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Digital transfor­mation is shaping the MedTech and IVD industry

The MedTech and IVD industry is on the cusp of a major transformation in India, accelerated by digitization, increasing cost pressure, and growing chronic disease burdens. Furthermore, the Covid-19 pandemic has emphasized the crucial role of medical technologies in healthcare delivery. The MedTech and IVD industry is pushed to re-imagine designs of critical devices, step up production capacity, and get essential equipment to clinicians and patients on an immediate basis. The pandemic has presented us with many areas of innovation, and a renewed focus to create accessibility and affordability of quality healthcare with products designed, keeping in mind the economic and social fabric of the country. It has precipitated change across the healthcare ecosystem and has driven real-time innovation that affects the way care gets delivered across the care gamut.

Innovation and adoption of new technology are the keys to the growth of MedTech. We strongly believe technology and automation for the advancement of diagnostics will help patients in a meaningful way. There is a big shift in health burden from communicable to include non-communicable diseases. Non-communicable diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiac conditions, cancer, etc., in India are on the rise. In 2006, about 46 percent of the disease burden was due to chronic/non-communicable diseases. The share of these diseases is expected to increase to about 57 percent by 2051. This calls for high-quality MedTech and affordable, India-specific IVD products and technologies.

Integration with the government’s initiative of digitization of healthcare and increased use of new technologies in the MedTech segment have the potential of driving further growth of the industry, and meet cost and quality objectives. The advances in digital healthcare technologies, including 3D printing, remote diagnosis, wearables, digital therapeutics, virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, computer vision, IoT, etc., are set to pave the way for innovation in diagnostics, and helping us solve critical challenges in healthcare, and bring significant and affordable benefits to human health.

Shift toward preventive care. In the last few years, the digital transformation of healthcare has led to ground-breaking innovations that are rapidly accelerating the shift toward preventive care at scale. Focus should be on healthcare outcomes, to tackle disease before it progresses to the point of needing treatment. Every part of the world has its peculiar health issues and MedTech industry should focus on solving problems of such local issues. For example, anemia, infant mortality, and malnutrition are major concerns for India and it is the Indian MedTech industry which is best placed to provide diagnostics and monitoring solutions to detect and manage this problem, rather than industries based in the developed part of the world, where such problems may be miniscule.

Around 75 percent of clinical decisions are based on medical diagnostic tests. Adoption of technologies that enable prevention and monitoring so that diseases may be detected at an earlier stage is vital. Timely diagnostics will allow healthcare to center the delivery of care on the patient.

We expect to see a rise in POCT owing to the decentralization trend in testing. POCT will take center stage in the coming years and with AI-driven interpretation, it will break barriers that had been existing for quite a time.

Way forward. To strengthen the Indian MedTech market, we need to build better resilience for future infections and self-reliance, enabling wider access to care and focusing on prevention with improved diagnostics. The collaboration among key stakeholders in the ecosystem, like industry-academia-government partnerships, will be key to introduce new technologies to make high-quality and cost-effective diagnostics available to every citizen of the country.

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