Rise of healthcare apps making it simpler for the patients to seek care in India
Gone are the days when a doctor said he or she was a call away. One can now just click or swipe to access specialised medical attention.
The healthcare sector is undergoing a revolutionary transformation where medical solutions are being made available to patients just anywhere and in real time on their phones.
A flood of healthcare mobile phone applications, or apps, have made it simpler for the patients to seek care.
Avinash Kapoor, an executive with a multinational company, was holidaying in the hills when he suddenly had a bout of anxiety. What made it worse for Avinash was that he was completely isolated in a godforsaken place with no health centre nearby. He picked up his mobile phone and a specialist was available to guide him out of the situation.
Technology is changing the dynamics of the healthcare industry which is growing at a rapid pace of 17 percent per year to expand to $160 billion by 2017.
Health mobile applications have become a key tool of taking the care to the hands of people.
"Patients get benefitted in many ways. Firstly, there is no uncertainty. As we are open 24/7, patients can get our service promptly, professionally and pre-emptively," said Vipin Pathak, co-founder of Care 24, a new age health care service provider.
"The healthcare industry must keep pace with modern technology. Healthcare services need a technology integration to bring accountability and efficiency in the system," Pathak told IANS.
The healthcare apps are spreading like a rage. Not only patients but doctors are benefiting as well from this technological transformation.
Starting barely a year ago, the New Delhi-based Buzz4Health, a smart platform for doctors, has closed over 150,000 downloads. It has doctors from over 10 countries from South East Asia and the Middle East.
"We believe the next five years will be pivotal in promoting and facilitating evidence based medicine through technology. More custom and patient specific modalities will become a norm and this will be possible only through collaborative medicine and more open forms of peer to peer communication for healthcare professionals," said, Hitesh Ganjoo, CEO and founder of Buzz4health.
By 2020, the Indian healthcare market is estimated to grow to over $280 billion and the startups are ready to make their own contributions.
And more is the buzzword. "We need a more skilled workforce of doctors, nurses, lab technicians, more investments, more expansion in rural areas and we need to bring down disease burden," said Zoya Brar, founder and MD of Core Diagnostics.
She said that Core itself is planning to raise $10 million focusing on advanced testing techniques.
Most of the healthcare industry entrepreneurs said that the health budget of the union government has gone up and the sector is growing rapidly and offers huge potential.
According to Vivek Srivastava, CEO of Health Care At Home, they have so far catered to 300,000 patients across India. They began their services in 2012.
He said people approach them because they provide cost effective with excellent clinical outcomes, personalised care by competent professionals guided by customised care plan prescribed by one's doctor.
Shipra Dawar, founder of ePsyclinic.com, said their "journey has been great. From one patient a day to 200 patients a day, we have grown tremendously in a short span."
"Technology is solving the huge accessibility gap. At the click of the fingers, through the mobile app and web-based video and text chat sessions, people get in touch with ePsyClinicians," she said.
She said they plan to take their services to "the smallest of town in India so that anybody who needs mental health and emotional health support finds it from them."