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Rise Of Health-Tech Startups In India And What They Are Signalling

The healthcare sector in India has always been booming and is one of its fastest-growing sectors. With the amalgamation of technology and healthcare in India, the sector is poised to create new milestones. The way technology has helped transform the other sectors of the country like education and finance, it is proof enough for its potential to positively impact this sector as well.

By 2022, the healthcare market will potentially have a worth of $370 billion, promising returns up to 35-40%, according to several investors. Health-tech is a game-changer, despite the fact that India has a long way to go when it comes to using technology to impart health-related services. It is expected to generate 40 million jobs by 2030.

According to Traxcn data, in 2018 India’s investments in health-tech reached a whopping $571 million. In April 2019, NASSCOM partnered with GE Healthcare to encourage startups in the field to help boost digital healthcare solutions in the country. Technologies like machine-learning, nanotech, IoT, AI, robotics, 3D printing as just a few examples that have applications in the healthcare industry.

There are about 2,975 startups in India that focus on health-tech. Some of the popular ones are PharmEasy, CureFit, Practo, MedLife, CallHealth, etc. The primary focus of most startups is to improve access to healthcare facilities. This doesn’t come as a surprise because the ratio of medical professionals to patients is highly imbalanced in the country. In the allopathy sector, the doctor to patient ratio stands at 1:1596, while WHO recommends that the ratio should at least be 1:1400.

The health-tech startups in India belong to the broad categories of pharmacy, home healthcare, diagnostics, biotech, etc. Let’s take the pharmacy and home healthcare sectors as examples to understand the impact of the infusion of technology. According to a McKinsey report, Indians could save about $10 billion by 2025 through the use of telemedicine instead of doctor consultations that happen in-person.

The rise of health-care startups in India shows that we can soon see the use of genomics, biotech, and robotics in hospitals and clinics to increase the efficiency of health-related services. Artificial intelligence can be used to detect diseases with absolute accuracy while apps that monitor your vitals and movements can help increase the overall wellness of the country.

There are also some red flags that need to be kept in mind when we talk about what the growth of health-tech in India is signaling. With the focus on functionality, there is a risk of security and privacy being ignored. The digital transmission of personal health information can be dangerous. This is why the field of health-tech needs to be imbibed with greater responsibility. Also, how safe is technology in the health field without established protocols, quality-assurance and legislation?

The exponential growth of health-tech startups in India shows that Indians are in dire need of better healthcare and are accepting of it. Technology might finally be able to address the issues plaguing the Indian healthcare industry like quality, reach efficient capital utilization, scalability, affordability, etc. This also shows the massive potential for health-tech startups in India, who can as the bridge that connects needs and wants. – TOI

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