Healthcare industry: it is truly alive and kicking

6th Mar 2018
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The funding received by healthcare-related startups has seen an upscale in the recent years. There has been a lot of activity in this space too, with several global M&As and IPOs.

 

 

The Indian healthcare market is growing at an exponential rate, and this growth is driven by lifestyle diseases, an ageing population, rising income levels and growing health awareness. This rapid increase in need and demand for healthcare services puts immense pressure on various stakeholders to efficiently manage the scarce human resources and inadequate infrastructure. Some key matters that the stakeholders are working on solving in addition to efficient and effective utilisation of scarce resources are accessibility, affordability and quality care.
The need of the hour is to explore how we can address these issues most efficiently using innovative and disruptive digital health solutions.

The healthcare landscape has evolved over the last few years. The image of a person getting a check-up has changed; in the twentieth century the doctor would come over armed with a bag of tools and old-fashioned medical know-how. This image has now become quaint and has progressed by transcending physical walls to create a digital version of healthcare. Some interesting digital healthcare solutions that have been showing promise include imaging, analysing, processing and computing software with deep learning capabilities, a collaborative space for connecting healthcare stakeholders, telemedicine addressing the lack of accessible healthcare, management tools and platforms to standardise procedures, care delivery, prevention and wellness solutions and non-invasive point-of-care diagnostics.

Digital transformation will have a great impact on the healthcare space. This transformation could be through various new technologies such as mobile (feature phones, smartphones, phablets, tablets, wearables AR/VR, voice assistants) mobile tools and apps to improve efficiency and patient safety, manage addiction treatment and chronic diseases, IoT (Internet of Things, sensors, drones, robots, 3D printer, smart cars and homes to improve care delivery systems and emergency systems, data (big data, smart data, genomics data, bio-informatics) to quantify risk,  precision medicine and disease diagnosis and artificial intelligence (medical diagnosis, robo-doc, health advisor, machine learning, health assistant, new health) to augment the diagnosis and treatment process.

A couple of impediments have stifled the Indian healthcare market; the technology penetration in Tier II and III cities is a challenge due to lack of affordability, cost involved, demographics, income and awareness. The med-tech industry has not been regulated all these years, with inconsistent interpretation and application of regulatory standards being the norm. The new medical devices rules that have been executed this January, the Medtech entrepreneurs will have more clarity and specificity on the policies.

A med-tech company would fail if it used cookie-cutter strategies across all regions. For example, GE Healthcare does not treat all the countries as just markets; it considers India and China as a great hub for talent and innovation and leverages on it to accelerate its growth trajectory.

GE also relies majorly on China, Hungary and Mexico to manufacture the product parts of its diagnostic equipment and takes the support of India for software development. Therefore, it is important that startups make their own strategies to develop products and take it to the market, as every product is unique, and based on the response of its users the course should then be decided.

The funding received by the healthcare related startups has seen an upscale in the recent years. According to the CB Insights report, the number of exits in the healthcare space has been trending upwards with a 60-percent growth seen in 2015. Since 2012- 2016, there have been 96 first exits, 77 mergers and acquisitions and 19 IPOs around the world. Based on the funding data from Crunchbase, the analysis shows that most companies that were able to raise the first round of funding (in the form of seed, venture or grant) have also been able to raise the next round of funding (in the form of venture, debt financing, Series B etc).

In conclusion, looking at the trends the future for healthcare looks bright and promising with some minor impediments to be faced through the journey.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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