3 Reasons Why Healthcare Startups Are Poised For Growth The advancement of India's healthcare structure is being re-built by home-grown healthcare startups, and the establishment of their grip in the Indian economy will become more apparent in 2022

By Archit Garg

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The COVID-19 pandemic brought significant chaos to the global economy. However, the induced lockdowns and social distancing resulting from the mayhem became a blessing for the healthcare startup industry and served as a significant reason for their massive growth. On its arrival, the pandemic exposed the devastating state of India's healthcare system. With its deteriorating infrastructure of healthcare institutes, extreme shortage of medical staff and scarcity of medical equipment and treatment facilities, all the gaps of the healthcare industry were laid open. Further, the dependency on digital technology was increased due to the inadequacy of healthcare providers; this gave rise to the trend of patients accessing affordable healthcare services virtually. The government of India is also influencing several medtech companies to participate in fighting the crises and submit their ideas as a part of the government procurement programs. The advancement of India's healthcare structure is being re-built by home-grown healthcare startups, and the establishment of their grip in the Indian economy will become more apparent in 2022.

The acceptance of digital healthcare services

The widening gap between patients requiring treatment and available facilities made the acceptance of remote patient monitoring, online delivery of medicines, telehealth, AI-powered health solutions, etc., more accessible. The government initiated health mission policies such as e-Sanjeevani telemedicine services also prompted its growth. This allowed startups to provide e-healthcare services and profit from the robust popularity from the previous two years. Many online companies developed a digital pharmacy platform and fitness services based on AI-based diagnostic technology. The service helped the industry grow and improve the outpatient care and consultation availability for the needy. The high rate of digital health care demand is bound to prosper the health care startup ecosystem further. It is estimated by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI)-Praxis Global Alliance that India's health-tech industry will reach $5 billion in 2023 at a CAGR of 39 per cent annually from $1.9 billion at the start of the pandemic in 2020.

Healthcare startups provide better quality services

Amid the chaos, several healthcare consumers desire personalized services that give them an easy-to-manage experience and protect them from the populace environment. At this time, many prefer to take advantage of the remote care options with online appointments; however, at certain times, it becomes a necessity for them to receive one-to-one health care check-ups. In response to this, private organizations are eying to develop resources that can provide a solution to cater to such needs. Funds and investments are easier to find with a promising future in healthcare startups. Hence, building healthcare data, such as remote patient monitoring, chats bots, ML-powered diagnostics, data extraction, and analysis from patients' medical documents, is becoming more manageable. It will significantly help to provide optimum, personalized, and accurate healthcare services. These requirements are prompted by the rise of healthcare startups in the last year. Because pre-pandemic, India's healthcare system was utterly inept to handle a pandemic or a disease widespread that was never known before. The increased growth of healthcare startups helped India get out of this slump, along with its GDP clearly, and the trend will continue in 2022.

The rise of health insurance companies

Traditionally, Indians had a low rate of commissioning health insurance. However, the rising cost of treatment and the COVID-19 pandemic have heavily influenced several consumers to invest in a proper healthcare insurance plan to prepare for the future. Primarily because of the absolute scarcity of doctors and medical equipment in government hospitals, patients find themselves obligated to opt for private hospitals for treatment, which is highly expensive for them. Therefore, healthcare insurance becomes a necessary alternative, as it is the only option to prevent the potential risk of a significant financial loss if a severe illness occurs. Since the government has made it mandatory for all the workers to have health insurance in India from 2021, Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana has covered over 362 million insurance policies and access to quality healthcare for the below-poverty population. In contrast, citizens from the middle working class can get healthcare and universal coverage for themselves and their families from the corporations they work for. Subsequently, this initiative greatly benefits the healthcare insurance markets leading to their tremendous rise.

Previously, the long incubation time, high barrier to entry, and longer go to market strategy has traditionally made healthcare as one of the most challenging branches of the startup ecosystem. However, the tables have turned since the pandemic drastically, bringing 7-8 years of changes in the last two years. COVID-19 displayed all the loopholes present in India's healthcare system through the first and second waves. Whereas the third wave is onset, and the results of previous encounters have opened new doors for the healthcare startups to rise further in 2022 to increase the efficiency and reach out to the health care services in India.

Archit Garg

Co-founder, Glamyo Health

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