Healthtech Startup Landscape In India

In his 13-year long career, Shashank has worked with companies such as HSBC, HDFC Bank, Bharti Airtel, Practo, DocTalk, OYO, and DocOnline,prior to incepting Medpho in 2020.

Covid-19 has been a real eye-opener for the entire healthcare industry. The pandemic has not only exposed the existing gaps and deficiencies in the healthcare system, but has also underlined the importance of quality medicare at the earliest. At present, the Indian health tech sector has crossed its nascent stage and moved over to the developing phase with more than 5,000+ health tech startups already operating in the market. In fact, the industry has seen the rise of 300+ startups with more than $2.4 million in revenue. All of these startups have come-in with one definite mission, i.e., to disrupt the traditional healthcare system in India and revamp the entire structure with the help of technology.

With in person health stack augmented with artificial intelligence, there is a huge potential that can be tapped in to provide effective,affordable, accessible and quality medicare

The Role Of Technology
Technology is playing a crucial role in transforming the healthcare sector through AI & ML-powered diagnosis, remote patient monitoring(RPM), tele consultation services, digitization of patient data, and others. Further, technological integration aims to improve the agility in the healthcare ecosystem innovation through customer experience, development of healthcare-based cloud for a smooth workflow, and more.

The ability to 'build quickly' with technology is one of the major aspects that can boost the growth of healthcare and help bring the fragmented pieces of the present healthcare system together. It can help provide a single data source, thereby augmenting and supporting the integrated problem that healthcare is. More importantly, it is interesting to see the growth in health tech from using technology in medical devices and wristbands to integrating it with process and procedure to create a more patient centric healthcare approach.

The amalgamation of healthcare with technology, even though started in 2019, could only get the required boost in 2021 during the peak pandemic scenario. People started considering telehealth and telemedicine as effective alternatives to doctor visits and long queues. Even in rural areas of the country, people have started recognizing the need for quality healthcare and are moving away from quacks towards more reliable options. With the doctor patient ratio as low as 1:1800 in the country, telehealth is a potent aid to bridging this humongous gap.

Government's Initiative Towards Digital Health
The government, with its aim to support the making of ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat', has recently launched the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission(ABDM). The core objective of ABDM is to provide access to safer environments, education, health, and food. Apart from this, a significant step taken by the government towards digital health was the immediate passing of the Telemedicine Practice Guidelines, 2020. To facilitate ease of access and prompt healthcare support, clause 1.3.1 of the guidelines entitle registered medical practitioners to provide teleconsultation and telemedicine services to patients across India, clause 1.4.1 allows the use of suitable technology-based consultation services via calls, videos, and texts through various social media platforms.

The Change In Investor Approach
With the industry steadily moving towards a more patient centric approach, there has been a growing need to effectively store and manage data, provide cost effective infrastructure with a reduced cost on operational needs without compromising on the work efficiency, and growing smartphone penetration across the nation.

This need has not only led to the rapid adoption of Electronic Health Record services and the implementation of cloud computing to handle operations, but has also attracted the interest of several global investors such as Sequoia Capital, VenturEast, and others. Private investments in health tech spiked to a record $23.9 billion in Q2 of 2021, with the total healthcare investment in 1H 2021 hitting around $47 billion, which is more than double 1H 2020.

Healthtech & Beyond
With the health tech sector diversifying across various verticals such as wearables, mobile apps, wellness analytics, healthcare platforms, healthcare management, and administration, it is only right to say that the IoT sector has felt the nudge and is opening-up to new opportunities, foreseeing a bright future with connected healthcare nonetheless.

Technology innovations in white spaces such as medical devices, diagnostics, primary healthcare, therapeutics, online healthcare marketplaces, ondemand healthcare, and concierge services have also taken the industry by storm and are rightfully bridging the gap between the availability of specialized care & doctors, and accessibility to them. With in-person health stack augmented with artificial intelligence, there is a huge potential that can be tapped-in to provide effective, affordable, accessible and quality medicare.

Given this perspective, Indian health tech can be the ground for launching an efficacious and exemplary virtual care ecosystem model that can, later on, be used as a working model for other developing economies. That said, the health tech sector in India is scripting a promising future, and in the words of Koen Kas, "It's time to move from reactive sick care to proactive healthcare by default".

With health tech flourishing and becoming more and more exhaustive, data analytics and preventive healthcare will become more diligent and accurate, helping solve the issues of accessibility, accuracy, and personalized care.