Gone are those days when we ended up rushing to our nearest medical stores for medicines or clinics for medical assistance. Today, they are just a mobile click away. Technology has intervened in almost every aspect of our lives and it is now the healthcare sector which is undergoing the impact of this major revolution. It is also rapidly transforming the pattern of online behavior of users in developed countries. From paying bills to recharges, booking movie tickets to ordering food, we can now even manage doctor’s appointments online. Today, medical science is not only progressing at a brisk pace but is also becoming more accessible to the masses owing to the increasing internet and smartphone users in the country.
In 2014, India recorded nearly 244 Mn internet users and expects to have 236 Mn mobile Internet users by 2016. The way the rapid mobile proliferation has raised awareness and acceptance amongst people is both unprecedented and unforeseen. It has started triggering new behavior and patterns of usage by not just limiting access to a piece of information on health, but allowing us to look at the health expert’s appointment calendar, make bookings at hospitals or diagnostic centers and order medicines as per convenience.
We belong to a generation where over the past few decades; urban reality has been taking a toll on our health. Lifestyle diseases like obesity, depression, high cholesterol, etc. have become so common, that there is one case of either of these reported from almost every household today.
Conventional medicine has limitations and doesn’t have answers for many of these lifestyle-related problems. Fortunately, people are becoming aware of this and hence have started embracing natural health or preventive health measures to avoid falling sick or succumbing to a disease. They wish to go the extra mile to lead a healthy life.
The online healthcare startups are making maximum efforts to take up complex issues in healthcare and break them down into layman’s language. As a result, knowledge is readily available in the spheres of prevention, diagnosis and even recommended and alternative treatments.
Online healthcare is not only making doctors and hospitals more accessible to patients; it is also helping patients connect with others like them. It is giving suggestions based on search history, value added offers on products and services to the end-user and covering360 degrees of Healthcare & Wellness services to connect the consumer on a single platform. These online platforms are bringing innovation in the way consumers are connecting to healthcare and wellness service providers. This global shift in digital healthcare is making it possible for people to receive personally verified and trusted medical and health services while reducing loopholes and cost. This is in turn, is improving quality and providing easier access to the same.
While e-fever is already making strong inroads into banking, retail and education sectors, we are just getting started and paving our way into the healthcare sector to ease out living for the doctors as well as the patients. The fact that healthcare is very different from retail and was nowhere to be seen in the recent past in the vicinity of ‘Ecommerce’, makes it important to keep an eye on how this sector is growing.
Entrepreneurs today are at a crucial juncture where they can start something new or even provide an alternative to an existing problem, especially in healthcare and because health stands as fundamental to all of us, the impact of even small innovations and solutions will drive healthcare ecommerce towards a booming period of growth, five years down the line.