The Indian Healthcare industry 2020 and Factors Contributing to its Continued Success

The Internet has not only arrived but our dependence on it is growing with each passing day. 

In the medical fraternity itself, there is a big shift from the doctor who walked around with a stethoscope around his neck, treating patients in his dispensary or visiting patients in their homes, with doctors who are now consulting over digital devices. On the other side, even the patient’s options have opened up by allowing them the option to search online for doctors and specialists to consult.

The Indian healthcare sector consists of private and government hospitals, private clinics and specialty medical centers in cities. In rural India, we have the Primary Health Centers (PHC) and Community Health Centers (CHC). Also, a large number of pharmaceutical companies, medical equipment manufacturing companies and health insurance companies constitute the healthcare industry. Today the Indian healthcare industry is the country’s second largest employer after Indian Railways.

Some of the reasons for the burgeoning growth in the healthcare sector are:

1. Changes in demographics: According to the World Health Organization (in 2018), the life expectancy in India was 68.8 years. Though it has risen from 46.37 years over the last fifty years, we still rank 125th in the overall World Life Expectancy. An aging population necessitates more medical aid. 

2. Urbanization leads to an increase in the number of lifestyle diseases: There has been a big shift of rural population to cities for want of a better livelihood. But the sedentary urban lifestyle is causing obesity and related diseases like diabetes and hypertension calling for an immediate need in improved healthcare facilities.

3. Easier access to health insurance: With companies offering health insurance covering minor, major ailments and regular checkups, healthcare is becoming more available to larger strata in society. Also, public health initiatives like India’s universal healthcare system called National Health Assurance launched in 2014 and Ayushman Bharat, a government funded health insurance project unveiled in 2018 have increased the load on the healthcare system. 

4. Rise in preventive medicine and the wellness concept: With education comes revelation. The population is aware of good health and wellness programs. In India, there are a growing number of digital platforms offering wellness programs. Preventive medicine and ‘well care’ have taken precedence over sickness and visits to hospitals. The importance of maintaining good health has provided an impetus to the healthcare industry.

5. Advanced diagnostic and specialty services: In earlier years, one would visit the family physician and then if directed visit a hospital. This has changed in recent years with the emergence and growing number of diagnostic centers, multi-speciality hospitals and single specialty clinics in the healthcare sector. From ENT to dental care, from fertility to maternity, different categories of medicine are finding their niche to offer specialized medical services in the Indian healthcare industry.

6. The emergence of telemedicine: Healthcare sector in India, was able to penetrate through the length and width of the country only because of the growing use of telemedicine. Telemedicine is an integral part of the Indian government’s digital initiative. Telemedicine constitutes the delivery of healthcare services via digital platforms. With telemedicine, a doctor can remotely diagnose the symptoms and treat patients through video conferencing on mobile phones or other devices. This has increased the reach of medicine and doctor-patient engagement. Today top class hospitals and doctors are using the services of a reputed medical marketing agency or healthcare digital marketing agency to work out a digital marketing strategy in order to reach their patients anywhere in the country or even worldwide. 

7. The growth in chronic diseases: In spite of major initiatives, the Indian healthcare system is not fully equipped to handle the growth in chronic disease/ non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The problem lies in the fact that in most heart disorders, diabetes, and cancer, the patient does not visit a doctor or then the disease remains undiagnosed due to inadequate healthcare access, especially amongst the rural population. Today NCD’s are causing over 61% of deaths in India. 

8. Patient awareness: Consumers in every field are becoming aware of the choices they have. Same is the case of healthcare services that are available to an individual. With the mobile phone and internet data plans have become more accessible to the population of India, the patients can confirm an appointment online, can search for the closest hospital, can find the best doctor in the specialized medical field, can get a second opinion on the internet amongst various other things. Consumers today are empowered with multiple choices in the healthcare sector and for advanced medical treatment. 

9. India is growing as a medical tourism destination: With world-class doctors and medical facilities available in India, the country is ranked amongst the top 10 medical tourism destinations worldwide. Today, over 1% of tourists traveling worldwide are seeking medical care out of their home countries. Medical tourism is global healthcare. Medical tourism in India is mostly sought after in the areas of cosmetology, obesity, heart surgery, organ transplants and cancer treatments. The Indian healthcare industry is at par with most developed countries in terms of the latest equipment, modern facilities and availability of the best doctors. 

10. India's pharmaceutical industry: With Indian pharmaceutical companies able to get licenses and Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) approvals faster, there has been an upsurge in exports. Recent statistics reveal exports from April 2018 to January 2019 having touched US$ 15.52 billion. The pharmaceutical industry is a healthy player contributing to India’s growing healthcare industry. 

Conclusion: Technology has elevated healthcare and doctor-patient interaction to yet another level. There are vast opportunities in India’s healthcare sector. So as a practitioner, have you accepted digital marketing for healthcare? Do you use medical advertising to increase your practice? Are you adopting the changes brought about by digital marketing in the healthcare industry? Are you not able to find a healthcare digital marketing agency that can help you? Don’t let any excuses hold you behind. 

The need of the hour is to establish a secure, real-time and instant connection between doctors and patients on various digital platforms. The best healthcare marketing agency will outline the most competitive digital healthcare strategy to assist with medical marketing, digital marketing and medical advertising and branding. Take cognizance of the growing healthcare industry and head in the direction today!

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