Healthcare has been a focus area for the Indian government. The public healthcare system in India remains highly over-stretched and the private healthcare system is yet to achieve the desired level penetration. Mobile apps, dealing in the healthcare sector, have ushered in some welcome changes in the Indian healthcare system though their penetration remains quite low as compared to the volume of healthcare services seekers in India. However, it can be expected that the numbers will increase with increased internet penetration and smartphone usage.
According to data from the Indian Medical Association (IMA), India’s healthcare spending remains low at 1.2% when compared with the US’s 17% and China’s 5.5%. This data clearly indicates that India has a low spread of medical stores.
There is a growing scope for various health apps that can enable users to book and avail medicines and medical services. Many of these apps are also looking into emergency medical services whereas others are focusing exclusively on medical equipment. Yet, many others are allowing users to book appointments with doctors in an easy and hassle-free manner. Many healthcare professionals have also welcomed the services provided by these apps which are aimed at using technology for quick treatment.
The Indian healthcare sector will become one of the top revenue contributors and is estimated to reach $58.8 billion in 2020 from $25.39 in 2017, creating a huge opportunity for healthcare based online or offline businesses. A report by Research 2 Guidance, a global think tank, shows that there are 3,25,000 healthcare apps available worldwide. However, the report also states that the number of such apps in India is relatively less but another report from Accenture states that download of healthcare apps have doubled in the past couple of years, indicating towards a positive swing in the segment.
Online healthcare mobile apps can be broadly classified under few categories including telemedicine, online pharmacy, personal healthcare, healthcare at home, fitness and wellness related apps and pediatric solutions providers. These mobile apps are using Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and other modern technologies to provide affordable and quality healthcare.
Telemedicine apps help patients to get doctor consultations through the apps or by web-based videos and chats. A Mckinsey report informs that India can save up to $10 billion in 2025, by using telemedicine instead of in-person doctor consultations. Major players in this segment in India are Practo, mfine, Lybrat, and Docsapp. With over 1,00,000 doctors supporting its operations in India, Practo caters to about 25 million patients every year.
Also known as e-pharmacy, this segment has players like 1MG, Pharmeasy, Netmeds and MyraMed. Along with growing investor interest, e-pharmacy companies have also overcome legal challenges thrown at them from offline competitors. The central government has introduced a draft regulation guideline for the e-pharmacy segment to standardise registration procedures. The move may provide encouragement to players in the segment.
Personal health and check-ups
Increasing awareness about healthcare issues has led to the rise of healthcare apps like Portea, Practo, MUrgency, MyUpchar and CureJoy. There are also healthcare apps like Pregbuddy and Maya, aimed exclusively at pregnancy advice.
Healthcare at home
An IBEF report has predicted that the market of ‘healthcare at home’ will reach $6.21 billion by next year. Additionally, India has the second largest geriatric or aged population in the world and that increases the scope of this segment. Busy urban lifestyles have also contributed to the rise of various lifestyle oriented diseases. The scope for apps in this segment is expansive. This sector includes simple diagnostic tests, advanced oncology or cancer support and various other services which can be well-facilitated by apps. Companies operating in this sector are Healthians, CallHealth, Practo and Portea.
Fitness and wellness
With increasing fitness consciousness, India has seen a rise of fitness and nutrition service companies like Fitternity, Cure.fit, HealthifyMe, GoQii and HealthKart. There are also many mental health and wellness companies like Yourdost and InnerHour.
A Bengaluru-based company, AddressHealth is providing affordable primary pediatric healthcare services to school going children. They treat children for hearing, optical issues and dental health and anthropometry issues. AddressHealth has designed curriculum for both healthy mental and physical behaviour of children.