Technology has been instrumental in shaping the Indian healthcare industry as we know today. Technological advancements and digital initiatives have disrupted the healthcare sector and shifted the control in the hands of the consumers.
“Technology is now replacing the human effort of keeping track of body vitals and providing consumers access to online platforms for their medicinal needs”
Customers and people, in general, are becoming more aware and cautious of their well-being. With ample information and tools available at their disposal, people are further becoming involved with their healthcare at a personal level. As a result, we have seen an upward trend in people turning towards online services for their medicinal requirements.
Wearable devices, online commerce and startups enabling consumers to proactively take care of themselves, are on the rise in the healthcare sector. Foreseeing the future of healthcare in India, we can expect a dynamic shift towards consumer-centric devices and initiatives. And this shift is expected to change the manner in which patients interact with doctors.
Looking at the current scenario, the following will be the top three trends in the healthcare sector in 2018.
Wearables for Tracking and Analysing Health
Technology has enabled people to optimise their health and lifestyle through wearable devices such as smartwatches, activity trackers, fit bits, etc. Such devices which can monitor body vitals are helping people set goals, track and accomplish them.
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This technological engagement has created a gamification environment to encourage the modern-day consumer into living a healthier life. People are setting up goals for themselves by counting steps and calories. Wearables that help track and monitor health are becoming more common as technology has become more advanced and accessible.
Such seamless integration of physical and digital has allowed today’s consumer to take control of their health beyond the clinical requirements. Wearables have enhanced the quality of life for today’s consumers and will continue to shape the way in which people manage their health on the everyday basis.
Rise of Consumers Availing Online Health Services
The healthcare sector has taken a new course in the past decade thanks to the booming ecommerce. We have seen an upward movement of people availing online healthcare services. Purchasing OTC drugs, booking diagnostic tests, medical consultations and availing nutritional treatments are being taken care by digital platforms like Pharmeasy, Growfit, Docsapp, FitGo, MUrgency etc.
Growfit uses artificial intelligence to help customers manage their weight by providing nutrition advice and diet plans and even supplying fresh meals along with measurable results through their mobile application. On the other hand, startups like Docsapp are helping customers beat the queues and boring appointments by connecting them to a doctor in less than 30 minutes. These immediate access platforms are bridging the gap between doctors and patients, one startup at a time.
Today people have become increasingly health caution which is also a trigger caused due to the growing lifestyle-condition diseases that India is going through. Stress and mental health concerns have furthered encouraged consumers into being more connected with their overall health.
Unlike other categories of commerce like groceries, apparel, fashion or electronics, medicine is need-based where patients purchase what doctors prescribe. However, irrespective of healthcare being a critical category, people have started turning towards online services for their healthcare needs.
Apart from online medication and post-illness medication treatments, we have witnessed flourishing consumer involvement in the pre-illness or pre-detection illness stages, where people tend to opt for supplements to manage their nutritional requirements.
Digital pharmaceuticals and smart-hospitals are thus altering the way in which consumers approach and avail healthcare services.
Upside On Sales Of Body Vital Measurement Tools And Devices
There has been a spike in the sales of body ideal measurement devices in recent times. Tools that allow people to measure their blood-pressure, oxygen level, diabetes or blood sugar levels at home are becoming more common. One-touch tests and other home-based health-monitoring devices have given people the choice to keep a track of these body ideals on a daily or weekly basis.
It further enables people to share these body vitals with doctors and receive real-time feedback through online platforms. In earlier times people used to physically visit doctors and clinics for their basic body vital measurements. That is not the case anymore as the trend of monitoring, measuring and tracking critical body vitals is on the rise. Healthcare sector has undergone a transformation where services are moving in the hands of the customers.
People have started proactively taking care of their health as technology has bridged the gap between service providers and consumers.
In 2018, Healthcare Services Will Move Closer to the Customers
M-commerce has given access to patients to approach the doctors directly and avail treatments. Instead of people availing services from different vendors and stakeholders, services are moving towards the customers. This is the biggest change that has transpired in the healthcare ecosystem and will continue to witness an upward growth spiral.
Technology is replacing the human effort of keeping track of health and has proved a contributory factor in revolutionizing the pharmaceutical landscape for today’s digital India. The fact that technology initiatives will continue to empower consumers in taking care of their own health cannot be emphasized enough.
This story is a part of our Predictions series where we bring to you the forecasts and predictions for the year 2018, hand-curated by the Inc42 editorial team and industry experts. You can read all the stories of Predictions 2018 series here.