Digital HealthTech Industry & Trends 2021

Covid-19 pandemic is proving to be a catalyst for transformational changes in businesses, economies and trade across the globe. The pandemic has underscored the importance of sectors such as Healthcare, Information Technology and Ecommerce. Particularly Covid-19 has boosted new-age technology-driven businesses across sectors as lockdowns and restrictions forced remote operations and large-scale dependence on technology

The pandemic has put Healthcare at the forefront of human existence as never seen before. Within the Healthcare universe, Healthcare Technologies “Healthtech” ecosystem has been in the spotlight with rapid adoption of technology and digital healthcare. Due to physical restrictions and safety concerns owing to the pandemic, there has been an increased adoption towards tele-consultation, homecare services, e-pharmacy, online fitness and digital personal health management which has catapulted the Indian HealthTech sector on a high growth path. The consumer adoption that Healthtech has been able to achieve in 2020 would have taken at least 4-5 years in a non Covid scenario.

According to a research done by The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) – Praxis Global Alliance, the size of the Indian HealthTech Industry as of 2020 was estimated at USD 1.9 billion. The Healthtech Industry accounts for less than 1% of the overall Healthcare industry in India implying a huge market opportunity for Healthtech

India has more than 5,000 Healthtech startups and the Healthtech market, according to IAMAI-Praxis Global Alliance, is expected to grow at a CAGR of 39% to touch USD 5.0 billion by 2023

HealthTech Market Segments

Telemedicine [Online doctor consultation, online doctor appointment & more]

Telemedicine consultation can be segmented as

  • Mode of consultation – Video, Audio, Text Based
  • Timing of consultation – Real-Time, Asynchronous
  • Purpose of consultation – First consult, Follow-up consult, Emergency consult
  • Person to whom advice is provided – RMP to patient, RMP to caregiver, RMP to RMP, RMP to Healthworker

E-Pharmacy (Online sale of medicines and pharmaceutical products)

Some of the types of Online Pharmacy Business Models are:

Centralized Model

  • E-pharmacies such as 1mg, NetMeds, mostly operate on a centralized business model wherein they are primarily a “Platform Provider” creating an online marketplace for pharmacists and distributors

Decentralized Model

  • Technology companies such as EMedStore operate on a decentralized business model wherein they provide app and software development services, app platforms and technology consultancy services to pharmacists, distributors and pharma companies

Some of the types of Online Pharmacies are:

Digital-only Stores

  • No physical store – This type of e-pharmacy does not have any physical pharmacy store for a customer to visit
  • Home delivery only – They do not provide a pick-up facility to customers

Digital Twin of Brick and Mortar Pharmacy

  • Leveraging physical presence – This type of e-pharmacy serves as an extension of a brick-and-mortar store. It is also termed as “Digital Twin” of their offline store
  • The powerful combination of online & offline presence allows them to expand their reach. Customers have the ability to pick-up from the store and to order medicines home.

Healthcare IT and Analytics

Due to the advent of cloud computing, new-age technologies and advancement in telecommunication, there has been a transformational change in how data is collected, stored, maintained, managed, analyzed, encrypted and visualized. The Cloud-based technology-led healthcare ecosystem is helping to improve disease prevention and increase the accuracy of diagnoses, provide safe medications, and more effective treatments. It helps in giving a personalized and patient-centric approach to medicine instead of ‘one size fits all’

Potential of Healthcare IT & Analytics for different stakeholders are:

  • Healthcare Practitioners – They want data analytics which can help in accurately diagnose diseases, decision making, personalizing the treatment, monitoring health, remote consultation and preventive healthcare
  • Government – Unified patient data can help identify patterns and analyze trends at regional, national or disease-specific levels in a population to further develop health policies
  • Healthcare Organizations – Healthcare analytics can help in mapping patients’ health history and enable best possible healthcare processes and outcomes
  • Pharmaceutical Companies – The advantages of healthcare IT & analytics can be leveraged in drug discoveries, clinical trials, market assessment and intelligence, marketing, stakeholder outreach and sales
  • Patients – Data activation will help in preventive healthcare and can encourage more active participation by patients in the healthcare process.

Fitness and Wellness

There has been an increase in the number of fitness and nutrition startups in India such as HealthKart, Cure.fit, Fitternity, GOQii, HealthifyMe, alongside mental health and wellness startups such as InnerHour & Yourdost

As per FICCI, the country’s wellness industry is valued at INR 490 Bn. Only 4% of this market comprise organized gym chains and digital fitness startups

Outdoor Gyms and Fitness Classes

  • After the first phase of lockdowns, gyms were reopened with the creation of more space by moving some fitness equipment to open areas to mitigate the concerns of virus spread. 
  • Going forward also, outdoor gyms and fitness classes are likely to stay due to other benefits

Growth of Nutraceutical Industry in India

  • Nutraceuticals refer to products that are prepared from herbal ingredients, minerals, vitamins and dietary substances which are consumed for their physiological benefits or to boost immunity. 
  • The nutraceuticals market in India is expected to grow from USD 4 Bn in 2017 to USD 18 Bn in 2025 

Online Group Fitness Training

  • Increasingly people are preferring online group fitness classes including crossfit, zumba, aerobics, etc 
  • The pandemic has hastened the adoption of online fitness training, a trend which is likely to grow further

Personal Health Management

There has been an increase in personal health management solutions across Health advisory content aggregators, Personal health tracking apps and wearables solutions such as Ten3T Healthcare, Hug Innovations as well as Monitoring sensors solution providers such as Statis Health, BeatO App, Acculi Labs and the likes

M&A deals in Healthtech Industry

Some of the key M&A deal from 2019-2020:

Startup Segment Acquisition Year Acquirer
Healthcare IT and Analytics March 2019
E-Pharmacy May 2019
Healthcare IT and Analytics August 2019
Fitness & Wellness May 2020
Telemedicine June 2020
Telemedicine June 2020
E-Pharmacy August 2020
E-Pharmacy August 2020

Future of HealthTech Sector

Some of the emerging technologies and trends:

Cloud Infrastructure in Healthcare Record Maintenance

  • Increased focus on digitalisation of patient healthcare records is likely to accelerate further.
  • Cloud Infrastructure and mobilisation of data to cloud are crucial factors in achieving digitalisation by establishing a common public database for patient healthcare records which will facilitate opportunities for related healthcare products and services

Wider Application of Robotics

  • Application of Robotics is growing rapidly in healthcare and medical industry and going forward wider application of ‘humanless’ systems and technology is expected especially in surgery, prosthetics, therapeutics, healthcare logistics, pharma manufacturing, etc. Robotics provides numerous benefits such as precision, sophistication, minimally invasive surgery etc
  • Innovation and technological advancement and cost efficiency are likely to drive further use of Robotics

3D Bioprinting Applications

  • Though 3D bioprinting is at a very nascent stage in India, increased adoption of 3D bioprinting will provide opportunities for existing healthtech startups and new entrepreneurs. 3D Bioprinting finds its application in drug testing, living human tissue production, medical research and development.

The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)

  • The Internet of Things in conjunction with Telemedicine has created a new Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) which has come to play a critical role in monitoring and preventing illnesses
  • IoMT is an internet-connected ecosystem of medical devices and equipment, data applications, health IT systems and healthcare services. Its applications in wearables such as ECG, blood pressure and blood sugar monitors connected with smartphones and online patient data records are likely to have a transformational impact on preventive healthcare

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

  • Healthtech Startups are betting big on AI and Machine Learning for their immense potential in Clinical Data Analytics, Neurology, Radiology, Diagnostic Analytics etc. AI is increasingly becoming a transformational force bringing intelligence to medical equipment and devices having far-reaching implications on human-machine interaction
  • AI-driven analytics, tools and machines can help healthcare providers find the right approach for each patient with more efficient, precise and impactful intervention.

Nanomedicine: Application of Nanotechnology

  • Nanomedicine, similar to Robotics, is one of the emerging areas in healthcare having tremendous potential
  • Nanomedicine is the application of nanotechnology in medicine for diagnosis, control, treatment, monitoring and prevention of diseases using engineered nanodevices and nanostructures
  • Applications of nanotechnologies in disease diagnosis, drug delivery targeted at specific sites in the body and molecular imaging are being investigated and various products are undergoing clinical trials

Changing consumer needs and preferences

  • As consumers have become more tech savvy with increased usage of internet and smartphones, healthcare has also evolved in order to cater to ever-changing consumer needs and preferences
  • Healthtech is transforming the way healthcare is supporting patients in their day-to-day lives encompassing social determinants of health such as inequalities, income disparity, varying education levels, place of residence, transportation system, accessibility to resources and healthcare facilities, etc.

Emergence of Paratelemedicine

  • The success of telemedicine in connecting patients with doctors has led to a possibility for hospitals to connect paramedics with specialist doctors for ensuring faster healthcare delivery
  • Through telemedicine, paramedics will be able to consult doctors remotely and take timely actions to save lives and ensure appropriate treatment

Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality

  • Use of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality in Telemedicine can greatly improve the quality of healthcare services to patients. It can also be used in teaching medical students through simulated interventional procedures
  • Research and studies have shown the possibility of wider applications of these technologies across various streams and workflows

Increasing Use of Wearables Devices

  • Wearable devices help in getting real time patient data which plays a critical role in preventive healthcare
  • Use of wearables paired with Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) platforms and tools can transform Digital Healthcare

Blockchain

  • Blockchain is another technology that has the promise to greatly enhance the healthcare industry. For example, patients can get their transaction and medical records in a secured manner through the use of Digital ledgers
  • Apart from technologies like IoMT and cloud computing, Blockchain can further help to improve accessibility, security and portability of healthcare solutions

 

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