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Business News/ Industry / Mint Health Summit: Trust imperative despite data proliferation in healthtech
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Mint Health Summit: Trust imperative despite data proliferation in healthtech

‘Trust building will happen with time—neither can doctors exist in silos, and nor can digital health-tech firms. But digital adoption is clearly happening’

A panel of experts at the Mint Healthcare Summit 2023. (Mint)Premium
A panel of experts at the Mint Healthcare Summit 2023. (Mint)

New Delhi: As the healthcare industry undergoes a transformation due to the increasing availability of data, trust between consumers and doctors and a brand will always remain a crucial factor, according to a panel of experts at the Mint Healthcare Summit 2023. 

This means healthtech will remain distinct from other tech-driven industries, they said.

“Just like how consumers live in an omnichannel world, a lot of platforms will evolve into omni-channel platforms—with offline and online components," said Prashant Tandon, chief executive of Tata-backed med-tech platform 1mg. "What we’ll see more of is that the entire patient journey—be it preventative or curative healthcare—will become omnichannel. There will be requirements for efficient digital healthcare access. As a business, we’re looking at integrating everything that a patient requires, and if that can be done over a user’s life cycle through condition management, outcomes orientation and more."

However, Shashank ND, chief executive of Practo, said that while such an evolution of the very nature of healthtech services will play out over time, the timelines are significantly different from other tech-driven sectors—where transformation and customer acquisition happen faster.

“Healthcare is all about the trust on a brand—be it digital, physical, or phygital. An important aspect of trust is that it takes time. In healthcare, brands typically take decades to be built out as trust takes time. Outcomes of this reinforce the trust loop, and this trust comes with a timeline that isn’t clearly understood in healthtech. Because the latter is venture-funded, the lifecycle of healthtech firms are very different from other sectors where brand creation has different timelines," he said.

A ‘phygital’ experience, Shashank added, will “thus need patience to be built up."

Other experts added that the tech proliferation in healthcare has clearly been accelerated by the covid-19 pandemic. As a result, despite the trust cycle, industry stakeholders are now more aligned towards online, data-driven experiences. “Doctors don’t need to be explained the basics of an online consultation any longer, or be taught how to make prescriptions online. Periods such as the covid-19 pandemic have ensured adoption of technology by traditional stakeholders of the healthcare ecosystems. Trust building will happen with time—neither can doctors exist in silos, and nor can digital health-tech firms. But digital adoption is clearly happening," said Gautam Chopra, chief executive of BeatO.

1mg’s Tandon also concurred that data proliferation has already begun. “The data game has just started, and this is a space where India’s isn’t copying global models—we’re creating our own data-based AI/ML models based on our own needs, to create a better healthcare experience for patients that are personalized, preventative and predictive," he added. Tandon referred to the past decade for the health-tech sector as a period where the ‘plumbing’ was built and reinforced.

All of this has led to a significantly larger opportunity than previously expected by health-tech entities, said Ashish Venkataramani, partner at venture capital firm Eight Roads Ventures. “A $250 billion market seems too small—the larger healthcare market is what healthtech should focus on. This gives health-tech firms the potential to grow 2.5x to $500 billion by 2030. Segments, including pharmaceuticals and med-tech, are all seeing double-digit growth driven by technology, and are solving for better clinical outcomes, patient experiences, access to healthcare and lowering healthcare cost."

This offers “immense" opportunities, Venkataramani said. “The problems are very real, and tech and data can play meaningful roles to address all of this. Any business that solves for any of these purposes has a large canvas to look at," he added.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shouvik Das
Shouvik Das is a science, space and technology reporter for Mint and TechCircle. In his previous stints, he worked at publications such as CNN-News18 and Outlook Business. He has also reported on consumer technology and the automobile sector.
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Published: 29 Nov 2023, 08:38 PM IST
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