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Indian healthcare: Trends & growth drivers

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Jatin Mahajan, Managing Director, J Mitra & Co shares his views on trends & growth drivers in healthcare sectcor in 2022

The booming Indian healthcare industry is growing at a CAGR of ˜23 per cent. Healthcare is India’s largest service sector, providing quality healthcare for the 1.3 billion-plus population. Indian Healthcare Industry will touch USD 372 bn (roughly INR 27,90,000 crore) by 2022.

We have witnessed numerous pathbreaking trends in the last decade. The merger of engineering and medicine is the most significant trend driving disruption and growth of the healthcare industry. Other key trends have been

  • Consumer devices, wearables, and apps: Wearable devices continuously monitor patients’ critical parameters. Wearables include embedded medical devices (into patients’ bodies) and other devices worn on a person’s body. These devices provide healthcare workers real-time information on patient data while they remain at home.
  • Robotic surgery is a relatively new procedure for minimally invasive surgery. However, robotic-assisted surgery has become the standard treatment for prostate and is fast pervading other organs and diseases.
  • 3D printing technology reduces the cost of manufacturing prototypes, prosthetics, tissue & skin, and even pharmaceuticals.
  • LASIK : Laser technology advancements have made eye surgeries easy for physicians and affordable for patients, eliminating reliance on eyeglasses. This elective procedure is efficient and safe and allows surgeons to cater to a larger audience.
  • AI (Artificial Intelligence) & ML (Machine Learning): AI can manage patient admissions, scheduling, and billing. AI can analyse and decode complex data, provide exceptionally potent data for efficient & precise diagnostics. As a result, AI will probably broaden and bring down healthcare costs and let doctors and staff focus on patient care.
  • IoT (Internet of Things): IoT has transformed the healthcare industry by connecting devices, systems, and objects the global population uses. These are utilised to leverage data and enable more timely, specific, and contextualised decisions.
  • Blockchain: As a database technology, Blockchain uses encryption and various other security procedures to store data, linking it to augmented security and usability. This innovation facilitates many facets of healthcare, including patient records, supply & distribution, and research.
  • Voice-controlled assistants: Speech recognition systems include components designed to optimise patient care or reduce clinician workloads in healthcare settings. Voice recognition is used for data management, clinical documentation, and streamlining daily workflows.
  • Remote care: Relying on the IoT’s convenience in transferring data between devices, remote care offers comfort with quality. Remote patient monitoring and telehealth are possible through video conferencing, big data, and wearable technology. As a result, physicians can monitor and diagnose patients miles away.
  • Telemedicine: COVID-19 has undoubtedly accelerated the delivery of telemedicine, and experts affirm that telemedicine is here to stay. Many patients prefer it.

Many technologies are in their early stages. However, the healthcare industry recognises these benefits and will capitalise on the technologies above.

Various reports by NITI Aayog, Invest India, and IBEF point towards a robust growth for the industry, especially in the post-pandemic scenario. So, what are the key growth drivers?

The key driver catalysing the growth and development of the healthcare industry is technological innovations. Technology is the most significant catalyst of many disruptive innovations in healthcare and supports every facet of healthcare.

Policy: The Indian Government has increased its healthcare allocation from 1.2 per cent to 1.8 per cent of the GDP. There is a growing implementation of public-private partnership models in India’s healthcare sector. NITI Aayog and Invest India are aggressively driving investment for the Indian healthcare industry.

Diagnostics: India is among the leading exporters of IVD solutions worldwide. The Indian in-vitro diagnostics market is likely to reach USD 2 billion in 2026, from USD 1.3 billion currently.

Medtech: India is the international center for frugal medical devices engineering. The Indian medical devices market stood at INR 77,539 crore in 2020 and is likely to grow at 35 per cent CAGR from 2020 to 2025 (IBEF report), fuelled by the “Make in India” campaign.

Health insurance: Health insurance accounts for 20 per cent of the non-life insurance business. It is the 2nd most extensive portfolio, with premium income growing over 16 per cent.

Hospital infrastructure: The hospital industry accounts for 80 per cent of the Indian healthcare market. It will reach USD 132 bn by 2023 from USD 61.8 bn in 2017, growing at 16-17 per cent CAGR. Numerous hospital projects by renowned organisations like Apollo Hospitals, Columbia Asia, Manipal Hospitals, Max Healthcare, Medanta, Cloud Nine Hospitals, Park Group, and Narayana Health are coming up in tier-2 and tier-3 cities.

Internationally, China has lost much trust as a global supplier of reliable healthcare products. There is a resultant shift towards India as the most viable alternative. As the producer of two global Covid vaccines, India has gained much trust, which is a critical influencing factor.

The coming years will herald a boom for the Indian healthcare industry. This will catalyse a win-win situation, including healthcare providers and healthcare-seekers.

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