
Smart wearables help users track their health in real-time, and this health data can be used to provide better recommendations based on a user's lifestyle habits.
Better user engagement - A recent survey by McKinsey showed that 36% of users are in favour of health services that are attuned to their specific needs. When delivered using the right methodology and at the right time, health services can help improve user engagement and loyalty in the long term.
ekincare's Health Points (H-Points) feature helps employees build healthy habits more consistently, with tangible rewards in the form of wallet money used to redeem services on the ekincare platform.
The way forward for future growth
It is a well-known saying that "Prevention is better than cure." However, healthcare as a whole has traditionally focused on providing solutions to diseases and complications as they arise. With the advent of AI, better connectivity, and advancements in health tech, the future of healthcare solutions is bright. The way forward is toward a world where preventive healthcare is the norm, with a range of customized and real-time health solutions that effectively cater to the ever-growing needs of the global population.
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