How Covid-19 is giving an opportunity to startups across sectors to enter the Indian healthcare ecosystem

The Indian government is also encouraging healthcare providers to open up their siloed systems, which is a prerequisite for the growth of digital health in India.
50 CLAPS
0

The pandemic has affected each industry and its startups differently. While hospitality and travel faced significant challenges during COVID-19, certain other sectors experienced significant growth.

Startups have emerged as key drivers of economic growth, job creation, and recently even stock market returns in India. Startups often act as a catalyst for radical innovation.

During the COVID-19 crisis, startups have continued to play a critical role in industries across sectors like online education and health services, and have provided multiple breakthrough innovations in medical goods and services.

Recession is an aid for opportunities

The Covid-19 pandemic also triggered a widespread recession, and recessions are generally times of increased restructuring, which might lead to a stronger and more robust economy.

Startups have played a major role in this and many successful innovative ideas have birthed from startups only in the periods of crisis. Some of the examples are Dropbox, Zoom, Uber, Airbnb, WhatsApp, and Pinterest, which were all founded during or just after the global financial crisis.

These and several other innovations in sectors like the fintech over the last decade are a strong confirmation that intervals of crisis don’t only pose a challenge, but also provide new opportunities for entrepreneurs.

During intervals of crisis, startups can help address the constraints created by difficult economic or health conditions, and respond to people’s changing preferences and needs.

Radical innovation and changes in consumer behaviour during COVID-19

Firstly, there are opportunities for startups that introduce radical innovations that can thrive in the short run. Today, this might include advancements in telemedicine, remote personal care, medical equipment, home delivery, food processing, teleworking, online and hybrid education, and other fields.

Secondly and importantly, the pandemic outbreak has triggered persistent changes in societies, consumer habits or needs that uncovered valuable business opportunities for startups that are able to anticipate and act on these changes.

For instance, demand for remote working, ecommerce, e-education and health services might also be affected in the medium run, and global value chains and cities will be transformed as a result.

Talking specifically about healthcare, the McKinsey Global Institute says that when it comes to digitisation, healthcare has lagged behind almost all other industries, including finance, travel, retail, manufacturing and even FMCG!

There is virtually little digitisation of records and almost no electronic record-sharing available today. The pandemic exposed such digital deficiencies and spurred change.

Digitisation in healthcare through various innovative startup propositions

Doctors have finally embraced digital communication and analytics in the midst of the various shutdowns and chaos that have been common in other industries for years, if not decades. Remote and computer-assisted diagnosis and treatment are becoming more popular among patients.

Therefore, riding the trend, enterprising medtech startups are scrambling to provide such services. The Indian government is also encouraging healthcare providers to open up their siloed systems, which is a prerequisite for the growth of digital health in India.

In August, the Indian government unveiled a plan under the National Digital Health Mission for a digital health identity with interoperability at its core, and as a result, teleconsulting, telepathology, teleradiology, and epharmacy are all subsectors that are experiencing unprecedented growth and innovative inclusion for digital services from startups.

This is expected to continue over the next decade as well. Each of these require a highly skilled workforce to operate safely with speed at scale.

Currently, there are a limited number of doctors and it takes a long time to increase their numbers in any country due to deep systemic and regulatory challenges. 

India has thankfully witnessed a silver lining with the help of medtech innovations enabling maximised productivity of our existing doctors and also allowing them to provide their much-needed expertise to people in the far-reaches of the country.

Even though there has been innovation in the medtech and healthtech sectors, we still lack a trained workforce at the point of delivery. Therefore, many edtech startups are also coming up to participate in bringing the same to highlight and catering to the massive demand of healthcare professionals.

Conclusion

This revelation of multiple changes in consumer behaviour and the need for innovation has triggered a wave of opportunities for startups across sectors like edtech, tele-consulting, medtech, ecommerce, etc. There are plenty of opportunities for deep innovations in healthcare delivery and their time has surely come. Healthcare will look very different each year of the next decade and will move from being a clinical science to a data science.

Edited by Megha Reddy

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

Latest

Updates from around the world