Telemedicine: The Next Horizon in India’s Healthcare Ecosystem



How telemedicine is changing the face of India’s healthcare ecosystem?

India is the second most populated country in the world next to China. As currently in a developing phase, the country has made significant leaps and bounds in terms of economic development. The country’s healthcare industry is at the cusp of a paradigm shift turning towards digital technology, such as robotics, artificial intelligence and others. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has given the country huge opportunities to advance its healthcare ecosystem. Telemedicine has become the major breakthrough in the Indian healthcare industry during the pandemic, changing the way of patient care delivery. As the epidemic forced people to stay home, telemedicine emerged as an impactful medium to reach out to people across the country to deliver safe and convenient care.

Using telemedicine allows medical professionals and caregivers to provide effective care to their patients from anywhere, or remotely. It has been significantly reducing doctor-patient visits and helping in minimizing the transmission of COVID-19 infections.

The State of Healthcare Ecosystem in India

The Indian healthcare industry faces several challenges such as lack of qualified physicians, inadequate healthcare facilities, low insurance penetration, etc. Despite these shortcomings, the country is being recognized as a destination for world-class healthcare. The market for healthcare in India is projected to reach from US$193.83 billion in 2020 to US$372 billion by 2022. This market growth is majorly driven by the government-led policies to surge the spending to three percent of the GDP by 2022.

The government also aims to fortify the use of advanced technologies to develop the country as a global healthcare hub. In the Union Budget 2021-22, the finance minister proposed an outlay of INR 2.23 lakh crore towards health and well-being, a 137 percent increase over the INR 94,452 crore budgeted expenditure on healthcare in the ongoing fiscal year.

India’s ‘Make in India’ initiative is also becoming an impetus for the country’s healthcare ecosystem growth, encouraging domestic manufacture of medical devices and supporting in lessening the costs of patient care.

Reimaging India’s Healthcare with Telemedicine

With an increasing public appetite for a safe and convenient method of healthcare, emerging technologies will certainly find their way into growing care expectations. From patient-facing mobile apps, less invasive diagnosis, surgical robotics tools to 3D printing and remote monitoring solutions, disruptive technologies are poised to change the face of the Indian healthcare ecosystem. Telemedicine is a fast-emerging sector in the country. It has a substantial benefit in rural India where people find complexities to visit hospitals due to lack of infrastructure and resources.

Similar to other technologies such as AI and robotics that help provide effective care to patients, telemedicine enables remote communication between a doctor and patient. With the help of telehealth devices, medical personnel can monitor a patient’s health conditions and recommend care remotely. Since the pandemic has made teleconsultation an integral part of healthcare, the report shows India’s telemedicine sector will witness a growth of 31 percent CAGR from now through 2025 and reach US$5.5 billion. Companies like Practo, Medlife, Portea Medica, DocOnline, Analog Eclipse, ConcertCare, Kushala, and Lybrate are among the top players in India’s telemedicine sector.