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Easing the stress with new-age health solutions With rapid scaling and idea-making seen in the Indian eco-system, it is only speculated that the now-easily accessible healthcare systems will try to reach further depths of the country.

By Prince Kariappa

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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With rapid scaling and idea-making seen in the Indian eco-system, it is only speculated that the now-easily accessible healthcare systems will try to reach further depths of the country. Government initiatives further aim to help the cause, widen the serviceable demographic, and achieve a more inclusive healthcare system but the startup ecosystem has to tread carefully to make it viable for the long haul.

The healthcare sector is undergoing a massive digital transformation, especially in countries like India where the adoption of digital services has been at an express rate. Healthcare facilities through technology gas have been at the forefront of this change.

India's growth has resulted in the rise of the middle class and increased working-class demography flocking to major cities seeking work opportunities and eventually settling down. This indeed has created a unique prospect in terms of the city structure, lifestyle and the type of infrastructure people choose to live in. As more and more people move into the bigger cities, real estate in the country has seen a boom in high-rise residential dwellings, as well as gated societies with high occupation capacity.

The need to purchase and use services at the convenience of one's fingertips has never been stronger. As of 2023, India has over 800 million smartphone users with a significant share in tier 2 and 1 cities according to the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).

The widespread availability of high-speed internet has also made The widespread availability of affordable data plans and the rollout of 4G and 5G networks have made high-speed internet more accessible, facilitating the use of health tech. App-based pharmacies, AI-driven diagnostics, online consultations, remote monitoring, and much more.

Urbanization has a consequential effect on people's living standards and health. Urbanization, on the one hand, leads to stressful lifestyles, unbalanced nutrition, and other environmental factors, such as air pollution, harming people's health. On the other hand, urbanization increases customer awareness and improves purchasing power, making customers more proactive in managing their health.

Priyanka Agarwal Chopra, COO, of IIMA Ventures (formerly IIMA CIIE), opines, "In recent years, with an increase in urbanization, the demand for homecare solutions, providing convenience, have increased manifold. Some of the popular applications in the segment include teleconsultations, at-home sample collection for diagnostics, e-pharmacies, and in-home physical therapy. The market for homecare medical devices providing monitoring solutions has seen a similar uptick."

IIMA Ventures has been an active investor in the healthcare sector and has invested in startups such as Biosense, Forus Health, Mestastop, 5C Network, and Onward Assist.

Population like India has shown immense promise when it comes to adopting tech-based solutions that directly impact their lifestyles. Priyanka says that the evaluation of startups according to her firm is based on the quality and diversity of data used to train the AI models, the quality & scalability of the annotation process, and the interoperability of the infrastructure created.

"Moreover, the key value proposition of the solution is tested on the ground of the time or cost saved for the target customer. Also, estimating the time and resources required to gather clinical evidence data and regulatory approvals is critical in the evaluation process," she adds.

Another crucial aspect of the importance of investing more in the traditional healthcare sector is to reduce the load on the traditionally set up healthcare systems.

Dipanjan Basu, Co-founder and Partner at Fireside Ventures says that the solutions coming up need to be deeply innovative and should be able to take the stress of solving the larger issues at least in a populated country like India.

"For instance, we have seen a lot of IVF clinics have come up and thus have raised the number of patients going to the hospitals when they reach fertility artificially. Adding to that a lot of preventive cases can be solved at home with the help of technology which will reduce the stress on the mainstream system. And this will certainly add to the strength and muscle of the overall healthcare," he furthered.

The digital transformation of the healthcare sector in India is rapidly advancing, driven by urbanization, increasing smartphone penetration, and improved internet connectivity. As healthcare apps and tech-based solutions become more integrated into daily life, they offer a promising avenue to enhance accessibility and efficiency in medical services.

However, the success of these innovations hinges on careful execution and sustainable growth. Startups must focus on creating scalable, interoperable solutions that can withstand regulatory scrutiny and deliver tangible benefits to users. By doing so, they will not only alleviate the burden on traditional healthcare systems but also contribute to a more inclusive and robust healthcare infrastructure, ultimately improving the health and well-being of millions across the country.

Prince Kariappa

Features Content Writer

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