Nilay Mehrotra, Founder, Janani highlights the role of technology in diagnostic sector in India
Evolution is the key to long-term sustenance and growth in all sectors, and the medical diagnostic industry is no different. It has witnessed rapid advancements in the past decade and, as per a report of Edelweiss, is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10% by 2025. A major chunk of the industry’s robust growth can be attributed to the infusion and development of technology in the sector.
Any industry at a growing stage holds technology and innovation at its core. Technology has worked to make the diagnostic processes smooth, efficient, and economic and has thus contributed toward aiding in the revolution and boosting the revenue of the industry. According to a report by IBEF and the Ministry of External Affairs, the healthcare industry of India is expected to be valued at about $372 billion by 2022 and the diagnostic sector is projected to reach $32 billion by the end of 2022. Suffice it to say, the diagnostic industry has come a long way and is still on a high growth trajectory.
Technology has transformed the diagnostic sector in many ways. Some of them are:
Technology in the field of diagnostics
In recent times we have witnessed an inclusion of tech and automation in a majority, if not all, of the world’s industries. Artificial Intelligence now serves as a critical part of the work process in all global businesses. The field of healthcare has been impacted significantly by this technological shift. Online websites and applications providing healthcare advice and services are not uncommon. Even the Government of India relied on online mediums such as the Aarogya Setu app as means to combat the lack of awareness and extend care during the Covid-19 pandemic.
We have also seen a steep rise in the number of virtual healthcare and diagnostic websites and diagnostic tests. Many labs have started providing quick test results online, which have added to the efficiency of the health care processes and the satisfaction of customers.
Why innovation in healthcare and diagnostics is the need of the hour
COVID-19 rattled the world when it first surged in early 2020. Even though the pandemic is now somewhat under control, one cannot deny that the healthcare departments were not initially well equipped to combat a problem of this magnitude. Many suffered more than necessary, and some even lost their lives due to late or inaccurate diagnoses.
This has served as a reminder of the need to innovate and move forward in the field of diagnostics as it can have a drastic influence on the kind of care we receive. Advancements are required to enhance the efficiency and precision of tests so timely healthcare can be provided.
It is true that COVID is the topmost priority of healthcare departments in today’s context. However, apart from the pandemic, one major area of healthcare where diagnostics seek more upheaval is reproductive healthcare and sexual wellness.
Even though the world has come far in terms of accessibility and affordability of most areas of healthcare, certain areas, like sexual and reproductive wellness and care, are admittedly still lagging far behind. The slow development of these fields can majorly be attributed to the social taboo surrounding the topic. Most developing countries, especially India, have a conservative outlook and thus shy away from topics of sexual and reproductive well being. This stigma of the society spells into a mighty lack of information, misinformation and even ignorance by the majority of the masses when it comes to these fields.
This ignorance and apathy is also evident in the availability of services in the sector across the country. The number of diagnostics labs for sexual and reproductive issues is miserably low. Even the awareness required to realize the need for diagnosis is meagre and mostly concentrated in well-developed, urban areas. This sector of healthcare is in ardent need of a revolution, both in terms of knowledge and awareness of the patients as well as in the availability and accessibility of solutions.
The way to improve in this field is by providing as much privacy and ease as possible to the patients in the diagnostics and treatment processes. DIY and user-friendly diagnostic tools are a pressing need of the day where people prefer privacy and efficiency while conducting diagnoses. One such example of tools that patients can use to conduct tests by themselves is pregnancy kits that are available in compact, easy-to-use packs and are a popular choice of diagnostics amongst the masses.
Semen analysis: A revolutionary introduction in reproductive diagnosis
Semen analysis is a revolutionary process that seeks to assess male fertility. The analysis evaluates the volume and quality of a man’s sperms which can help provide insight into the fertility complications being suffered by individuals. Several factors such as the motility, morphology and count of the sperms are tested to figure out which area is posing as a problem in conception. Treatment is then carried out based on the results.
Another use of the test is that it can also be used to evaluate the success of vasectomy. Post the process of vasectomy, the semen is tested to ensure that no sperm is present in it. This helps analyse whether the operation was successful or requires further modifications.
The discovery of semen analysis has thus been a very relevant and needed one. Several industry experts and leaders have been working relentlessly to make the analysis process smooth and easy for the patients. In an attempt in the same direction, a leading name in the sexual and reproductive health and wellness industry has recently launched Asia’s first at-home semen collection kit. This move can prove to be transformational in making the diagnosis of male infertility issues safe, feasible, and accessible.
The introduction of semen analysis and the launch of such viable options like at-home collection kits are indeed revolutionary steps in the field of reproductive evolution. Steps like these work to bridge the gap prevalent in the required and available healthcare services in the field of reproductive healthcare. It also contributes to overcoming social taboos that restrict the scope of betterment and improvement of available healthcare.
There is no cure without a proper and timely diagnosis, and thus, the diagnostic industry is one of the most critical parts of the healthcare industry. However, even though the industry is important, it is often overlooked. The awareness, variety, and quality in terms of reproductive and sexual health and well-being are still lagging in India. To ensure proper and timely diagnosis, the industry needs to be technologically revolutionized. Thus, innovation is truly the need of the hour.