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How Innovation is Paving the Way for Better Home Healthcare Here we'll discuss the challenges in health-care and the changes it has gone through with technology handy today

By Vipin Pathak

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Technology has always been an enabler for growth. Whether it's systemizing processes or creating new and improved ways to conduct businesses, technology has always been a catalyst for change, paving the way for a better world. The healthcare industry, for instance, is undergoing functional and structural changes towards building a value-based ecosystem for patients, and home healthcare is leading the way to wellness.

According to a report by CMR, the market for home healthcare in India is projected to reach USD 6.2 billion by 2020 at a CAGR of 18% from USD 3.2 billion in 2016. Propelled by an increasingly changing family landscape, favourable demographics, increasing disposable incomes, and quest for better preventive care, the home healthcare, which currently represents a small chunk of the overall healthcare industry, is likely to grow immensely in the years ahead in India.

Globally, the home healthcare market is anticipated to reach USD 368 Billion by 2020. In contrast, the market for home healthcare is growing faster in India. There are many reasons for this:

  • Lack of hospitals beds: Today India needs more than 7 lakh hospital beds and the effective way to create such capacity is by converting the home beds into hospital beds.

  • Increased digital adoption and strong consumer demand.

  • Demographic shift: Nuclearization of families, increasing elderly population and increased life expectancy have led to a higher demand for home healthcare services in India. India's geriatric population is the second largest in the world.

  • Homecare is 30-70% cheaper than hospital care with faster recovery and better infection control.

Innovation Revolution:

Home healthcare industry is still evolving. Currently the market is highly fragmented market with new age, innovation-centric and futuristic start-ups that have come up in the past 5 years. Multiple innovative offerings and product delivery with strong focus on standardisation and quality is changing the underlying landscape of industry. Collaborative efforts with companies, looking to bank on mobile medical devices to record patient data in real-time and trigger alerts in the system for quick and pre-emptive action are being recognized and enacted.

Since today's world is largely driven by "convenience' and "outcome', home health care works on the premise of bringing patient health services for better outcome to people at the convenience of their home. Apart from the benefit to patients in terms of convenience and cost savings, the service also helps in de-congesting hospitals beds, thereby increasing capacity utilization for more critical patient needs.

With increasing life expectancy and changes in disease patterns, the scope for home health care is also expanding. The current service portfolio largely includes nursing care, physiotherapy, post-operative care and personalized doctor visits, besides service packages for diabetic care and geriatric care. Technology is already driving innovation through digitization, such as monitoring patient medical vitals through wearables, besides operational efficiency and bottom line expansion.

One game-changing innovation is ICU Care at Home. Intensive care at home in numerous cases reduces the total healthcare cost massively. Patients can be discharged from hospital and get the recovery sitting in home with the same quality of monitoring and treatment. Today with the help of remote monitoring systems and ICU control room, real-time monitoring of patients is possible by intensivist.

Mobile apps & chatbots for consumers and caregivers are changing the care delivery methodology. It is supremely advantageous to not only the patients, but also doctors, caregivers and companies at large. It cuts the unnecessary, inefficient and error-prone communication to an accurate, cheap and effective information exchange. This can enable real-time instructions, boosting inclusivity, efficiency and responsiveness. It automates processes starting from booking, assignment, tracking to financial management.

The Future is Digital

With the ubiquitous use of smartphones today, the effectiveness of home health care has improved manifold, through digital apps and support, making patients and healthcare institutions minimise costs and get access to better care models. As lifestyles change, treatment strategies need to evolve as well. Innovative technology within the home-healthcare space will enable a paradigm shift with real-time personalization and patient empowerment.

Vipin Pathak

Co-founder & CEO, Care24


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