Free Press Journal

How going digital has changed the Indian healthcare system


Digital transformation in Indian healthcare system is acquiring significant space due to easy accessibility, efficiency and affordability to tackle the treatment mayhem faced by patients, reports TAPAPRIYA LAHIRI

Digital healthcare market in India is showing phenomenal potential. Industry players have termed it as a ‘need of an hour’ rather than a fancy trend to deal with excruciating healthcare management system, that the country is facing in different hospitals or physicians’ chambers. For enabling efficient, convenient and seamless healthcare, the only way is to adopt digital platform through mobile, wearable and other devices, reducing the hassles of visiting a doctor, waiting and paying hefty consultation fees.

To balance the gap between the demand and supply of the healthcare system in India, some handful start-ups are showing tremendous efforts to make treatment and consultation accessible to all, despite social status. Jyotsna Pattabiraman CEO and Founder of Grow Fit—a newbie mobile health companion, says, “To combat the higher volume of patients and unaffordable medical expenses, healthcare start-ups are showing steady accessibility in urban, tier-II, tier-III and even in the remotest parts of the country.”

Armed with accessibility

Understanding the importance of adopting a localised approach, data-driven health strategies are providing tailored and concierge medical services in India. Care coordinators, consultation and telemedicine are tabled in one platform for patients to access in one go. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), India has the intent and potential to become a global leader in digital health, strengthening its ecosystem through digital tools. Saurabh Arora, Founder and CEO, Lybrate says, “We are facilitating the shift in Indian healthcare system, where patients can become more conversant about their queries. In the metropolis, even qualified doctors sometimes fail to clarify patients’ fear due to high volume of enrolment. And patients from rural areas or tier-III cities are extremely unaware about health information and treatments. The concept of digital health works best to make people understand the value of health by imparting medically authenticated health information from qualified doctors.”
Delhi-based Dr Shikha Sharma, who curated NutriHealth, a start-up of comprehensive health management in digital platform, says, “It’s not that people in India are too much tech-savvy, but they are bound to consult a proper doctor or nutritionist without burning a hole in their pocket.” She further adds, “In India, treatment of lifestyle and preventive healthcare is in rise and ‘home healthcare services’ is a most desired interactive and connected tool for nutritional counselling. I am surprised, to see the rate of acceptability, especially after people in the remote areas got access to the digital healthcare apps due to dearth of infrastructure and qualified counsellors or doctors.”

Overcoming infrastructural challenges
To set forth the healthcare analytics and algorithms, infrastructural uniformity is a key for unparalleled technological expansion. To reduce administrative burdens and paperwork, unwavering Internet connections are needed to be established to access healthcare apps and websites. Krishna Ulagaratchagan Co-Founder and CEO of Healthi, a digital preventive health start-up says, “It is a fundamental need to facilitate the Indian users for battling out an inconsistent quotient of doctors and patients across the country. In this age of technology and predictive analytics, surely there had to be a better way to empower people to seek personalised help for seamless time management, but with capable infrastructure.”

While speaking on tech-enabled healthcare services, Arora, says, “From consumers standpoint, telemedicine is the biggest proponent in the public healthcare scenario and we enable users to consult doctors online, get suggested lab tests done without any hassles of stepping out and continue consultation upon automatic sharing of reports with healthcare experts, without breaking the loop.”

To ease the accessibility of competent doctors yet unrecognised, Pattabiraman, states, “Looping qualified doctors and nutritional practitioners from the tier-II and tier-III cities in the digitally integrated healthcare network acts as a biggest platform to showcase their talents. Similarly, growing upwardly mobile class of these cities has equal desire to stay fit to avoid chronic diseases. Hereby, getting cured through digital consultations, we need to make robust network with unfailing infrastructural hiccups.”

Enabled Users
For better time management, the usage of digital healthcare is flourishing in India. To avoid serpentine queues and exorbitant consultation charges, the new age and enabled users are shifting their choice towards staying fit with digital support. Pooja Tiwari, a content professional from Delhi, says, “In our fast-paced life, it is difficult to wait for several hours to see a practitioner and pay exorbitant fees. To get a comprehensive solution, I seek healthcare apps to consult physicians to set free my healthcare worries.”

Similarly, people from Kolkata are also showing interest in digital healthcare apps for medical and nutritional fitness. Biswarup Ray, a management professional from Kolkata says, “After visiting a hospital, we need to run from one wing to another for different consultations, tests and reports. But, Indian healthcare start-ups are offering hassle-free access with an integrated tech-enabled approach. To avoid chronic diseases in future, digital consultations are aiding to an extent.”