Startups disrupting the healthcare landscape through innovative solutions

By | January 23, 2023

Not too, long ago, in 2020, Prime Minister marked January 16th as the National Startup Day to help percolate startup culture to the grass root level. At that time, India had around 60,000 startups with 42 unicorns.
While the startup ecosystem has always been spectacularly vibrant in the country, the last two years have been particularly phenomenal, when the pandemic induced accelerated pace of digital transformation, transformed industries and sectors in ways hitherto unimaginable. India has always been a country of innovators and creative leaders and this novelty has been steadfastly brought to light by entrepreneurs across all sectors alike.
To put things into perspective, let’s talk about the healthcare sector in particular. When the Covid-19 pandemic caught us unaware, it brought to the forefront many lags existing in the in the current healthcare ecosystem. That was the time, given the norms of social distancing and lockdown, many healthcare startups leveraged technology to streamline efficient healthcare delivery pan India.
These startups recognized that the traditional healthcare delivery system in India primarily focused on treating patients after they became ill. Additionally, there was a lack of affordable access to healthcare facilities, particularly in remote areas of India. To address these challenges, healthtech emerged as a viable solution due to its efficiency, affordability, and unbiased access to high-quality healthcare technologies. As a result, these startups shifted their focus from treatment to a more preventive healthcare and disease management approach.
For instance, during and after the Covid-19 pandemic, due to increased remote work and social distancing guidelines, issues related to sedentary lifestyles and weight gain surged significantly. As these issues can lead to chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular diseases, obesity, diabetes, stroke, hypertension, asthma and osteoporosis, among others, many startups emerged with the goal of addressing these concerns early on. These early signs often include premature balding, fatigue, poor sexual health and mental health issues. Mental health concerns are often overlooked, partly due to the perception that they are not serious health issues and partly due to the stigma surrounding them, which prevents open discussion and seeking professional help when needed.
For instance, over 80% of people suffering from mental health problems do not reach out for professional care and it is now among the top leading causes of health burden worldwide. Similarly, sexual health issues are far more common than we think they are and many refrain from seeking professional care in time for the same reason cited above.
There are healthcare startups today that are exclusively addressing these challenges through digital means, without the need for physical intervention from doctors and healthcare workers. Patients can access this digital healthcare assistance from the comfort of their homes, without the need to wait in long queues, take time off from work, or travel for pharmacy visits or doctor appointments. These digital platforms directly connect patients to healthcare professionals.
These new age digital healthcare companies understand that, sensitive health problems like sexual health need to be destigmatised and placed at par with other physical health problems. Also, more than medication or alternate therapies, diagnosis and treatment of such health concerns needs a holistic approach, including normalisation and taking care of such problems, backed by innovative solutions.
In addition, these companies are also playing a crucial role in addressing epidemics like diabetes, where India has the second highest number of cases globally, only behind China. By leveraging meaningful innovations driven by robust technology and data science, many healthtech startups are making their presence and capabilities known. Digital healthcare companies like the company mentioned in this statement are striving to eradicate preventable primary health issues by reducing secondary and tertiary health complications, which in turn reduces the burden on secondary and tertiary care hospitalization and on the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, the world’s largest health assurance scheme which aims to provide health coverage of Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalizations. Healthtech can certainly help overcome many limitations that traditional healthcare institutions face in a developing country like India.
Founder & CEO, Nirvasa Healthcare (P) Ltd

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