30 April 2014 | Opinion | By BioSpectrum Bureau
The author is the Editor of BioSpectrum
In just the month of April this year, there have been almost a dozen announcements and start-up showcases in India alone in the area of mobile healthcare, digital health, and IT healthcare. One such development was the announcement of the launch of Medwell Ventures, which is touted as India's first specialty "Home Healthcare" company. Two former CEOs of leading healthcare enterprises in India joined hands with like-minded professionals largely from Quintiles to start it. The company expects to establish a network in 10 Indian metro clusters serving over a million families in the coming years. This will be supported by a cloud-based technology platform and protocol-driven services in specialized therapeutic areas like pulmonology, cardiology, metabolic diseases, neurological health, orthopedics, geriatrics, rehabilitation, and post-operative surgical site management. The novelty is in integrating different delivery channels to bring care closer to patients. It will also include remote health monitoring, telehealth, diagnostics, rehabilitation, and wellness therapeutics in its service portfolio.
My point here is that the trend in the healthcare delivery landscape is to leverage a powerful combination of healthcare delivery expertise, smart technology, and stringent processes to make healthcare more accessible, accountable, accurate, and personal. This trend is visible across the globe and there are several indicators. Mercom Capital Group, a global communications and consulting firm, released its report on funding and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity in the Healthcare Information Technology (IT) sector for the first quarter of 2014. Venture capital (VC) funding in the sector continued at a record pace with $858 million raised in 163 deals, a 154 percent increase compared to the $337 million raised in Q4 2013. This was the highest dollar amount raised by the sector in a single quarter to date. Healthcare practice-focused technology companies received half of all VC investments in the first quarter of 2014, with $460 million in 60 deals. Consumer-focused companies received $398 million in 103 deals, with the majority of the funding going into the mobile health category ($198 million in 61 deals). Telehealth companies received $79 million in 14 deals.
The focus of companies is on collaboration, innovation, and consumerization. According to IDC Health Insights' top 10 predictions study, the healthcare industry is at a disruptive stage. Here are the 10 predictions
#1: Regional disaster management initiatives will bring in new collaborative measures between public healthcare and other government agencies
#2: Healthcare organizations will reevaluate their enterprise mobility strategies and select CYOD over BYOD
#3: As community care becomes mainstream, role-based access to mobility will define the form factors selected
#4: Led by Singapore, "structured innovation" will drive new business models in Asia-Pacific healthcare
#5: The healthcare IT department will transform with the emergence of newer technologies
#6: Innovative X-as-a-service models will be seen in Asia-Pacific healthcare
#7: Consumer centricity will see the emergence of new stakeholders in the healthcare industry
#8: The Internet of things will begin an active foray in regional healthcare
#9: Best practices from other industries will finally start influencing healthcare it expenditure
#10: The concept of accountability will see investments in clinical analytics in the region
The spurt in activities is clearly visible and this is an indicator about things to come in the changing dynamics of healthcare delivery landscape.