Stories, lessons and comments on entrepreneurship and the VC industry

Indian Healthcare Buoys Through The Pandemic

Indian Healthcare Buoys Through The Pandemic

November 27, 2020
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This year the novel coronavirus brought the entire world to anunprecedented stand still. Social lockdowns have been implemented in varyingdegrees throughout the world. As the fear of the disease gripped the world,normal life as we knew it has been disrupted. However, this pandemic has shineda light on the power of technology. It enabled us to retain some semblance of anormal life, online. Students are attending classes online, employees areworking from home and people are using ecommerce platforms now more than ever.

Consumption patterns arechanging

This pandemic has brought about a paradigm shift in the way weconsume. People not only prefer to buy goods online but want to be able toaccess services from the comfort of their homes. According to the WorldEconomic Forum, online searches for telemedicine increased ninefold duringlockdown. In India, we were looking at a timeline of 5 to 10 years forhealthcare consumption to shift towards patients at home.  However, the Covid19 pandemic has acceleratedthis process by creating an apt environment for businesses providing at homehealthcare to burgeon. According to a recent study conducted by the EY-IPA, thedomestic telemedicine market will reach USD 5.5 billion by 2025 and virtual careis expected to account for 15-20% of the healthcare ecosystem.

India has a poor healthcare infrastructure and the pandemic hasrevealed severe gaps in our healthcare system, raising pertinent questionsabout its adequacy. The inadequacies of our existing health infrastructure are especiallyfelt in the smaller towns and rural areas. Telemedicine can play a pivotal rolein improving access to health services in these areas, as we have 629 millionmobile users and 687 million internet users in India. This is evident in thedata presented by Bengaluru based Practo, an online consultation portal thatsaw a 500% increase in consultations between March 1st and May 31st.About 44% of the consultations were to patients from non-metro cities. Telemedicinehas the power to reach more people than traditional health services.


By revealing gaping holes in our health infrastructure, thispandemic has pushed us to reimagine the provision of healthcare. Innovation isthe call of the hour with several startups pursuing unexplored territories inthe healthcare sector. One such company is Portea Medical a home healthcarecompany. They were the first to convert common infrastructure such asrecreational halls or gyms in residential societies into isolation wards aspart of their Covid Armor Package2. This package includes severalother services such as home sample collection, teleconsultations and oxygentherapy. They adapted their existing business model of home healthcareto the present crisis efficiently as a result of which they have monitored50,000 patients during the months of June to August1 of which lessthan 3% needed to be shifted to hospitals.

The fear of catching the virus has brought about a behavioralchange in people. This coupled with an increasing geriatric population hascreated an increase in the demand for home healthcare services besidesconsultations. In fact, in a survey conducted by Deloitte India, 70% to 80% oftheir sample responded positively to at home services such as, diagnostics, daycare services and in-patient care. Moreover, the report concluded that anincreasing number of people are looking for alternate health care deliverysettings. The pandemic has given an opportunity for businesses that providesuch services to expand and scale up. If done efficiently and withoutcompromising patient outcomes, at home healthcare can create a large customerbase which would also extend into the post Covid era due to its inherentconvenience.  


Integrating technology

To scale healthcare consumption at home without compromisingpatient outcomes technology must be integrated into the process. Other thanproviding existing medical machinery healthcare companies must invest ininnovative hardware that is styled to be used at home. Efficient and secureways to collect and store data must be developed so that primary care providersare up to date with patient progress at all times. This will also require anupskilling of medical personnel to enable them to use new technologies tooptimize health service delivery at home.

Beyond innovation andtechnology

Being imaginative enough to develop unique business models is oneaspect of succeeding in this growing sector. India is complex heterogenous marketwith different states having their own behavioral idiosyncrasies andlanguages, thus presenting unique barriers depending on the state.Consequently, a successfulentrepreneur in the home healthcare industry must have a deep understanding ofpatient requirements and outcomes as well as the awareness of friction pointsbetween various stake holders such as the patient, doctor, insurance companyetc. Business models that canseamlessly integrate these various aspects could be potential winners of thecurrent situation. 



1 "Healthcare For Covid Emergencies WithMygate - Mygate". Mygate, 2020,

2 Portea.Com, 2020,




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