Why traditional healthcare is broken and why we need to focus on preventive healthcare instead
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced people to think about their health and the importance of being healthy. Many are now realising that healthcare is not just about visiting doctors when sick, but also about maintaining a healthy body and mind to avoid being sick i.e. focusing on preventive healthcare.
This is what entrepreneur Vishal Gondal realised way back in 2014 when he launched smart-tech enabled, integrated preventive healthcare platform.
While speaking at YourStory’s TechSparks 2021, Asia’s largest startup-tech summit, Vishal Gondal, Co-founder and CEO of GOQii, explained that traditional healthcare is “broken because it is not healthcare but it is sick care.” The traditional healthcare approach has been designed to treat symptoms via medicine or surgeries or any kind of procedure.
However, he also noted that this does not solve the core problem of changing the lifestyle.
“The other problem of our traditional healthcare is that it is full of conflicts. The pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, doctors, healthcare providers – all are in conflict with the patient's well-being, which is why we know that the trust in healthcare is at an all-time low. This is why, in order to really disrupt healthcare, my approach was to look at it not from the provider perspective, but from the consumer perspective,” he explained.
Preventive healthcare: From consumer’s perspective
Vishal launched GOQii after fusing his passion for computer games with healthtech innovation to address the challenges in the health sector from the consumer perspective.
“If you think about the consumer, what can a consumer do? Let's say at any given point of time, 15 to 20 percent people are sick and the other 80 percent are not. But they are all living unhealthy lifestyles – eating junk food, not doing physical activity, and they are making the journey towards sickness. So the goal of preventive healthcare is to make people realise it at that point in time, which is why the preventive healthcare market is at least five to 10 times bigger than the sick market because now you are not talking to sick people, you are talking to people who are not yet sick,” he explains.
So in order to ensure preventive healthcare, one needs to impact people’s lifestyles – what they are eating, how they are sleeping, their daily activities among others. In the case of preventive healthcare business, the opportunity majorly lies in lifestyle supplements, healthy food, behaviour among others.
Agreeing with Vishal, Amitabh Nagpal, Head - Startup Ecosystem, AWS India (ASIPL) also said that given the massive Indian population, the country does not have health infrastructure to manage and provide sick care to so many people.
“If we have to manage sick care, it is a hugely enormous task and not having the ability to do that, we can actually land ourselves in a huge problem of economic instability... Managing people from a preventive perspective and creating a preventive infrastructure is better than creating a sick care infrastructure,” he explained.
Future of healthcare
Vishal believes that the future of health is going to mainly involve data being centralised and aggregated, and will be used for the benefit of the consumer.
“Most people don't even know their blood pressure. It is now that they have come to know about SPO2 levels due to the pandemic. COVID-19 has suddenly made people aware of data points, which nobody was. So consumers are suddenly asking all these questions, which is why we saw a spike in the sales of GOQii wearables. We also got CDSCO approval for our devices as medical devices,” he explained.
He added that as a country, the real metric in healthcare is to look at should be improving the lifespan and quality of life.
“With COVID-19, we have realised one thing that to be a strong country, you no longer need military or nuclear bombs, you need fit citizens. So I hope that India can at least make sure we have fit citizens so that they are prepared to fight the next pandemic, which could be even worse than COVID-19,” he said.
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Edited by Kanishk Singh