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The first issue in healthcare sector in India is accessibility and affordability. Second is the uneven distribution of population across the country

With start-ups bringing innovation and new age solution in every sector of Indian economy, healthcare is a much more complex area to foray into. There are huge amount of complexities involved in the healthcare industry from a startup’s perspective as they deal with the most important aspect of life, i.e. the ‘Life’ itself.

BW Businessworld’s 4th Edition of Healthcare Summit & Awards 2017, brought together the industry experts to calibrate on the challenges the industry faces and the areas where startups could go wrong in the healthcare scenario.

Ashim Roy, Co-Founder and CEO, Cardiotrack begun by elaborating on the major challenges the industry faces.

“The first issue in healthcare sector in India is accessibility and affordability. Second is the uneven distribution of population across the country with 28 per cent population in rural area and 72 per cent residing in the urban areas. Reaching the majority population away from the urban centres is the biggest challenge while maintaining affordability and accessibility,” said Roy, mentioning how IT could be the best possible solution in bridging this gap.

“New technologies can solve major problems. Healthcare needs to be a mix of people and technology together alongside the facilitation of manufacturing capacity and certification and licensing. If the government can come forward as the first buyer of healthcare solutions, then healthcare start-ups can grow in a big way,” said Roy.

Sanjeev Malhotra, CEO Nasscom Centre of Excellence, IOT, spoke regarding the necessary environment needed to push the startups in the complex healthcare sector.

“Firstly there needs to be a recognition that start-ups are an important part of the ecosystem. We are the drivers of innovation that the healthcare sector needs, given the right environment ranging from development of product to certification and licensing. And lastly the right channel to make the product reach the customer and make it accessible,” said Malhotra.

Vivek Srivastava, CEO, Healthcare At Home India Pvt Ltd, termed the healthcare startup industry as a catalyst and its participation in the sector based on ‘Service Delivery Model’.

Touching upon the ugly side of startups going bust in the healthcare sector, Ananda Sen Gupta, Founder CEO, Track My Beat Healthcare Ltd articulated the need for a strong knowledge base, before taking a plunge in healthcare.

“One thing that is underestimated in healthcare start-ups is the time and gestation period required to develop a product. Healthcare sector is a much harder sector for start- ups to work in as it involves human lives, therefore, its impact is huge if you do the right thing. At the same time it is also ruthless if you get things wrong. Therefore, it takes a while for any start up in healthcare to establish itself and grow”, said Gupta mentioning how it takes five to six years for healthcare start-ups to establish themselves in comparison to two to three years in any other sector.

Similar were the sentiments echoed by VK Singh, MD, InnovatioCuris.

He further adds on to say that healthcare sector is much more complex and requires a huge amount of knowledge base which is one of the main reasons why start- ups go bust in healthcare. Startups need to understand from the patients’ perspective and the evolving technology before venturing in this field.