Mr Anmol Arora is the CEO of DocVita, a telemedicine platform on which patients can consult India’s leading doctors and specialists. He is an alumnus of IIT Indore and belonged to the class of 2016. During his third year at IIT Indore, Anmol founded Chota Hospital to empower doctors so they could deliver connected and intelligent patient care. At Chota Hospital, he helped pioneer new approaches to traditional problems in healthcare. He helped leverage the power of technology to
deliver best-in-class convenience and user experience.
According to BCC Research, the global telemedicine market is expected to grow to $104 billion by 2024 from $43.2 billion in 2019 at an annual growth rate of 19.1%. Additionally, the telemedicine market’s hardware segment might grow at a CAGR of 19.5% from $18.1 billion in 2019 to $44.1 billion by 2024.
Telemedicine has revolutionised the healthcare system and transformed the role of physicians worldwide. With increased access to health services for patients, telemedicine has become the backbone of the healthcare system as it helps eliminate inefficiencies across the supply chain, from care to cure. There now seems to be a trend of increased investments in the industry and a more significant number of health tech start-ups.
We can attribute the growth of the telemedicine market to various factors. One of the primary drivers is the rising population and low doctor-patient ratio, especially in a developing country like India. Though telemedicine existed well before the pandemic, it wasn’t as popular as it is now. Since the coronavirus outbreak, the sector has experienced unprecedented growth as the pandemic exposed the healthcare system’s inefficiencies and its lack of preparedness to face a global health emergency. Further, with the shortage of medical devices, shortage of doctors and the growing prevalence of chronic diseases, we are hopeful of a brighter future of telehealth.
Telemedicine Helping Healthcare System in its Fight against the Pandemic
COVID-19 has dramatically accelerated the use of telemedicine services primarily because telehealth reduces contact between healthcare workers and patients and between patients. Wearable devices facilitate care providers with real-time information on patient data while they remain at home due to which healthcare professionals can evaluate, diagnose and treat patients virtually. Numerous factors have contributed to the market’s growth, such as an increase in digital health users, increasing acceptance of m-health by healthcare institutions, increased legal health care costs, ease of access to healthcare, and increasing funding for telemedicine.
Further, health tech companies are exceeding the expectations of care seekers the way integrating innovative features in the apps – location services, security, appointment management, medicine reminders, 24*7 availability of healthcare professionals, virtual care for deadly diseases, at-home testing samples and results, video/audio communication, healthcare provider reviews, secure messaging, medical history, and wireless testing through wearable integration. From security to accessibility, these apps have everything sorted. Let’s explore the trends that will continue to influence telemedicine:
- Artificial Intelligence: Standard Of Care
Healthtech start-ups are increasingly leveraging AI-powered technology to provide automated interactions with patients. When integrated with medical information like medications, symptoms, doctors, treatments, conditions, etc., these AI-based chatbots are a time saviour. Additionally, AI-based applications have the potential to improve the accuracy and speed of the diagnosis process. For example, An AI-based diagnostic device can help eye diagnosis by examining the retina pictures to check for possible deficiencies through an algorithm. These benefits and various others are why health tech companies are tapping on AI to improve telehealth services.
- Stringent Cyber Security Measures
As telemedicine majorly relies on technology & data exchange, there is an increasing need for more stringent cybersecurity measures to ensure patient’s information protection. We will see significant development in the way the telemedicine industry prioritises to protect patient’s confidential information. Thus, system administrators need to strengthen their security, as massive costs are associated with data breaches.
- Digital First
Healthcare industry is one of a few sectors that have been slow in integrating technology into its clerical and operational procedures. However, the pandemic accelerated this switch. Though the transformation happened because of the situation’s incapacity and uncertainty, it has increased awareness and demand for digital healthcare both by providers and seekers. Growing investments in telehealth, tremendous telemedicine benefits, and proven potential to revolutionise healthcare will pave the way for a connected & digitised healthcare system.
- Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
Virtual visits driven by AR/VR technology have the potential to make access to healthcare more convenient than ever. From educating healthcare professionals to helping them plan medical procedures, advanced technology is commendable in improving healthcare delivery. Who would have thought that we could talk to a medical professional through our tablet, smartphone, or computer from the comfort of our home?
Telemedicine enables remote communication with various options – wearable security devices using cloud-based technologies to monitor activity; connecting with physicians through online video conferencing for remote diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment; help keep critical patients safer in their home environments; mobile health apps for diabetes management, cardiac and ophthalmic monitoring and so on. Further, RPM technology comprises a wide range of wearable, clinical-grade, often AI-driven portable devices that help manage various health conditions in the home, such as hypertension, diabetes, and emphysema.
With more people becoming aware of and demanding telehealth services, this industry’s future looks bright as we foresee more technological advancements.