The rapid spread of COVID-19 in India highlights the critical importance of public health. There has been a burning need to strengthen the public health services to serve the people of India beyond the pandemic by offering them immediate access to health solutions.
As India is one of the second fastest users of digital services, accounting for around half a billion internet users, there is huge scope to unleash an additional economic value of $ 1 trillion through inclusive growth.
In addition, with the proper use of digital for the Indian healthcare sector, the issues of access and affordability are being tackled. The accelerating need for medical care is steering the country in the right direction in the midst of a medical technology revolution.
The digital healthcare market in India stood at $ 116.61 billion in 2018 and is expected to increase with a CAGR of 27.41 percent to $ 485.43 billion in 2024, according to the report ‘Digital Healthcare Market in India 2019’.
The underlying challenges
But despite the positive sides, the country still faces the acute problem of an unequal health system, where the wealthy have access to the best care, while the poor are limited to limited opportunities.
It can be addressed by improving hospital and clinic infrastructure, bringing in telecommunications healthcare facilities, channeling resources in the most disadvantaged areas, building awareness about chronic diseases and prioritizing early diagnosis.
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The second challenge is the lack of uniformity in record keeping. In most cases, local health facilities or hospitals may not uniformly document all records for services, especially in rural areas.
This results in repeated diagnostic tests and consultations, delayed treatments, concealment or ignorance of medical history, etc. This can lead to a misdiagnosis and further increase treatment costs.
Even in hospitals where digital records are kept, there is no possibility of electronic transfer of patient records from one service provider to another. The lack of access leads to the patient either physically carrying the records or not having access to them.
Digitization to bridge the health gap
Through the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM), announced in 2020, the government is striving to create a digital health ecosystem by leveraging the existing digital infrastructure (including frameworks related to Aadhar and UPI) and the pan-Indian coverage of Internet-enabled smartphones. The second goal is to ensure fair delivery of real-time healthcare in India.
Healthtech has a crucial role to play in tackling the problem of an unequal health system, thereby bridging the gaps in India’s health ecosystem, particularly preventive health care and disease management.
This is evident as the vertical has recently witnessed exponential growth, which has prompted trends such as online patient consultation, e-pharmacies, telemedicine, integrated digital insurance memberships, etc. Investors are accelerate their funding in this sector due to the pandemic.
Democratization of health solutions
But hourly needs are affordable real-time healthcare solutions that include OPD, IPD and wellness, facilitating instant access for different classes of the population.
We’ve tried that democratize the affordable health experience for SMEs, MSMEs, startups and growing companies and their workforce across India by provide them with monthly, comprehensive occupational health care, including group health insurance, reduced telemedicine, teleconsultation, etc.
Several organizations should offer inclusive insurance to reach the unattended, under-served and low-income households. This will ensure a deeper penetration of health insurance for grassroots families.
What also works are innovative health solutions in the form of bags preventive care such as doctor telephone consultations, affordable health checks, reduced medication, group medical coverage and accidental coverage and hospitalization support in connection with case processing and reimbursement. Similarly, more startups should work on innovative, inclusive initiatives to improve India’s health.
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The insurance industry, which has always been under the dark cloud of mistrust due to widespread mis-sales, is now experiencing disruption and innovation with Insurtech startups driving the transformation by leveraging the technology.
Therefore, there is a burning need for them to provide quality service that they have promised to rebuild trust with their customers. However, much work needs to be done to change long-term consumer perceptions. But it is not impossible.
Digitization thus has the potential to bridge the huge gap in healthcare and improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of healthcare by penetrating the grassroots. This can lead to public-private partnerships, the birth of native start-ups, groundbreaking ideas and thus more skewed investments in India’s healthcare and healthcare technology sector.
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The post Why India Should Improve Access to Instant Health Solutions first appeared on e27.