From artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions to bio-markers, urban health initiatives, and health accessibility, YourStory’s Health 360 summit delved deep into smart trends defining healthcare in India.
The summit brought together leaders, policymakers, entrepreneurs, and healthtech enthusiasts from India’s healthcare industry, including Aparna Sathianathan (Co-founder at CoronaSafe Network), Dr Taslimarif Saiyed (Director and CEO at C-CAMP), Prateek Verma (Vice President at Tata 1mg), Sandeep Gudibanda (Co-founder & CEO at HealthPlix), and Saurabh Arora (Co-founder at Plum).
India, one of the most populous countries, has the most private healthcare on a global scale. Prioritising impactful innovation in healthcare could result in more convenient, effective, and less expensive treatments for today’s complex environments.
“Comprehensive healthcare is very important,” said Dr Taslimarif, Director and CEO at C-CAMP. “We have just realised how important it has been in the last couple of years during the pandemic.”
“The geographies and companies, which invest and look at core technology and innovation as their driving engine, have much better returns in a long run,” he added.
Dr Taslimarif elaborated, “Investing in science and technology, believing in bold ideas, believing in people who have the ability to do that is very important. Turnaway from the assured success model, because the sure shot success model is always incremental. Exponential success is something that is bold, which may or may not work. The countries which have become leaders, if you see clearly, the returns have come from those ideas.”
The Indian healthcare infrastructure has come a long way and there is still a longer way to go in terms of progress. However, some things have changed in the last few years.
“The rate of technological change is influencing every industry and healthcare is no exception to that. During the last two years of COVID, the world learned to adapt quickly, ushering in the rise of telehealth services, medical apps, and platforms, and these tools allowed doctors to fulfil their duties of saving lives,” Prateek, Vice President at Tata 1mg, said.
Aparna, who is the co-founder of CoronaSafe Network, strives to strengthen the public health system in India for a better tomorrow.
“The shift in mindset that we see today, especially when it comes to acceptance of digital technology in the healthcare space, happened as a result of COVID,” Aparna said. “The trend of preventive healthcare, along with IoT device integration, will have a huge impact on how healthcare is viewed,” she added.
HealthPlix Co-founder and CEO Sandeep agreed and said, “To me, the biggest change is acceptance. All stakeholders, doctors, patients, government, pharmaceuticals, and medical device firms wanted to move to digital. They have all accepted that.”
While digitisation continues to gain momentum, there are concerns about digital inclusivity.
“Digital inclusivity is very important. It is a great concern, especially when you talk about the population in remote and far-flung regions. I hope that people put more of their effort into solving that,” Aparna explained.
In addition to innovatively driving inclusion, providing access to health insurance is a critical aspect of the healthcare system. The pandemic has made healthcare and health insurance all the more important. And things have changed in the health insurance space post-pandemic.
Saurabh Arora, who is the co-founder of Plum, an insurtech startup, said, post-COVID, standardisation of insurance policies has happened and there is also ease of access when it comes to policy purchase and claims. “Pandemic era has forced us to digitise and hence improved the customer experience as well,” he added.
The country’s tier two and three cities were badly impacted during the pandemic. So, for a nation like India, which is so vast and diverse, it is important to make insurance more inclusive.
According to Saurabh, the way to bring a lot more people under the insurance cover can be done by creating a lot more affordable and accessible plans. “We also have to cater to inclusivity for all the genders that we encompass as a population and think about having gender transformation surgeries as part of the insurance policies,” he shared. Making policies a lot more women-friendly and policies for young parents to have IVF as part of the cover are a few more areas to improve the inclusivity and access to insurance in the population, he added.
“Insuretech firms are reimagining how health insurance of tomorrow could look like. The idea of the insurance is not just to provide you financial protection when you walk into a hospital, but to take care of your holistic health, so you don’t fall sick at all,” Saurabh explained.