The healthcare industry has seen a massive shift from physical to virtual communication in the last few years. This shift was certainly en route, but the rate at which it grew because of the Covid-19 pandemic was unimaginable and extraordinary. Lifestyle changes increased interest in fitness and wellness programs, and tracking and monitoring of a range of health data — sleep patterns, calorie intake, physical activity, etc. — have all contributed to an increase in mobile health app downloads in India. By 2024, the health industry is projected to surpass the telehealth industry in India, generating around USD 1.87 billion.
Telehealth usage increased dramatically as a result of COVID-19. Going by most of the surveys, almost 76% of individuals expect telehealth to become a common care access option in the future. Earlier, when the patients were susceptible to trusting this mode of communication, they feel it to be the best now.
Increased Demands for Clinician Visit at the Doorstep -
As a result of the lockdown, telemedicine and home healthcare services have become popular in the country. From 2022 to 2030, the Indian home healthcare market is expected to grow 30 times at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.27%, already at USD 7.4 billion in 2019.
As patients become more acquainted with receiving care outside of the conventional doctor's clinic during the pandemic, the "house call" of the past is gaining new life. 4% of consumers responding to a poll in 2020 reported that a doctor, nurse, or other clinician had visited their house to provide treatment. Over three-quarters of consumers said that they are willing to pay for in-home care, including a pleasant visit and chronic illness management. After having postponed treatment during the pandemic, in-home care also assists certain patients to return to the health system. As many as 37% of people said they would be most comfortable rescheduling care they had postponed if they could receive treatment in their homes, such as virtual and in-home alternatives.
Fast Growth of Digital Doctor Consultation -
The contribution of the pandemic to the overall digital growth of the nation cannot be ignored. In the last year, online doctor consultations in India have increased by leaps and bounds thanks to Covid-19. In March 2017, India's teleconsultation industry was worth around $26 million, and on an annualized run-rate basis, it reached $163 million by March 2021, showing a 6x growth.
According to a Praxis Global Alliance study on the "Outpatient Healthcare Market in India," this is projected to increase by 72% to $836 million by March 2024. By FY24, online consultations will account for one out of every 35.
"The introduction of online consultations, as well as changing consumer demands and the establishment of an organized network of tech-enabled outpatient care providers, will dramatically change the market," said Sumit Goel, Managing Partner and Head–Healthcare and Pharma at Praxis Global Alliance.
Teleconsultations are now used primarily after Covid-19. According to a study, healthcare in India will see increased innovation and growth as a result of wider Electronic Health Records (EHR) adoption, greater use of artificial intelligence and ML solutions, and strengthened HealthTech laws.
An E-health platform started on March 25th, has seen a 600% growth in internet consultations, with 70% of all users being new telemedicine users and 45% from smaller communities. “We now have more than 500 hospitals on the online platform with over 3,000 doctors, which has grown by three to four times since March-end," said a spokesperson for this Bengaluru-based on-demand healthcare provider.
In addition, online apps have been used by over 50,000 patients and process 10,000 transactions every day. It also includes a covid-19 assessment tool.
Is the Consumer Comfortable with Virtual Visits?
Consumers are becoming more willing to accept virtual care for a range of services as they get used to virtual health visits during the pandemic for the first time. According to a poll, nearly two-thirds (62%) of consumers would be willing to utilize virtual care in the future. Furthermore, according to the same research, executives at healthcare companies think that virtually all services should be provided.
Just 17% of leaders believed that virtual visits are effective for long-term health management, while 37% of consumers indicated they would be willing to utilize them for long-term treatment of a disease like a chronic condition. This may imply that consumers with complicated chronic or long-term conditions, particularly those who may have gotten worse as a result of delayed treatment during the pandemic, were missing out.
While most insurers stated that they utilize virtual visits for follow-up appointments, 34% of clients said they would want to use them only for a first visit to investigate a new medical problem. We can say that when it is about chronic illness, a virtual first visit followed by regular clinic visits is preferred.
Consumer View on Digitalizing Healthcare -
As we can see, decentralizing clinical trials outside of the hospital environment may help boost enrollment. Most consumers were attracted to the ability to do clinical trials virtually or closer to home. The ability to participate from home using telehealth was the most influential in increasing their likelihood when asked what factors would make them more likely to participate. The ability to do so was cited by 62% of consumers as making them more likely to join, followed by 46% for local travel to the clinical trial site.
Unconventional study sites that are closer to where people dwell may help boost enrollment. Consumers are more willing to say they'll participate in clinical trials as options for participation get closer to home, according to a survey. According to a September 2020 survey, pharmaceutical and life sciences executives also believe that conducting clinical trials virtually may improve the diversity of enrollment. This could increase racial and gender diversity, according to 87% of executives and 74% of executives, respectively.
Digital Touchpoints and their Impact on CX -
Digital breakthroughs like the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML) have given the healthcare industry a new perspective on customer experience. Around 57% of consumers are willing to receive virtual care from a distance, according to a study. This demonstrates the growing popularity of contactless healthcare and real-time assistance. The development of healthcare delivery models is being driven by consumer demand, which benefits all players in the system, from data capture to advanced analytics and beyond. Healthcare organizations were forced to rethink, reprioritize, and rebuild their business models as a result of the pandemic.
Sources: News articles, PWC report