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How digitisation is driving change in the Indian healthcare industry

Shrugging off the disruptions of the year gone by, businesses and agencies are looking for a strong revival in 2021. Over the next few weeks, Adgully – as part of our annual TRENDING NOW endeavour – will be presenting the strategies and views of a cross-section of industry leaders as they go about reclaiming lost time and market opportunities and build for a stronger future, armed with the lessons of 2020. 

Shyatto Raha, Founder and CEO, MyHealthcare, sheds light on the digital innovations in the healthcare sector and how the pandemic broke the tradition, where physical OPDs were the only channel. He also speaks about how digitisation and penetration of mobile Internet will continue to be the drivers of change for the Indian healthcare industry. 

Outlook for 2021

Digital technological innovation, taking advantage of the mobile Internet penetration have been key drivers of consumer behavioural change. Both private and public sectors have seen upward trends through such digital innovations; however, two sectors have been the focus of most attention – Education and Healthcare. There have been game changer effects across both these sectors – healthcare has seen the evolution of telemedicine, while the education sector has witnessed evolution in the use of digital platforms as tools for primary education such as classroom teaching and examinations being held online.

I feel that 2021 will witness upward trends, with hospitals and healthcare organisations focusing on the use of digital platforms in enhancing patient-care delivery, remote care monitoring and managing patient care continuum.

The pandemic broke the tradition of primary care delivery, where physical OPDs were the only channel. Virtual consultations have now become a channel of care delivery for both primary and secondary care for all hospitals. The Government, too, launched its virtual consultation platform – e-Sanjeevani – for expanding the reach of primary healthcare.

The year 2021 will see further growth of telemedicine, going beyond doctor consults to include remote patient monitoring, home healthcare, e-pharmacy, e-diagnostics, tele-ICU services and such.

This year we will see newer options for patients and providers in terms of preventive care and better healthcare access. Patients will take centerstage for a more personalised healthcare experience and with technology, healthcare service providers will be able to deliver customised healthcare at scale at a reasonable cost. This will further enable a transition towards proactive health management in the entire healthcare continuum as opposed to the previous reactive and transactional approach.

Great expectations

Digitisation and penetration of mobile Internet will continue to be the drivers of change for the Indian healthcare industry. Digital health solutions will help enhance access to healthcare services for patients. The significant benefit will be the opportunity of healthcare ecosystems, which will serve all health needs for a customer – be it consult, pharmacy delivery, diagnostics at home, home healthcare and remote patient monitoring.

With 2,975 start-ups and an estimated 4,800 health tech companies, 2021 and the next 3 years will see cutting edge technology in medicine and healthcare delivery in India and globally.

Moreover, online registrations for vaccines, virtual doctor consultations, telemedicine, AI for better diagnosis, etc., are all expected to harness patient metrics, technology and fully integrate into our existing systems.

In my view, the key segments where 2021 will bring in new opportunities are development of tools to facilitate emergency care and improve medical infrastructure through technology-based optimisation. 

Key learnings from 2020

For us at MyHealthcare, the year 2020 was a pivotal moment, as we shifted our platform focus to telemedicine and building an ecosystem of care centered around virtual consultations. This helped our patients access healthcare with ease and use our services and reach out to doctors for video consultations, seek pharmacy delivery at home and use our MyHealthcare@Home for homecare monitoring during the pandemic.

We were also quick to adapt to the constantly changing needs of doctors, nurses and patients – which helped increase adoption of the ecosystem.

Another key learning for us was empathy – the healthcare sector unfortunately witnesses emotions and anxiety as the very foundation of a patient’s mindset when seeking care. While physical meetings with doctors help calm patients and their families, trying to manage this over virtual consultations was quite a challenge. Our patient support team worked like frontline workers in managing patients before their doctor consultation and also with their follow-up care. This required us to ensure that our platform technology and our operating processes had patient empathy at the very centre of it all.

2020 has been a tough year for everyone globally, but it has helped us in understanding patients and their healthcare needs much better. It has also helped us push technological innovations for better diagnosis and treatment.

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