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An “open market model” will emerge where patients can access any provider through any platform: Gaurav Gupta

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Gaurav Gupta, Co-founder, Navia Life Care

2020 is the year of the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the business ecosystem across the country. Due to the lockdown, companies have been pushed towards digitisation in order to sustain their business. And this accelerated digitisation has seen increased adoption in the Indian healthcare sector, which is fighting the pandemic from the frontlines.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a rapid increase in the adoption of digital platforms among doctors and patients. This, in turn, has benefited a wide range of health tech startups in the country – case in point: within the first few weeks after the lockdown, Google search for teleconsultation surged and huge number of doctors reached out to Navia and other tech companies for telemedicine. This resulted in the launch of teleconsultation solutions by many health tech companies. This in turn drove a rapid uptake amongst prescribers and a rapid expansion of patient and e-consultation volumes.

Structurally, it has been a big boost for digital healthcare in general, and a lot of behavioural change in health tech. That is unlikely to change in the near term.

With the announcement of NDHM, we are now seeing a fundamental change in the way the government can leverage technology for public care delivery and enable private sector innovation. The health ODE (Open Digital Health ecosystem) being implemented by NDHM will change the dynamics of market plays substantially. This will lead to the creation of a shared public digital infrastructure that can be leveraged by both public and private players to deploy new solutions that enhance the end-user experience. Just like the creation of shared digital infrastructure in the financial industry enabling UPI payments, NDHM in the next few years will catalyse a robust digital infrastructure for the Indian healthcare ecosystem.

It is estimated that over the next decade, NDHM can potentially unlock an incremental value of over Rs 1.5 lakh crore for the healthcare industry.The creation of this shared public digital infrastructure will give rise to patient-centric solutions driving accessible, affordable, and quality care for all citizens. It will realign incentives across stakeholders creating value accretive opportunities while at the same time provide improved and inclusive health services.

Individual players will have to re-invent their business model and upgrade to the NDHM standards to capture higher value. An “open market model” will emerge where patients can access any provider through any platform. Health tech companies stand to gain the most and the NDHM will drive market expansion and consumerism in the industry. As a result, they will benefit from scale effects and lower customer acquisition costs.

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