Healthcare Trends in India 2019

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New Year is the time for all things new, so why not understand what healthcare has in store for you?

It’s the time of the year to crystal gaze and look at some of the new trends that will rule the healthcare industry in 2019. And we have experts in the field to tell us exactly that.

Preventive Healthcare

A significant change will be ready adoption of a proactive approach towards health. Though the seeds were planted in 2018 itself 2019 looks to be the year when masses will openly embrace proactive screening and preventive healthcare. “The ‘sickness industry’ will surely though slowly shift to ‘wellness industry’. Because of accessible, affordable and convenient healthcare services, the market will grow. 8-10% people will favour preventive over curative,” says Deepak Sahni, CEO & Co-Founder, Healthians. Block-chain based assessment, chatbots and digital assistants driven on Artificial Intelligence, 3D printing, Machine Intelligence will drive better compliance through alerts, reminders and insights- in the process ensuring high costs of late stage disease management are lowered.

Healthy Workplaces

Corporate now realise that healthy employees are and will be their biggest assets. There is already an increased awareness within corporate about this. 2019 will see corporate implement larger initiatives promoting good health and in making the workplace healthier. “The current health care trends are focused towards curing work stress and getting rejuvenated from daily hustle bustle of corporate life. A slight shift towards preventive health care can also be seen these days. People have become more aware about their health nowadays and have started taking respective steps towards ensuring a healthier lifestyle,” says Dr. Rukamani Nair, Naturopath and Founder, BNCHY Wellness Medispa. The demand for wellness breaks, online wellness coaching and holistic living is on the rise to help employees from the effects of long working hours, stress, anxiety and other negative emotions.

Balanced Nutrition

Even as doctors, specialists, and nutritionists advise a low-fat diet, there is a clear shift towards the good and essential healthy fats. This is because the hormones that regulate the functions in our body and the brain require healthy fats, more than the protein and carbohydrates. “Fats have several different functions in the body and offer various benefits. It is important to add good fats to your diet for it to function to its optimum capacity. Fats have amazing healing capacity: they improve gut health; improve metabolism; liberate fat from the fat cells; improve insulin sensitivity; and even turn off the brain’s addiction centers. Consumption of saturated fats may help in the prevention of heart diseases. This is because they reduce the levels of lipoprotein a, which has a very strong correlation to heart disease. It is also important to note that there are no drugs to reduce the level of lipoprotein A,” says Nutritionist Saanchi Nayak. Again remember one size does not fit all. Bio-individuality means different bodies require different recommendations, treatments and diets.

Focus on Children Health

Parents today are anxious about their kid’s health especially in the age group 5-15 years. “Special gyms and exclusive academies that cater to this challenge will bloom. They will aim to boost physical activity levels for youngsters. Similarly, customised diet and nutrition plans, personalised advice and subscriptions for this segment will see a rise,” says Sahni. “Positive Nutrition is key to being healthy on a sustainable level. A positive relationship with food is the answer for the years to come. Focusing on a holistic picture and perception will bond the conscious and the subconscious to help make healthier choices. Making sure the right foods are available at the right time for the consumer will reinforce positive behavior,” avers Payal Kothari, Integrative & Functional Nutritionist.

Going Natural

People are moving towards adopting more and more naturally benefiting foods. Multiple brands will offer fusion of known benefiting foods and drinks for better health. Alternative medicine has recently found its long lost fame, and is being adopted by many as in when they become aware of its benefits. “With increase in pace of development, and increasing responsibilities the levels of stress have shot off the charts. Working executives are looking for destressing solutions now more than ever and treatments like Abhyangam or Panchkarma or Shirodhara, offer holistic solutions, catering to destress and overall well-being as well,” says Nair.

Mind Matters

Mental wellness needs to be integrated along with physical wellness and the feel good factor is going to be given more priority than size zero. “The importance of hormones, meditation, and Nature workshops will trend heavily in 2019. Emotional baggage will be worked upon, tolerances towards lack of inhumanity will be lower and voices will be raised, clean eating will be encouraged and will change at the cellular and DNA level of the individual,” says Kothari. Vijay Kumar Karai, CEO, AyurUniverse adds, “Yoga has always been a practice of mental development and an effective stress reduction tool. It helps improve mental health issues, including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, among others. Yoga and Pranayama are effective mindfulness techniques that are known to improve mental health.”

Tech Talk

In 2019, the healthcare sector is going to witness the adoption of more technology. 2019 is expected to become a turning point in the digital health market. Due to our busy lifestyle and digitally-led life we can expect a huge growth in Telehealth sector. E-Clinic and Telemedicine are poised to see an exponential growth. While the use of health wearable devices and mobile apps will keep increasing. Ayush Mishra, C0-Founder, Tattvan an E-Clinic says, “with the advent of digital technology, new realms are now opened in the healthcare sector. Technology has made it comfortable for the patients to get the treatment at home. They don’t necessarily have to go to the hospital or visit a doctor to get the treatment. In the case of emergencies, it enables the patient to get quick access to treatment as it also resolves the issues of time and distance. Digital health tools enable patients to adopt a proactive approach towards their health and it gives them a better experience during the recovery.” Telemedicine has enabled the patients to get access to the specialists anytime, anywhere. The boom of digital technologies is the next big opportunity for India as it is helpful in solving consumer, clinician and employee perspectives at all levels to manage different healthcare needs.  “It not only reduces manpower but at the same offers growth to provide better healthcare from online appointments to tele-consultation to focused R&D, or alternate medicine consults.  Trust building has been very positive with a range of startups and big behemoths pushing the insistence and acceptance of the digital way,” says Rohit M.A., Co-Founder and Managing Director, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals.  Healthcare is now not limited to only research and development for treating diseases and drugs. “Today, new technologies such as ITO, AI, Automation, Cloud Computing, Wearable Devices are solving complex problems. Laboratory testing technologies are developing both additional and breakthrough developments. Additional development makes testing processes simpler, more efficient and higher quality,” opines Aruna Singh Principal Delhi Paramedical & Management Institute New Delhi.

On-Demand Home & Convenient Healthcare

2019 will see a shift from traditional modes of using healthcare services to on-demand convenient healthcare services. Right from medicine delivery to diagnostic at home to post-operative care the demand for convenient, at home services will be higher. “With the greater onset for demand for transparency in the healthcare system, a consumer first approach from counselling, feedback, grievance management, staff and clinician up-skilling will all need to have consumer centricity as the core to stay relevant and useful. Progressive institutions with use of mapping parameters such as Net Promoter Score and digital interventions will continue to gain ground on consumer acceptance and thereby setting new standards,” adds Rohit. Hari Thalapalli, Chief Executive Officer, CallHealth adds, “traditional fragmented stand-alone systems are being replaced with “single-point service integration” – all healthcare services such as doctor consultation (via web and app), nursing, physiotherapy, medicines etc. can be accessed from different service providers through a single click or call – and the health data stored in a unified space. Data from Healthcare Devices and Service Providers (such as labs, hospitals) will converge into the unified eHR in real-time, helping Specialists establish a cause-effect relationship with greater accuracy.” Self-help diagnostic kits to assess multiple parameters are also starting to emerge and this will make it much more easier for early identification.

Health Insurance

Driven by the institution of the PMJAY more and more private and government hospitals join the ambit of the health insurance scheme, which means that there will also be an opportunity for private insurers to start engaging with higher value customers. “Bringing health insurance to the masses would also drive adoption of technologies that help in patient management, ensure data integrity and lead to better clinical outcomes. On the pharmaceutical side, companies are increasingly looking at a “Phygital” model for engaging with patients and physicians, and we expect the trend to pick up in the coming year as well. Practitioners will be complemented through technology platforms and offerings, driven by the pharmaceutical companies, which help them understand both practitioner and patient behavior,” says Kunal Kishore Dhawan, CEO & Co-founder Navia LifeCare.

Healthcare in Bangalore

As per a Deloitte 2016 report, the Indian healthcare market is likely to grow at 23% CAGR to reach $280 Bn by 2020. A key incubator for healthcare startups, the IT City of Bangalore is taking huge strides in development of technologies that are poised to change the face of healthcare in the country. Take for instance Niramai that is using Artificial Intelligence to fight breast cancer by helping detect cancer in its early stages. Their screening device can detect tumours five times smaller than regular tests. Practo another Bangalore based organization is a one-stop healthcare platform has expanded to cover many cities and countries and is today a single source of appointments, consultations, health records, insurance and ordering medicines online. Likewise Portea ensures that patients have access to doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and technicians at home through home visits. Making primary pediatric healthcare service to school children affordable and holistic is what AddressHealth another Bangalore startup does. With a culture that promotes healthcare, Bangalore is certainly at the forefront when it comes to medical innovations that benefit patients and doctors alike.

This story first appeared in Spice Route’s Jan-19 issue here:

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