Healthcare startups: Leveraging technology for socio-economic development
Srushti Adani, Founder, Wellnest explains how healthcare startups are navigating the COVID-19 landscape
It is not a secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused an upheaval in society. The pandemic has impacted virtually every industry in existence, and the healthcare industry has been at the forefront during these trying times: With medical infrastructure struggling to keep up with the demands placed on it, healthcare organizations have been working in hyperdrive to scale up and meet these challenges.
The scenario remains effectively unchanged even after 2 years, with the virus mutating and consequently continuing to pose a major threat to everyone’s health and safety. The glaring gaps in the infrastructure also open up new doors- new opportunities to create real impact.
Healthcare startups and navigating the COVID-19 landscape
With cash flows coming under extreme duress, startups have been particularly vulnerable due to the pandemic- many having to shut down and some having to transform to survive.
Many healthcare startups have faced similar fate; however, certain factors are working in favor of the healthcare startup ecosystem.
- Increased awareness about health and wellness
While the pandemic caused significant emotional, physical and financial stress on people, it also pushed them into a more aware state when it came to their health and wellness. People are today more conscious about what they consume and how they take care of their bodies. There is also an increased focus on preventive care. This rise in awareness is creating new demand for solutions that focus on a healthy lifestyle in addition to those that focus on reactive care like medicine delivery and treatment.
Tele-medicine has been toutedas the next big revolution in healthcare for a while now. The pandemic has been pivotal in catalyzing this shift, making telemedicine not only an accepted but also a preferred method of accessing care. Many clinicians, having now enabled teleconsultation, cannow serve a wider range of patients, and even reach segments of the society that were previously underserved.
- Focus on better access and coverage
Access to healthcare has always been and continues to be a critical issue, specifically in rural areas. Even in urban areas though, good medical coverage has been restricted to those belonging to the middle- and high- income segments. Fortunately, there has been significant focus on widening access and coverage of healthcare facilities with the goal of making healthcare inclusive, spurring several healthcare startups into action focused on providing low-cost and good quality healthcare at scale.
Technology in healthcare: The new frontier
Telemedicine is just one of many examples of technology’s impact within the healthcare sector. In addition, there are many new ways in which healthcare startups are leveraging technology to create real impact: Providing low-cost and portable equipment like ventilators, online pharmacies, medical chatbots.
The impact of these tech solutions is also becoming more apparent. Technologies like artificial analysis AI, ML, and robotics can help in early detection of diseases in detecting diseases earlier, and also enable healthcare professionals to administer treatment remotely, including critical procedures like surgeries.,
Technology is unarguably the great enabler of our times, and in healthcare, technology is proving to be the definitive answer to a lot of challenges. Scalable technology and impactful solutions are the need of the hour, and startups are at the forefront of this tech revolution in healthcare.
Given the scale of the challenge, the startups in the healthcare space must receive the necessary policy and regulatory support to ensure sustainability in the long run. This is the need of the hour, and entrepreneurs must be enabled with the help they need to create an impact in the lives of thousands, if not lakhs of people.
Healthcare is one of the most critical aspects of society. The pandemic has exposed the frailties of the system, and technology is most certainly the game-changer in this domain. While the effects of the pandemic still loom large, healthcare startups hold the key to sustainable and scalable healthcare solutions.