India’s startup ecosystem is growing rapidly. According to a recent report by Inc42, the Indian startup ecosystem became the third-largest in the world. As per the same source, there are over 57 000 startups in India, and the number is growing steadily. Additionally, the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the growth of healthtech startups in India significantly. Constant lockdowns made people turn to online platforms to seek healthcare services. As a result, digital healthcare startups in India are becoming game changers in the healthcare sector.
Statista reports that the digital healthcare market volume in India is expected to reach US$25.64bn by 2027. Furthermore, 2.2 billion U.S. dollars were invested in the Indian health tech ecosystem in 2021.
Indian healthcare startups are using the most advanced technology in health care including Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of things (IoT), and data analytics to meet customers’ diverse healthcare needs.
Healthcare startups in India cover various diseases, therapeutic areas, products, and business models.
Indian healthcare startups are focusing on non-communicable diseases (NCDs)
India has a growing burden of non-communicable diseases (or NCDs). This list of NCDs includes cancer and diabetes which are among the most dangerous diseases in India.
This creates an opportunity for Indian healthcare startups to use technological solutions to cater to chronic patients.
Many Indian healthtech startups offer mobile applications to monitor chronic diseases and provide a structured care continuum.
Furthermore, these applications come with data-oriented dashboards that help store the patient’s health information. It can be a special diet or any other information critical to monitor non-communicable diseases efficiently.
Healthtech startups such as NanoHealth and BeatO aim to achieve this goal.
NanoHealth offers a chronic disease management solution (including diabetes, asthma, and hypertension). It is a combination of technology and health coaching.
BeatO’s product is a smartphone glucometer and app for diabetic patients. Users can have in-app consultations with doctors, manage their diet, etc.
Healthcare startups in India are looking beyond metro and tier 1 cities
It might seem that most of the digital health startups in India concentrate in metro cities. However, some startups have started actively looking beyond metro and Tier 1 cities over recent years.
The Indian healthcare startup HealthPlix provides AI-powered EMR platform for doctors in India to digitize their practice. It has a significant number of subscribers in non-metro cities.
Karma Healthcare is targeting rural patients. It provides cutting-edge technological solutions to address rural patients’ healthcare needs. Karma provides a telemedicine platform to connect patients living in remote rural regions with doctors from urban areas. As a result, this can improve the quality of rural health care services in India.
Onco.com is connecting patients suffering from cancer to oncologists from different countries. It concentrates not only on the domestic but international market as well. With Onco.com, patients can get a second opinion from oncologists on cancer treatment plans.
Docus is a healthtech startup connecting the Indian hospital doctors with the best doctors from the USA and Europe. It provides an easily accessible all-in-one platform. Using this platform two doctors can conduct video and written consultations to develop the most appropriate treatment plan for the patient. The residents from both metro cities and rural areas can benefit from it.
Different approaches to revenue models
Digital healthcare startups in India have different preferences when it comes to business models.
When monetizing their products and services, an essential step for a health tech startup is deciding ‘who is the buyer?’:
Some digital healthcare startups like Onco.com choose patients as buyers of their services.
Healthtech startups, like Practo and Docus monetize their products through hospitals and doctors.
Indian digital healthcare startups use multiple revenue models. Pay-per-service, licensing, and subscriptions are among the options.
Health-tech startups like Docus and NanoHealth apply a subscription model.
Karma Healthcare selected the licensing model. The latter focuses on out-licensing its tech product to local delivery partners offering healthcare services to remote patients.
Various stakeholders in the health ecosystem
Healthtech startups need to develop their products taking into account various stakeholders in today’s fast-evolving healthcare industry of India.
The healthcare ecosystem is complex. That’s to say, the buyer of the healthcare product can be different from the consumer.
There are also cases when startups can bring new stakeholders to the healthcare system.
NanoHealth is providing digital solutions-based continuum care for chronic patients. It introduced ‘health coaches’, who act as intermediaries between patients and physicians.
Docus is cooperating with international medical experts. It has partnered with top doctors from the USA and Europe covering a wide variety of specialties, oncology, cardiology, etc.
Some digital healthcare startups also started cooperating with non-profit organizations.
Karma Healthcare cooperates with NGOs and local health providers to expand the reach of its telemedicine platform.
In short, startups should seek opportunities for cooperation with various stakeholders from the healthcare ecosystem. This can help provide more efficiency.
Prevention over cure is a new trend among healthcare startups in India
The new tendency for healthtech startups is developing technological healthcare solutions focusing on prevention.
EasyM2M is a digital healthcare startup that created a smartwatch. The goal is providing location tracking to those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
A growing number of Indian startups started creating fitness-related healthcare solutions. GrowFitter is also on this list. It provides a gamified digital health reward platform and offers users a goal-based rewards.
To wrap up, digital healthcare startups in India improve healthcare quality with cutting-edge technology. However, it’s necessary to scale up solutions and expand the scope of technology use in healthcare. This can be the key to further success.