Peeking Into the Healthtech Startup Ecosystem in India

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” ‍- Charles Darwin

We all know Darwin was wise. The healthtech startups in India have followed his wisdom and rode upon the winds of change, infusing technological brilliance in the healthcare sector. How does India fare?

The use of technologies like AI, genomics, biotech, robotics, nanotech, machine-learning, etc. are making waves in the country. Whether it is for an online pharmacy, personal health management, diagnostics, telemedicine, home healthcare, fitness, or anything else, technology is bringing out the ‘pink (of health)’ hues.

The healthtech startup ecosystem is expected to generate 40 million jobs by 2030.  According to Traxcn, in 2018, India’s investments in health tech touched $571 million! 

These investments have given impetus to change and given birth to changemakers in the form of startups and their exciting innovations. Here are some.

Exciting Innovations in Indian Health Tech That Pave the Way For the Future

1. Genome Sequencing

The battle to prevent cancer and other rare genetic diseases.

 In India, genomes are being mapped, so; eventually, they can help prevent deadly diseases. Strand Life Sciences and MedGenome, for example, are conducting genome sequencing projects. Genome sequencing allows people to trace their ancestry and know why certain medicines have adverse effects on them. 

This gene-data lets you tap into a wealth of information about yourself and offer insights on how they influence your health, for example, why do you have a nut or dust allergy? It is a way to make preventive healthcare smarter and better.

2. Drone-Delivered Medicines

Nothing is too remote.

It’s an idea to deliver medicines and other health supplies to remote areas and in rough terrains. And it is simply brilliant. An AI-enabled drone operates through an app and can be sent almost anywhere!

India has many inaccessible areas that haven’t seen even the ‘I’ of infrastructure. The drones can be used to send medicines there in no time! Drones can especially help during emergencies or natural calamities. Companies like Redwings, Zipline, HuVAIR are leading drone-delivery initiatives in India.

3. Medical Simulation

Akin to opening a portal.

Startups are making breakthroughs by using Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). Live simulations for surgeons, medical students, and nursing staff that will help them to learn better. They can watch actual surgeries and feel like they are right there in the operation theatre when they actually aren’t.  

VR & AR can also help a patient feel like they are at home, which in turn helps them heal faster as they are in a comfortable environment. This deals with one of the most significant challenges of hospital care. Neuromersiv, for example, is a company that uses VR to make brain rehab therapy a fun experience and to improve the quality of life for brain injury patients.

4. Digital Health & Technology

Saving lives smartly.

Technologies like AI, Big Data, Machine Learning, etc. are reforming healthcare as we know it. For example, Big Data can help the hospitals to predict admission rates, prevent medication errors, ensure accurate staffing during the busiest times, etc. 

AI is helping to deal with the need for on-demand healthcare among patients through hospital droids (like Moxi), chatbots, and other virtual agents. Then there are wearable medical devices, facilitating digital health tracking anytime, anywhere. 

AI is also helping with accurate imaging and diagnosis, along with the use of Blockchain. Here it’s important to talk about the clinical decision support system that assists health professionals in making decisions at the point of care to analyze and reach an accurate diagnosis. Companies like Healthify, Artelus, Athancare, Bionic Yantra are making development in the digital health space, tapping into the potential of technology.

Necessity Is the Mother of Invention: What These Innovations Teach Us

India is home to more than 4800 healthtech startups in India. Imagine what they could do for the country! 

  • The startup ecosystems in India can boost the Indian economy. For example, just by using telemedicine instead of doctor consultations in-person, India could save about $10 billion by 2025!
  • Innovative ideas are the need of the day. The need for health tech is also dire, especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. India has a healthy doctor-patient ratio, with 1 doctor for every 921 patients (WHO prescribes 1:1000), but accessibility is still a challenge.
  • Innovations don’t have to be complicated. They can be simple too.
  • Thinking out-of-the-box is step one.
  • Anyone can innovate with the right thought process and support.
  • India is bustling with talent. All it needs is focused direction to become a superpower.

Plato said, “Necessity is the mother of invention,” centuries ago. But that quote is relevant even today! The pandemic has served as a push for an already booming healthtech startup ecosystem in India. The country has come with brilliant innovations — some that can work without electricity and serve the people living in the remote areas easily, like Jeevtronics’ defibrillator.

This shows how wonderfully India knows to adapt. Technology is changing healthcare, changing India. Even in crisis, the country can shine!

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