India needs to brace up for digital disruption in healthcare driven by consumer demand: Suresh Ramu

April 27, 2017

India will now need to brace up for a digital disruption in healthcare driven by consumer demand. The new digital health world is 24/7 real-time monitoring, wearable technologies, injectables and embedded technologies. It will also have digital medication, organ development, deployment of stem cell and 3D Printing. This together with digital hospitals, Electronic Medical Records (EMRs), robots and Internet of Things (IoT) are aimed towards improving quality of outcome and enhanced regulatory compliance, said Suresh Ramu, co-founder & chief executive officer, Cytecare Hospitals. 

When the healthcare sector globally is valued at $1.7 trillion, the digital health share is a mere $7 billion despite the presence of over 8,000 companies. This is minuscule to accelerate growth when there is a growing demand for innovation in patient care, he added.

In his keynote address at the two-day DIA event on 'Digital Disruption in Life Sciences - a Look at NextGen CDM' held in Bengaluru from April 21-22, 2017, the Cytecare chief executive officer delved on whether India was ready for the digital world in healthcare.

“Smart phone enabled communication makes it easy for speed, efficiency and reduced cost. Now the mindset is all about 24/7 monitoring. The concept of wearable technology is in vogue. Injectables and embedded consumables are going to be the game changer. Some of these like the capsule endoscopes and other disruptive technologies exist but are still not in the mainstream primarily because it is expensive. Organ development and novel introductions are being devised because consumers are pushing for new technologies. These disruptive technologies are waiting to take off and will be made available once the cost comes down,” he said.

There is consolidation in the healthcare industry and this together with capital flow will fuel the growth of this sector. Consumers are demanding and we see the need for implementation of all digital health technologies.

“We can also see the beginning of convergence in healthcare technology. From vaccines, nano-pharmaceuticals, gene therapy, genomics to proteomics among others will now enable preventive, predictive and personalised healthcare. All these will lead to digital clinical trials or virtual human studies. Research centres will connect with patients and the future is bedside to bench and vice versa. Personalisation of healthcare is necessary. We will see healthcare providers linking with research centres to access patient pool which is key to novel drug development”, he said.

The new clinical data management will be online screening, recruitment, consent and enrolment. Demand for continuous data will replace discrete information. EMR device data will take centre stage. Short and rapid trails will be the future. However this will need new skills, digital stability and logical problem solving, communication, collaboration, change in mindset, speed in timelines and cost reduction, said the Cytecare chief executive officer.