Technology is dramatically transforming the healthcare system, resulting in fast-paced innovations and advancements; startup ecosystem being the driving before behind this rapid change. While there have been numerous revolutionary changes in healthcare technology over the few years, there has also been a major spike in the role startups play within the healthcare system. These emerging organisations are ambitious, flexible and lean; continuously striving to shape the industry on a global scale moving forward.
The Need Of Startups
A widening gap between the needs of care seekers and traditional healthcare services has emerged as a major challenge. It adds to the unaffordability and inaccessibility of healthcare. All the factors have collectively contributed towards the growing healthcare startup ecosystem and motivated them to innovate.
Further, these startups not only help patients’ gain access to quality healthcare but also create job opportunities. The sector will create 40 Mn jobs by 2030, according to Invest India. With a conducive environment available for startups in India, they will continue to generate more employment opportunities and solve existing challenges facing the healthcare system.
Technology Pioneering Transformation
Advanced technologies not only bring opportunities to healthcare providers and suppliers but also empower patients. Healthcare startups are using personalisation to their advantage and upgrade preventive models and treatment to satisfy patients’ needs. Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), Robotics and 3D Printing are some key technologies being used in the healthcare space.
Indian startups today are leveraging these technologies to create locally relevant and novel digital solutions that address healthcare challenges. As a result, these startups have become integral to the healthcare system. In 2018, the investment in Indian healthtech amounted to a striking $ 571 million, according to Traxcn data. Further, there are about 3,225 healthtech startups in India, according to Invest India.
The Growth Models
The fastest growing sector is not only backed by India’s health awareness, rising income, and access to insurance, but also due to lifestyle changes and stress-related diseases. The Indian government is also playing a significant role in improving access to healthcare with policies such as Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY). The IBEF estimates the Indian healthcare industry to be worth $372Bn by 2022.
Healthcare is possibly the most varied sector with startups categorised across telemedicine, online pharmacy, personal health management, fitness & wellness, home healthcare, medical devices, diagnostics, biotech R&D, biopharma and genomics.
Digital healthcare is a significant part of the centre’s plans for a Digital India. Even the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has launched several initiatives to deliver affordable, quality and better care and also lower the disease burden. Some key initiatives are the National Health Policy 2017 and Ayushman Bharat Program 2018 that address holistic healthcare delivery.
Innovations During Covid-19
If we have to name a few good things about the pandemic, most significant would be the opportunities it bought for healthtech companies. The way healthtech companies are now looking into telehealth is more serious than ever before. From benefitting isolated patients with cloud based technologies to patients with chronic diseases who fear visiting hospitals for a routine check up, these healthtech companies are pacing up innovation. Solutions such as AR, chatbots, and voice interfaces are bringing the much needed healthcare experiences for patients and providers.
The pandemic has exposed various gaps within the healthcare infrastructure that has led to more emphasis on adopting cloud services and new age technology. Thanks to these advanced technologies, patients and providers are constantly updated about the outbreak and solutions available in real time.
Summing It All Up
With the rising demand for affordable and specialised healthcare services, the Indian startup ecosystem is playing a major role in how smart healthcare services help patients make informed decisions. The amalgamation of healthcare and automation in India will help the sector establish new landmarks.
The vast and disorganised healthcare market in India offers ample opportunities for innovative startups. However, if these opportunities are to be tapped successfully, challenges of payments, logistics and infrastructure need to be tackled judiciously. Given the opportunities, the healthcare startups will become an integral part of the economy.