How HealthTech can Change the Face of the Industry
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The advancement of technology in medicine has been stupendous over the years directly impacting the health of the individuals. The average lifespan has increased, complex diseases are finding curable solutions and, most importantly, medical science is only growing at a faster pace. Robotics surgeries are becoming the new norm in the medical space.
While there is significant growth in tecnhology in medicine, the costs of treatment being unaffordable to many is a big concern. The infrastructure needed for medical support in terms of hospitals, doctors etc especially in India is quite a concern with the metrics of patients to number of beds in hospitals and patients to number of doctor’s is alarming by any standard. Added to this, the unhealthy lifestyle of people leading to medical attention at early ages (child obesity, diabetes, hypertension etc) over the last two decades is the new battle that country is facing.
Since medical field is complex and needs extensive learning and training, the ability to have more doctors in the shortest posssible time is a distant dream.Limitation of medical infrastructure, lack of availability of doctors, unhealthy lifestyle of individuals and unaffordable medical costs are a reality and one needs to look at overcoming these challenges.
The good old saying, ‘Prevention is better than Cure’ is very much applicable in today’s context. To overcome structural challenges, many healthtechs have come up in preventive healthcare over the past couple of years. The focus of healthtechs have been to provide users access to medical fraternity, removing information asymmetry, providing lifestyle change solutions and lastly building trust amongst consumers to adopt to safeguarding one’s health.
The pace at which healthtechs are being funded over the past few years, over 90 of them having received funding in India alone, showcases the extent to which all stakeholders are looking at this sector. One is focussing on Healthtech to be the solution of the structural problem that country is facing. The face of the industry is going to change with HealthTechs focussing on preventive healthcare will soon be the flagbearer of the industry growth.
Challenges in India are primarily two-fold, geographical divide and behavioural problem. With India being vast and rural population being significant, the access to healthcare services have been a challenge over the years. Secondly, discussing on health issues have been a taboo in general and hence sharing information to unknown persons via health techs is still far away dream even in urban India. Unless both these challenges are addressed, it will be difficult to meet the Healthcare sector needs even by the new health techs.
The advancement of digital technology, mobile networks and increase in internet speed have only propelled the goal of healthtech start-ups to improve healthcare services in India. We will be seeing many more healthtechs that will focus on both — bringing in efficiencies in the utilization of existing medical infrastructure and prevention of unhealthy lifestyle.
The ability of health techs to reduce assymmetry of information and increase medical literacy could lead to standard medical practices laid down by the governing body implemented effectively.
The focus of healthtechs on changing lifestyle of individuals by frequent communication, flexibility in accessing fitness infrastructure and convenient access to fitness trainers is a positive trend emerging in the recent past.
The phenomenon of virtual fitness training to give complete flexibility of time to individuals in order to change to a healthy lifestyle is also becoming a new norm. Holistic family training is being encouraged by providing options to multiple genres of fitness to the entire family at an affordable cost so as to integrate the entire family under the idea of fitter eco system. Focus of healthtechs towards kids is another aspects that is emerging considering India being the second largest in the world in child obesity.
Institutions such as schools, corporates, clubs and other organizations, which have large groups under one umbrella, could be the focal points to many of these healthtechs for reaching out to end consumers. The urban phenomenon of marathons, cyclathons, walkathons etc also could be the point of access for health techs to serve the end consumers.