Indian Healthcare Ecosystem is Hosting a Multidimensional Paradigm Shift
According to ResearchAndMarkets.com, the global healthcare IT market is projected to reach $829.2 billion by 2026, while it is estimated to reach Rs.485.43 billion by 2024, growing at a CAGR of a whopping 27.41 percent. It’s incredible the way the Indian population adapted to mobile tech and all possible healthcare avenues through it without breaking social distancing norms, often outsmarting the folks in the first world—a silver lining of the pandemic. The national telemedicine service of India, eSanjeevani, completed hosting 10 crore teleconsultations a couple of weeks ago while also setting a record by registering one crore consultations in approximately five weeks. Over 57 percent of Sanjeevani beneficiaries are women; around 12 percent of beneficiaries are senior citizens.
“We can safely assume that through ICT, eSanjeevani has democratized healthcare. This platform also reflects finding its reach in the more vulnerable sections of the population where its effect fetches maximum impact. This speaks volumes about the telemedicine platform and the extent to which it has reinvented itself over time to meet the growing healthcare demands in India,” says Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Health Minister.
The cloud-based eSanjeevani platform has two modes of functioning. One is eSanjeevaniAB-HWC (a provider-to-provider telemedicine platform), an assisted telemedicine system connecting patients through health workers and medical officers in Health & Wellness Centres to the doctors and specialists in hubs established in secondary/tertiary level health facilities or medical colleges. This variant is based on a Hub-and-Spoke model. There are currently 15,234 Health & Wellness Centres (as spokes) and 15,731 hubs.
The second mode is eSanjeevaniOPD (a patient-to-provider telemedicine platform), which empowers citizens to access outpatient services in the confines of their homes through smartphones or laptops etc. You can download the eSanjeevaniOPD app from the store (Play Store/iTunes), sign in using your credentials and book your appointment. This time, we are ahead of the world.
However, people will eventually go back to the physical warmth of hospitals. Hence, alongside flaring mhealth ecosystems, the need for a futuristic, comprehensive healthcare paradigm is a need that must be redeemed soon. The healthcare industry, including the diagnostics and pharmaceutical industries, must be ready for it by building capabilities around bleeding-edge tech, including artificial intelligence & data analytics-based predictive, preventive, & personalized healthcare models and RPA-powered patient experience.
"The methodology used in some of the vaccines today, such as Messenger RNA (mRNA), is an excellent example of the application of technology. Conventional vaccines use a dead virus, what we call the unaffected virus, to transmit the vaccine into the body so that our body becomes immune to the whole process. But with the mRNA, a virus is no longer required to be a part of that vaccine."
The Tech-Powered Diagnostics Industry
Catering to a whopping 140 crore population, the diagnostic industry in India is highly unorganized, constituting a high degree of fragmentation with over 1,00,000 labs. While the vast nature of the market calls for unique, India-centric business models, the healthcare industry becoming more evidence-based and clinical investigations-centric has ensured that the diagnostics organizations have no room for anything less than world-class quality. This has inevitably polished out high-octane competitiveness among large diagnostic chains and startups alike. In the process, there has been a phenomenal rise in the use of technology, which has become an integral part of the sector’s efforts to improve customer experience and support clinical decisions.
In a recent interview with CEO Insights, Dr.Om Manchanda, Managing Director, Dr Lal PathLabs, says, “There are two dimensions to how emerging technologies are transforming diagnostics. The first dimension is the service experience. Achieving faster turnaround time is a crucial aspect of improving customer experience. Hence, today, technology intervention is virtually in every aspect of the diagnostic cycle—ranging from process automation in the lab to mobile app-based experience.”
Dr.Om adds, “On the other hand, the axis of the diagnostics industry is biochemistry. It all boils down to blood chemistry, whether sugar tests, thyroid profile or hormone tests. But today, technology is slowly moving this axis to genetics, opening the doorway to predictive and preventive healthcare.”
Pharmaceutical Industry’s Level Up
Ever since the first case of COVID-19 was reported, the pharmaceutical industry has been thrown under immense pressure. The unprecedented virus triggered even more remarkable ways to research and develop vaccines. In the end, the pharmaceutical industry came out all guns blazing. According to Statista, as of February 28, 2023, over 13 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered worldwide. The industry has hosted a paradigm shift in the process, promising a great future for all stakeholders.
In the aftermath, innovations around modern pharmaceutical technology for disease management have increased multifold. COVID-19 has forced the industry to think about similar healthcare catastrophes that could surprise us in the future. The industry is determined to be prepared to face such predicaments, hence the increasing focus on approaches like Immunomodulatory therapy. Lend your ears to Sanjay Vyas, EVP, Global SBU Head-Clinical Logistics & Global Safety Services & Managing Director India, Parexel. He says, “The methodology used in some of the vaccines today, such as Messenger RNA (mRNA), is an excellent example of the application of technology. Conventional vaccines use a dead virus, what we call the unaffected virus, to transmit the vaccine into the body so that our body becomes immune to the whole process. But with the mRNA, a virus is no longer required to be a part of that vaccine. On the other hand, if it took around 5-7 years to launch a conventional vaccine or a therapy in the market, it has been reduced to less than two years.”
The case of medical professionals is no different. They can no longer say no to the transformations happening outside. New-age doctors need to conceive of this aspect from their medical schools. Yes, it all boils down to quality education that travels abreast of time, is woven around empathetic healthcare, and teaches medical professionals to trust technology — both in terms of tools and decision-making.
“In God we trust. All others must bring data,” ~ W. Edwards Deming, one of the Founding Fathers of Total Quality Management.