Pandemic spurs rapid innovation in Indian health-tech

SNAP ANALYSIS
Pandemic spurs rapid innovation in Indian health-tech
An Indian medical technician examines an MRI scan of a patient. Thanks to growing synergy between healthcare and technology, the sector is poised to grow at a 39 percent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next 3 years and reach a valuation of $50 billion by 2033. Courtesy: Getty Images

Sector poised to grow at 39% over the next 3 years and reach a valuation of $50 billion by 2033.

From soaring demand for telemedicine and video consultations to remote patient monitoring services and remote diagnostics, health-tech has been at the forefront of enabling India’s battle against the coronavirus pandemic as a growing number of patients and doctors opt for virtual modes over physical visits and tests.

Thanks to the growing synergy between healthcare and state-of-the-art technology, the sector is poised to grow at a 39 percent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next 3 years – and reach a valuation of $50 billion by 2033, according to a report by RBSA Advisors.

Growth of start-ups

Last year, blockchain start-up’s in India such as QuillHash Technologies, Aiisma and Accubits Technologies, drone startups like DeTect Technologies, and other tech startups like TagBox, Hipla, Staqu and many more developed a slew of Covid-related solutions to track patients and trace their contacts. Founders of start-ups like Bounce, Vokal and Urban Company collaborated to create the Quarantine app (Q-app). However, between March 2020 and April 2021, India has gone full circle, moving from one lockdown to another – and the priorities of heath-tech start-ups have also changed, becoming a trigger for investors in the sector.

The health-tech market in India currently comprises six major segments -- telemedicine, e-pharmacy, fitness, wellness, healthcare IT, analytics, home healthcare and personal health management.

With a current valuation of about $2 billion, it’s worth less than 1 per cent of the overall healthcare industry in India, RBSA Advisors said. “The pandemic and adoption of technology in healthcare has brought a quantum shift in the sector. In recent years, we have seen some of the most significant deals, and the Indian health-tech sector has received close to $1.6 billion in funding since 2017,” said Rajeev Shah, MD and CEO of RBSA Advisors.

According to the consultancy, the Indian health-tech industry will grow to $5 billion by 2023 and to $50 billion in another 10 years. E-pharmacies were the largest segment in the Indian health-tech market in 2020 with $700 million revenue, followed by B2B health-tech market ($60.2 million), B2B medical supplies ($28.8 million), other health-tech services ($100 million), e-diagnostics ($70 million) and teleconsultation ($45 million).

A robot at Fortis hospital checking a man before he enters the hospital. Wider application of robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence, wearables and on-body devices, blockchain, among others, are going to change the future of healthcare.
A robot at Fortis hospital checking a man before he enters the hospital. Wider application of robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence, wearables and on-body devices, blockchain, among others, are going to change the future of healthcare.Courtesy: ANI

Wide scope for products

Wider application of robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence, wearables and on-body devices, blockchain, among others, are going to change the future of healthcare. Cloud infrastructure in healthcare record maintenance and increased focus on digitalisation of patient healthcare records is likely to accelerate further, the report said.

Even as the pandemic rages, there is a wide scope for health-tech products to further spread their ambit of operation in areas such as Covid tracking and monitoring mechanisms, home care solutions for Covid, constant monitoring at workplaces and targeted solutions for Covid prevention.

As a result, health-tech start-ups have now started getting increasing investor attention with a resultant ability to raise further capital. Some of the major health-tech start-ups to get sizeable PE/VC funding in recent times in India are healthcare and IT analytics company Innovaccer ($225 million), e-pharmacy Pharmeasy ($651.5 million) and 1mg ($191.3 million), fitness and wellness platform cure.fit ($404.6 million), and telemedicine platform practo ($232 million).

As India battles coronavirus on all fronts, the pandemic has also been a catalyst for the health-tech industry to embrace innovation as well as the swelling capital inflow.

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