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Ashish Mishra

Ashish Mishra is Head of Product & Marketing at Healthians.

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What to Expect in 2018 in HealthTech?

The digitalisation wave in 2017 accelerated the pace of innovation. Apps and mobile solutions for various healthcare problems have changed the face of the health industry and this is just the beginning.

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Healthcare as an industry focuses on improvement and innovation. Hospitals, medical practioners, diagnostics, pharmacy and insurance are all centred on improving the health quotient of individuals, their services and customer satisfaction. Innovation in health systems across all verticals with the use of technology has been dominant in recent times.

The digitalisation wave in 2017 accelerated the pace of innovation. Apps and mobile solutions for various healthcare problems have changed the face of the health industry and this is just the beginning. The bottom-line for all innovation has been to make healthcare more accessible and affordable.

Let us take a look at few health tech trends worth watching in the coming year 2018.

Diagnostics at home services will see increased penetration: Convenience and assurance of quality will increase the demand for diagnostics at home services. And this upward trend will see be visible for all healthcare at home services including senior in-home care, nursing services at home, physiotherapy and yoga services at home. This segment is sure to grow bigger with many apps in this space effectively bridging the gap between service providers and users.  The quality of service and cost effectiveness will also improve.

Greater access to personal healthcare records through self test devices: Patients have become more concerned about their healthcare with self test devices. These devices measuring various parameters like heart beat, sugar levels, BP, calorie burnt etc. have been instrumental in making people aware of their true health status and hence triggering the need to stay in good/better shape. 2018 will see a jump in the rate of adoption of these devices.

Evolving tech will continue to revolutionise healthcare management: Services that cater to lifestyle disease management will reach out to more and more people. There will be an influx of players that cater to lifestyle disease management in general or will specialise in one lifestyle disease; catering to monitoring, doctor appointment, medicine reminders, medicine delivery, correct dietary and lifestyle advice and customised data driven consultations. People will get deeper insights into disease management through apps or special devices. This is parallel with the recent developments in the health policy of the government. The Indian government is also encouraging people to maintain a digital health locker and provides detailed information regarding healthy lifestyle, disease conditions (A-Z), symptoms, treatment options, first aid and public health alerts through their App.

Ballooning telecommunication industry will push the e-consultation market: With easy access to the internet and proliferation of smartphones, India is ranked as the world's second-largest mobile internet market. With over 460 million internet users in beginning 2017, IMAI report predicts that 635.8 million Indians will be internet users by 2021. Cheaper smartphones and an ever-growing telecommunications industry have together pushed India to experience a `digital high'. Moreover, by 2021, an expected 201 million Hindi users - 38% of the Indian internet user base - will be online, according to the KPMG-Google study. Deep discounting and 4G internet access in English, Hindi and various regional languages has set the ground for telemedicine, e-diagnosis, online video consultations to reach to the farthest pockets of our country. Easy access to patient medical records and family history along with deep insights into their lifestyle choices will help medical practioners to provide their valuable services to more and more patients, cutting all geographical boundaries. Healthcare organizations will increasingly provide tele-health service to patients.

AI will expand the borders of healthcare:  Healthcare will not be limited to visiting hospitals when troubled. AI will make understanding medical conditions lot easier. Warning people of lethal medical conditions like cancer, much in advance, will help people to stay on top of potential health hazards. 2018 will see people using health tech to track vitals, predict medical problems, suggest further investigations and continuously monitor and care for patients.

The ongoing evolution of Healthtech has taken healthcare beyond the four walls of the hospital, adopting a holistic approach to analyse the full profile of a patient, and not just their specific health issue. Apps will go beyond being a patient portal. 2018 will see patient experience becoming a top priority. Health companies will need to take this same approach and make strategic decisions to improve user experience.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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