Curative medicine has historically taken precedence over preventive treatment in India. However, as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic, preventive care has become increasingly crucial in India. A recent poll of more than 1,000 people revealed that at least 40% of respondents strongly preferred preventative health. NCDs have been the primary cause of mortality and suffering during the last three decades, accounting for 71% of global deaths. In 2019, India was responsible for 66% of all deaths. Furthermore, more than half of these deaths are caused by heart disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disorders, and diabetes. The economic burden of NCDs on India is anticipated to be over Rs. 511 lakh crore (US$ 6.2 trillion) by 2030. Overweight and obesity alone affect over 17% of our population, costing the country Rs. 2.8 lakh crore (US$ 35 billion) every year, or more than 1% of its GDP.
The preventive healthcare sector, which includes exercise, wellness, foods and supplements, early diagnoses, and health tracking, is estimated to reach US$ 197 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 22%. Healthcare start-ups in India have attracted investments totalling more than US$ 150 million. These start-ups are transforming healthcare delivery in categories such as nutrition, wellness, cancer, genomics, and others. In recent years, healthcare start-ups have revolutionised preventative care in areas such as nutrition, wellness, cancer, genetics, and much more. The necessity of the hour is to implement new technological developments to successfully supply high-quality healthcare to a billion people across India. Preventive care has undergone a revolution in terms of accuracy and speed due to technological disruption and New Age technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and the IoT, especially in the wake of the pandemic. As part of its strategy to combat this epidemic, the Government has implemented several public health initiatives. The National Programme for the Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, and Stroke (NPCDCS) raises awareness, establishes infrastructure (such as community health centres, NCD clinics, and cardiac care units), and conducts opportunistic screening at the primary health care level. There are also plans to reduce household consumption of solid fuels and tobacco smoking by 2025.
Healthcare in India
In the medical and healthcare fields, the terms "curative" and "preventive" refer to the two types of healthcare.
Its primary goal is the treatment of disease or the acceleration of the recovery from an impairment, accident, or illness. The goal is to resolve any ailment and return the patient to their pre-illness state of health. It covers basic medical interventions, such as the use of antibiotics to treat strep throat and other bacterial diseases. Chemotherapy treatments can be used to treat a variety of cancers. Curative healthcare, which will account for 64% of total healthcare spending in India in 2021-22, is expanding at an annual rate of 15%.
Source: Reedser Consulting, Chiratae Ventures and Amazon Web Services (AWS)
The basic goal of preventive healthcare is to prevent illness before it occurs. It is also called Prophylaxis. The philosophy underlying preventative healthcare is to protect, promote, and preserve one's health and well-being. It also tries to prevent sickness, disability, and mortality on an individual and community level. Preventive health involves the discovery and reduction of disease risk factors, the improvement of the course of an existing disease, and early disease detection through screening. Preventive healthcare is an important aspect in defining health since it comprises avoiding or postponing the start of a sickness, which is critical for a high quality of life.
1. Social Media Stack
Social media platforms are being used to democratise preventive healthcare by educating people and raising awareness about health issues. Startups, for example, use social media data to personalise wellness products.
2. Proprietary Data stack
Startups employ a variety of strategies to gather or acquire health data, including customer data, partner/purchase data, and firm acquisition. They construct data stacks that can be analysed using Artificial Intelligence (Al) or Machine Learning (ML) to make sound decisions.
3. Collaboration Stack
The implementation of ABDM will promote healthcare data interoperability, resulting in consumer-consent-based data availability for preventative health businesses. As a result, startups will be able to provide personalised solutions across nutrition, fitness, disease management, and insurance.
The foundational pillars for startups delivering preventive healthcare in India are the 3As-Awareness, Accessibility and Affordability.
Numerous firms, including BeatO, Plum, Onsurity, HealthifyMe, GOQii, and others, are addressing consumer requirements for a range of preventive healthcare services. Startups are leveraging the cloud to deploy technologies such as machine learning, analytics, and IoT to monitor health, lower core costs, improve collaboration, enable data-driven decision-making, and shorten innovation cycles.
2. Diversified Corporates
Diversified corporations like Reliance, Tata, Flipkart, and others are concentrating on providing healthcare services to their clients. For instance, Reliance Retail recently purchased a majority share in Netmeds, and Tata Digital recently invested in Cult. fit, and Flipkart created Flipkart Health+ to provide access to authentic medications and healthcare supplies.
3. Healthcare Corporates
Large healthcare corporations are taking advantage of additional opportunities in the healthcare value chain, including Apollo, Dr. Lal Path Labs, SRL Diagnostics, and others. For example, Apollo promotes preventive healthcare check-ups.
1. New age technologies
New technologies like Metaverse, Web 3.0, etc., are being incorporated by startups. For instance, GOQii plans to launch the health metaverse and create a number of services that use gamification and blockchain tokens to promote preventive healthcare.
2. Personalised care delivery
For example, HealthifyMe uses Rio, a virtual assistant built on the Al platform, to offer its consumers customised advice on fitness, diet, and health depending on their lifestyle habits.
3. Telehealth applications
Examples include vertical health apps like Mojocare. Smiles.ai offers a digital-first care layer that includes daily monitors, general consultative conversations, treatment planning (if applicable), and information through their applications.
4. Remote Monitoring
For instance, Dozee has introduced Dozee Pro, a contactless vitals monitor for hospitals that transforms any bed into a step-down KU in less than two minutes and allows remote monitoring of patients outside of the KU, improving patient care and clinical outcomes.
5. AI/ML-powered diagnostics
For example, 5C Networks has developed a technology platform that leverages Al and ML to accelerate medical scan results while maintaining a high level of accuracy.
6. Hardware-first innovations
For instance, Redcliffe recently tested a commercial drone corridor for sample collection in an inventive effort to increase access to early testing, which could result in early discovery among patients.
Source: Reedser Consulting, Chiratae Ventures and Amazon Web Services (AWS)
1. Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission
The goal of Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) is to build a national digital health ecosystem that supports universal health coverage in an effective, affordable, timely, inclusive, and safe manner. To achieve this, ABDM will provide a variety of data, information, and infrastructure services while appropriately utilising open, interoperable, standards-based digital systems. This ecosystem will also ensure the security, confidentiality, and privacy of personal health information.
2. National Health Mission (NHM)
The National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and the National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) are two sub-missions of the National Health Mission (NHM). The primary components of NHM are Health System Strengthening, Reproductive-Maternal-Neonatal-Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCH+A), and Communicable and Noncommunicable Diseases (NCD).
3. Fit India Movement
The Prime Minister of India started the FIT INDIA Movement on August 29th, 2019, with the goal of making exercise an intrinsic part of our daily lives. The Movement's objective is to promote behavioural changes and a more physically active lifestyle. Fit India proposes to undertake numerous projects and hold events to attain the following goals in order to achieve this mission:
India is undergoing a rapid health shift. The transition from curative to preventative care is also predicted to benefit the Indian consumer, with improved health outcomes and cheaper healthcare expenses.
Healthcare services are insufficient without preventive, promotional, and screening components. The advantages of prevention go beyond the management of chronic diseases and living longer lives. Preventive Health and Screening OPDs are critical in hospitals for mainstreaming health promotion and preventive healthcare. Investment in preventative healthcare minimises individual suffering, improves sickness outcomes, and significantly reduces the country's fiscal burden.