In the recent years, the healthcare sector has seen a shift in providing services from offline to online. Patients are increasingly expecting more every day, in terms of personal healthcare communication. Integrating mobile health apps/websites for medical practice, hospital or other facility lets patients know that they are cared for and making it easier for them to manage certain aspects of their appointments, results, purchase of medicines, monitoring health-related parameters and more.
Healthcare is one of the largest sectors in India, both in terms of employment generated and revenue earned. It is expected to be worth US$280 billion by 2020 and has been growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 16 percent since 2011. The healthcare workforce required in India is likely to double to 7.4 million by 2022 from 3.6 million in 2013.
The healthcare market in India is vast and disorganized, offering ample opportunities for innovative start-ups to establish a niche for themselves. However, currently, the availability of doctors and nurses in India is low. According to MCI, the doctor-patient ratio in India is 1:1674 against the World Health Organization (WHO) norm of 1:1000. Besides the lack of overall healthcare infrastructure, another major concern for India’s healthcare sector is low level of medically insured population and high out-of-pocket expenditure. Due to low insurance penetration, over 60 percent of the total medical costs are by and large paid by people from their own reserves.
Start-ups may target this identified challenge and come up with innovative models to help people get insured on a large scale. The success of start-ups in India has been due to their acceptance and support from all the sections of the society. From advising on government policies to acting as a market catalyst, they have defined the growth of young ventures. The Indian start-up ecosystem, hence, is expected to flourish having outgrown its immaturity and inexperience- driven by factors such as substantial funding, increased Merger and Acquisitions (M&A) and consolidation activities, evolving technology and a rapidly increasing domestic market.
However, to tap this opportunity successfully, challenges pertaining to logistics, payments, and infrastructure need to be tackled aptly. Start-ups in India may possibly become an integral part of the economy, only if people other than the urban population of the country derive benefits from them. Given the opportunities, the future of healthcare start-ups is expected to be positive.
Healthcare start-ups in India are characterized by low levels of funding. In fact, they received a sum of only US$27 million in the first four months of 2016. During the period 2009-2016, the sector received a cumulative investment of more than US$338 million. Start-ups with the potential to bridge the significant demand-supply gap in the Indian healthcare system were able to attract only a small fraction of the overall investments in the healthcare sector.
Online purchasing of healthcare products and medicines.
Provide primary healthcare services in sub-urban areas via mobile clinics and telehealth
Help users find a doctor and book an appointment.
Provide quick and easy access to doctors and hospital facilities via telephonic services
Include applications that enable users to prevent a disease from occurring such as COPD.
Include social media-based applications that connect potential blood donors and recipients
Connect all doctors on a platform to ensure smooth growth in R&D.
Help users track fitness, weight, and nutrition; provide insights about their lifestyle