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The Road Ahead: What Lies in Store for India’s New-Age Health-Tech Apps

Health-tech itself has evolved in a big way in the last 3-4 years. The first wave of health-tech startups were focused mainly on increasing access to healthcare services like medicines, doctor appointments, lab tests, and so on.

India’s healthcare sector grapples with enormous challenges providing access to quality healthcare for 1.2 billion people is a massive undertaking. However, the sector is now beginning to use innovation a cutting-edge technology to deal with these challenges. The healthcare sector is estimated to grow to $370 billion by 2022, promising returns of up to 35-40%.  It’s not just the healthcare industry as a whole that’s looking at rapid transformation. 

Health-tech itself has evolved in a big way in the last 3-4 years. The first wave of health-tech startups were focused mainly on increasing access to healthcare services like medicines, doctor appointments, lab tests, and so on. The next wave of health-tech startups, however, are shifting focus and looking at healthcare in a more holistic way.  For a long time, India’s entire healthcare focus has been on sick-care and treatment. However, fueled by conscious millennial consumers, many health-tech startups are now looking at an integrated perspective incorporating Health, Fitness, and Wellness. While the Wellness industry in India was highly unstructured in the 1990s, it has now emerged as a force to be reckoned with, aided by an abundance of tech-based solutions.  

The health and wellness space is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12% for the next 5 years. So what is fueling this rise in a more holistic, preventive approach to health? There has been a major rise in disposable incomes in the last decade or so. However, it has been accompanied by a rise in lifestyle-related diseases (diabetes, blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, etc). There’s also been a huge increase in the incidence of chronic stress and anxiety during this time.  This means that consumers are now starting to look for solutions beyond modern medicine. They are looking to build lifestyles that are more in tune with their bodies and minds — focusing on what they eat, how they exercise, and how they take care of mental health and emotional toxins.

Naturally, health-tech startups have started catering to this shift in a big way. From sleep tracking apps to mental health apps to home fitness apps —entrepreneurs are finding innovative ways to meet this unmet demand.  There also seems to be an increased focus on convenience. In this age of instant gratification, people are looking for quick and convenient solutions, and a lot of health-tech companies are providing services at the doorstep of the consumer. Whether it’s chronic disease management or health food delivery, home healthcare is another trend that has become really pronounced. Then there’s India’s own tradition of holistic healing.

Ancient sciences like Yoga and Ayurveda have a host of wisdom that can help people live a more balanced, stress-free lifestyle. These ancient sciences have got a big push through Government initiatives — the Ministry of AYUSH for instance has created a separate department for Yoga, which is exempt from service tax. Now, health-tech apps that leverage this ancient knowledge are also coming into their own.  With the growth and rapid advancements in modern medicine in India, we moved from “healthcare” to “sick-care”. In the last few years, aided by the rise of health-tech, young Indians have started to take back the idea of healthcare — looking at it from a more balanced, preventive point of view. This is not a short-term fad or trend, but rather a long-term shift towards a more deep-rooted approach to healthcare. This means that we’re only looking at the tip of the iceberg as far as wellness-tech is concerned — big things are yet to come.


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