Technology shift and emergence of online marketplace has given a digital makeover to the ancient way of doctor-patient interaction. Here is how innovation is transforming the healthcare market.
Gone are the days when consumers used to wait for hours in a hospital corridor to see a good doctor. Technology has enabled consumers to connect with numerous doctors at a single click of the button on their computers, that too, in the comfort of their homes.
“The tendency to consult chemists rather than doctors due to time constraint and sheer inertia is rampant and can lead to risks as self-medication is dangerous. This is seen more outside metros where accessibility of doctors itself is a challenge. Thus, by connecting doctors to the populace online, we are trying to solve the fundamental problem and transform the way healthcare is being delivered in India,” said Saurabh Arora, CEO, Lybrate.
The basic motto here is to ensure availability of services at limited access zones, where business opportunities are high, but healthcare facilities are less.
According to a report by Frost and Sullivan, India’s healthcare information technology market is expected to hit US$ 1.45 billion in 2018, thrice the US$ 381.3 million in 2012.
Business of innovation
Through innovation, the eHealth market has made significant progress in the industry. In the past two years, healthcare has increasingly become a business oriented area, offering ample opportunities for start-ups and existing players.
These online service providers are not only offering easy access to healthcare, but also building a lasting connect with the consumers via iOS and Android mobile apps. Significantly, these mobile app platforms have doubled in just two-and-a-half years to reach over 100,000 apps (Q1 2014).
The market revenue reached US$2.4 billion in 2013 and is projected to grow to US$26 billion by the end of 2017, says research2guidance strategy advisory and Market Research Company.
The mobile and Internet technology that can be applied to healthcare like the cloud services, wearable devices, and Internet of Things (IOT) has offered tremendous opportunities to solve and mitigate the challenges pertaining to the revenue generation.
Elaborating on the same, Meena Ganesh, MD & CEO, Portea Medical shared, “We charge fees for the services that we render; encompass geriatric care, post-operative care, palliative care and physiotherapy. In addition, Portea also provides collection of lab samples, delivery of medicines to patients’ homes and medical equipment on hire, bringing the entire gamut of healthcare services to a patient’s doorstep.”
Similarly, Shashank ND, Founder & CEO, Practo disclosed, “Practo Ray - a cloud based clinic management software which doctors can subscribe to schedule patients SMS reminders, stores the patient’s digital records and also allows the doctors to send e-prescriptions, has over 90 per cent market share amongst clinics who use software to manage their practice. The other source of revenue is Practo Reach - which allows clinics to showcase patient’s hyper contextual and factual information cards. It shows the user factual information on the clinic on the basis of the users search, specialty and proximity.”
The other start-ups are reaping benefits from either two revenue models for hospitals and consumers or via the latter one.
Although online sources of health information are used to lift the existing system, still, certain challenges are associated with healthcare sector which includes lack of accuracy in information, limited trained professionals and access to Internet in the remote areas, where eHealth could transform the ancient picture of healthcare. However, the outcome is that, these tiny hindrances won’t last for long as majority of innovative players in the segment have made strides to come up with a seamless solution to combat the existing hinderances. This shows a bright future ahead.