September 22 2020: A recent report by consultancy Frost & Sullivan, shows the number of tele-consult requests handled by major telehealth aggregators grew 200-300 per cent during Covid.
Fear of infection from hospitals and factors like convenience, comfort and privacy have stimulated the growth of telemedicine in India.The report, ‘Transformation of Indian healthcare’ suggests that the current preference for telehealth will draw more technology companies into the market with more personalised care delivery mechanisms. Hindu Businessline quotes Akshay Zanjurne Programme Manager, Transformational Health at Frost & Sullivan: “We expect the total India market for telehealth to grow at 27.5 per cent over the next 3-4 years. We expect the market value to grow to $670 million by 2024 from $200 million in 2019.”
The paper also quotes online healthcare aggregator Practo saying that there was a 500-per centincrease in online doctor consultations since March 2020. It added that 80 per cent of all telemedicine users experienced it for the first time. Gynaecology, GP and dermatology emerged as the top-most consulted specialities while tele-paediatrics witnessed a 350-per cent growth, found Practo.
AI will be the key
Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, Post-Pandemic Global Healthcare Market Outlook, 2020 suggests: Informatics and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions addressing workflow automation and operational analytics will witness 100% growth in 2020. “Moving forward, healthcare IT companies such as Microsoft, Optum, Intel, and AWS are betting big on enterprise-grade AI platforms that predict pandemics, forecast patient volume across providers, authenticate reimbursement, and drive general well-being of the insured population through medication management and self-care enablement.”
With regard to India, F&S says: Virtual consultations by healthcare professionals will become the mainstream care delivery model post-pandemic. However, reimbursement, training physicians, and platform scalability will be the key to recalibrating telehealth.