The Indian economy, over the past few decades, has seen a slow but definite shift from the production to the service sector.
Needless to say, of the many services that make up this tertiary economy, healthcare is the primary industry – it’s slowly overtaking Indian markets and brings comparatively more foreign investments than a number of its contemporaries! Both in terms of revenue as well as employing people, the healthcare industry is taking the Indian markets by storm.
Perhaps the biggest reason for this rapids expansion is the play of both public and private players.
The government institutions obviously focus on providing Indian citizens with the most basic of healthcare services at low prices; the private providers are bit more advanced in the services they render, though they do tend to charge a lot more!
Healthcare have boomed over last few years, as evidence by number of funding deals. The boom is driven by health reforms that are disrupting business models aging population that’s demands more care and adoption of technology such as video chat, conferencing, text messages etc.
The overall Indian healthcare market share today is worth about $100 billion that is not an insignificant amount! According to a number of reports, our growth rate is strong enough that we should hit $280 billion by the year 2020 rolls around – given that right now, including pharmaceuticals and healthcare delivery agents such as nursing homes and diagnostic centers, the industry constitutes close to 65% of the overall market, this is hardly surprising!
The fact is that it’s a golden age for entrepreneurship, where the declining cost of technology means more entrepreneurs than ever have a tools to build new companies, and you have all the ingredients for startups revolution healthcare
However, as always with a country like ours, accessibility and the distribution of these resources is a huge issue. The majority of our population lives in rural areas; healthcare in these regions is spotty at best, with the government hospitals not always well functioning – timely, quality, affordable healthcare is left to the urban cities.
In contrast to the weak healthcare industry, though, computer and mobile literacy in rural India is exploding at the seams! Why is this relevant? It’s simple – whether there are proper functioning hospitals or not, most villagers make use of mobile phones and the Internet.
This means that they have access to the world; when one combines the possibilities off accessibility to healthcare, the telemedicine industry comes into play!
While the healthcare industry itself is on the rise (inviting much foreign investment due to our cost competitiveness in particular), the telemedicine aspect of it is a relatively new concept.
Reportedly, the market for telemedicine in India comes only up to around $7.7 million dollars or so, in comparison to the billions of dollars the healthcare industry is leading by. Still, it’s expected to make a good growth in the next couple of years – with the boom of the IT sector, is it any wonder that more and more people are gaining access to the internet and better technologies?
It’s not without its challenges; lack of infrastructure in remote areas, disbelief of both patients and doctors in any non-traditional modes of healthcare delivery, etc.
However, we cannot deny the face that this poses an excellent method of rendering quality healthcare services to the rural areas! As long as there is clinical effectiveness, it means more accessibility to good doctors even from the most remote areas and a bridging in the gap of access to healthcare between the rural and the urban!
Ultimately, telemedicine as part of the healthcare industry is an untapped resource that newer companies like Health enablr are now bringing to the fore. It’s got great potential, both as a social objective and as an investment opportunity – it can make the entire healthcare industry a common network of patients and doctors with access to one another in the coming years!