India’s population is expected to reach 1.4 billion by 2026 and it is reported that half of this population would be aged 30 or above. This simply means the demand for adequate medical attention would increase. Presently India’s healthcare is way below the global standard. It ranks 112 among 190 countries on healthcare parameters and has the highest numbers of death during childbirth and death of children under the age of five.
This miserable condition of healthcare is worsening further as the government is failing to allocate sufficient funds. According to WHO, India’s total expenditure on health care was 4% of its GDP in 2013 which further dropped to 1.2% of GDP in 2015. In the US, where the population is just one-fourth of India’s, the healthcare expenditure is 8.3% of its GDP.
The great news is that the startup revolution has impacted the healthcare sector. Healthcare startups have brought in much positivity especially with digital solutions. Innovation is making- collecting and accessing healthcare information a lot easier. The founder of Vibcare (E pharmacy India), Siddharth Singhal said, “The startups have set up platforms where the entire system can be brought on record and have organized the pain points of the industry.”
There are a number of healthcare startups across the country. Among them, Practo Search, CrediHealth.com, and Lybrate have platforms to connect customers to doctors and hospitals and help to book appointments. Perfint Technologies and Biosense Technologies harness intelligent technology to simplify diagnostic procedures. MyDentist and Vasan Eye Care Hospitals focus on one vertical of medicine so that they are able to provide special care to patients. E-commerce websites like HealthKart, Medidart and Medist help people order medicines and healthcare equipment from various vendors. Besides these, there are much more like Zoctr, ICliniq, Medibox Technologies, BookMEDS, etc.
Healthcare startups are growing the fastest in India both in terms of employment and revenue. Currently, the healthcare condition is India has huge scopes for penetration and innovation. Though 70% of India’s population resides in rural areas, most of the healthcare resources are focused towards urban areas. There is a heavy shortage of doctors with only 0.6 per 1,000 inhabitants. Specialist in different medical disciplines is also lacking far behind.
This sector could bloom up even faster if they could get capital investment, research and regulatory clearance from the government. Government initiative could boost up the sector real fats. Besides people, awareness and education are an important factor in this case. The more people get aware abut health issues, the more they will realize the values of these startups and services. And the biggest issue lies in the lack of competition in the sector- which is leading to a slow growth. Any new innovation requires lots of testing, approvals and proven efficiencies before implementation. As a result, the healthcare startup cannot grow as much as it should have.
Since there are high population and clear demand, this sector is obviously a lucrative one. There are very high possibilities of growth here. Government and investors should start focusing here and entrepreneurs can have a successful future in this sector.