Why pandemic-led digital disruption has led to a surge in demand for tech jobs in healthcare across India
COVID-19 led to a paradigm shift in the healthcare industry across the world. As the pandemic spread, healthcare professionals risked their own life to treat and save patients, often struggling with infrastructure issues.
India, the second most populous country in the world, has always suffered from lack of adequate healthcare professionals and the pandemic showcased how wide this gap was, leading to a spike in the demand for healthcare workers.
Munira Loliwala, AVP, TeamLease Digital [Image Credit: TeamLease]
Speaking to YourStory, Munira Loliwala, AVP, TeamLease Digital, says the patient care segment has seen a huge rise in India due to the COVID-19 breakout.
“The largest growth has been into the patient care segment. Now patient care can be driven in two ways - through hospitals, clinics, and through virtual modes. There has been an increase in demand for nurses and paramedics to deliver care to patients in hospitals. However, there has also been an equal rise in demand for online healthcare amid the pandemic. An almost equal amount of people are also being treated at home, increasing the demand for telemedicine and remote monitoring services,” she says.
Munira adds that the technological disruption in the segment has heightened demand for tech and IT-related jobs.
Team Lease’s Employment Outlook Report for the period April to June 2021 revealed that the top healthtech jobs in demand right now are in big data, engineering leadership (with data science experience), mobile technology, UX & UI design, medical coding, health informatics, economics, and cybersecurity.
“The industry is able to generate about 20,000 data science job opportunities,” the report said.
Set up in 2016, Bengaluru-based TeamLease Digital is a subsidiary of TeamLease Services Limited, which offers technology staffing services in IT, ITeS, telecom, engineering, edtech, healthtech, and gaming industries.
Rise in tech jobs in healthcare sector
Munira says the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the telemedicine market, leading to a 15 percent rise in demand for talent.
TeamLease believes job opportunities in clinical healthcare, patient services, and information technology will open up in the coming years.
“Skilled-based careers such as health IT professionals that will develop the working and operations of the telemedicine network are on the rise. Administrative operators and equipment managers will be needed in each unit as the spread of technology increases. Apart from a skilled workforce, it is also opening up opportunities for talent with multiple linguistic abilities,” she said.
Munira claims that the hiring of doctors and nurses increased by about 10 to 15 per cent in the year 2020 as compared to 2019. "This year the number will rise to almost 20-22 percent demand for doctors & nurses, virtual & home care facilities across specialty and super-specialty segments," she adds.
The Employment Outlook Report ranked healthcare and pharmaceuticals as the highest “intent to higher” sector followed by educational services, ecommerce, and technology startups. It also revealed that the healthcare and pharmaceuticals market also saw lower levels of attrition rate.
Image Credit: TeamLease
“Telecommunications, power & energy, healthcare & pharmaceuticals, consulting, and marketing & advertising may still see low levels of attrition - as compared to pre-COVID levels for an extended period of time,” the report noted.
Demand for temporary healthcare workers
Munira explained the pandemic has led to an increased demand for 24X7 healthcare services, resulting an increase in the demand for temporary healthcare workers.
“Healthcare 24X7 has seen a rise in demand amid the pandemic, which resulted in the temporary workforce where people currently studying are joining the workforce to meet the demand. Temp Workers demand during the pandemic has increased by over and above 33 percent and above and is growing with the constant need of nurses and paramedic staff," she claims.
Amid the rising COVID-19 cases, India experienced trouble in meeting the demand, especially during the second wave. Due to this, earlier in May, the government had announced that medical interns would be deployed for COVID-19 duties while final year students were to provide teleconsultation service and monitor mild cases under supervision.
The government also announced that B.Sc./GNM qualified nurses were to be assigned full-time COVID nursing duties under the supervision of senior doctors and nurses.
Munira said the demand for para health workforce increased by eight to 10 per cent amid the pandemic and is expected to continue rising till at least 2025.
Upskilling in the healthcare segment
Digital upskilling in India was already on the rise and was boosted amid the pandemic as business models shifted online. The Indian healthcare sector also saw this trend.
With healthcare moving online and following a hybrid model, doctors, nurses, and medical practitioners need to digitally upskill.
Last month, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the launch of ‘Customised Crash Course programme for COVID-19 Frontline workers’. About one lakh frontline workers will be trained under this initiative, which will be conducted in 111 training centres spread over 26 states.
According to the official statement, the workers will be mainly trained for job roles such at in-home care support, basic care support, advanced care support, emergency care support, sample collection support, and medical equipment support
According to Munira, the demand for skills in technologies such as AI and IoT is also gaining importance with rise of remote monitoring services.
Apart from government initiatives, private players are also doing their bit to support the healthcare segment.
Tech giant Google recently announced a grant of Rs 113 crore for procurement and installation of oxygen generation plants and upskilling of healthcare workers in rural parts of the country.