A vital, yet deficient sector
Healthcare is a vital sector. Whilst we all desire to be in a world which travels on the path of growth, this would not be possible if the citizens of this world weren’t assured a healthy life.
Therefore, it is only because of the healthcare industry and its omnipresent influence that society as a whole can function, and progress. This makes healthcare a founding pillar of our society.
While the industry is expected to reach $372 Bn by 2022, its trajectory isn’t as unrestricted as one might imagine. There are numerous barriers that curtail the ability of the sector to truly extend its services to all citizens:
Some key issues which plague the industry are as follows:
1) High Out-Of-Pocket Expenditures: To put the problem into perspective — the average working youth, who serves as the custodian of the family’s health, would need to draw upon their reserves to meet the healthcare expenses a staggering 70% of the time. Sometimes, these sums are so enormous that they can propel people into poverty.
2) Scattered Framework: To truly serve the patient well, an integrated system is needed through which seamless interaction between the patient, the doctors, and the patient’s records is achieved. In the current paradigm, the system is very disjointed, creating communication gaps and information asymmetry between the doctor and the patient.
3) Access to Healthcare in Rural Regions: Healthcare in India is an inequitable trade. The data from community health centres (CHCs) shows a shortfall of 79.9% specialists compared to rural regions’ requirements. Considering that about 65% of the population resides in rural areas, this inadequacy needs to be addressed at the earliest.
4) Inadequate Emphasis on Value Based Care: As per a global survey by IPSOS, about 49% of Indians are dissatisfied with the healthcare system in the country. Since the industry operates on a fee-for-service model, there are important questions being raised about healthcare providers artificially inflating the quotient of their services just to generate a hefty bill.
As the converse of this approach, the value based care system is centred on providing quality healthcare to the patient. Here the monetary reward for the providers is directly linked to the outcome of the treatment. This provides an incentive to healthcare providers for meeting specific measures related to quality and efficiency.
5) Dearth of Chronic Diseases Management Solutions: It wouldn’t be hyperbolic to refer to India as the chronic disease capital of the world. In India, about 21% of the elderly are afflicted by at least one chronic disease. Since chronic diseases account for 80% of deaths in low and middle-income countries, this is surely the crest of an epidemic. Therefore, to ensure the quality of life for all citizens in the country, it is important to develop mechanisms and infrastructures to curb the onset of chronic diseases.
The only way to eradicate these predicaments is HealthTech.
The nascent sector, which is expected to reach $21Bn by 2025, is based on digitizing as many fragments of the industry as possible, and using technology to make the customer’s experience as comfortable, and personalised as possible.
In today’s world, people are more willing to invite HealthTech devices into their daily lives. With wearables and home test kits becoming wildly adopted, especially in the aftermath of the Covid epidemic, HealthTech is already becoming an important part of the Healthcare spectrum.
Having been aware of technology’s ability to invigorate the healthcare sector, and expand its reach to all stratas of society, the Indian Government has launched a more concentrated effort to promote the HealthTech sector. The crux of this newfound approach lies in the NDHM ecosystem.
Regulatory Push by the Government
In September of last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched National Digital Health Mission. The premise behind this mission was to enable consent-based access and the exchange of longitudinal health records of 1Bn+ citizens.
Through NDHM, the Government aims to refine the digital healthcare system that manages crucial digital healthcare data, and create international-grade health records of individuals. The benefits of these will be enormous in ensuring a more conducive environment for the exchange of records between patients, and healthcare professionals.
Essentially, through NDHM, a patient wouldn’t need to appear for diagnostic tests with each doctor’s visit.
NHDM would also ensure greater convenience in accessing necessary health records.
Further, thanks to interoperable systems, insurance claims processing will be expedited due to faster sharing of patient records with insurance companies.
For ensuring mass adoption of this framework, the Government has directed substantial funds. In the Union Budget 2022, the allocation for NDHM went up from Rs 30 Cr in 2021, to Rs 200 Cr. In a post-Covid world, the emphasis on creating holistic healthcare ecosystems is greater than it has ever been. This considerable increase in investment coupled with the increasing focus on hastening the adoption of HealthTech solutions inspires optimism for the sector’s future.
With over 14cr health IDs created, and more than 3000 hospitals boarded, the progress denoted by NDHM has been satisfactory so far, but there is still significant progress to be made.
Ekacare utilises the foundation of this mission to create an integrated closed ecosystem that caters to the patient’s needs, and caters to them in a very in-depth manner.
The Team is a Key Constituent of the New Ecosystem
To accomplish a task as colossal as this, a team that is well-versed in the ecosystem is essential, and that is precisely what Ekacare has.
Ekacare was founded by Vikalp Sahni and Deepak Tuli in 2021. Both of them had amassed considerable experience functioning in pivotal positions at Goibibo. Further, they also helped bring the Aarogya Setu idea to life when the country was ravaged by the pandemic.
Having meticulously observed the prevailing problem statements in the healthcare space, the team developed a conviction to alleviate the pains of the common man in navigating the needlessly treacherous waters of the healthcare system. Thus, they marshaled their treasure trove of insights in building a solution — Ekacare.
A Holistic Product Experience
The simple idea behind Ekacare is making a comprehensive platform that can address every need of a patient.
Too many people get thoroughly exhausted with the scattered healthcare system we have in place. Ekacare aspires to address this by creating an integrated closed ecosystem where people can store all their medical records at a centralised juncture, get a comprehensive portrait of their health, easily book appointments with doctors, measure their heart rate, and understand their ailment based on observed symptoms.
Ekacare also virtually eradicates the gulf of information that usually exists between a physician and their patient. The aggregation framework employed obviates this problem seamlessly. Moreover, with a rather comprehensive teleconsultation framework, Ekacare takes significant strides in increasing access to quality healthcare services in less developed areas.
The data that would be garnered by Ekacare can also be used by insurance companies and other research facilities to specifically calibrate their offerings to entice every stratum of society.
It is truly impressive to behold the scope of initiatives being attempted by Ekacare. The comprehensive manner in which they address their customers is a testament to the power of entrepreneurship in bettering the lives of common people.
Healthcare isn’t just a very viable frontier as a market, it is also the engine on which our world operates.
Therefore, for an industry so fundamental, any deficiency in healthcare operations must be resolved at the earliest. In keeping with this spirit, we need to promote the usage of technology and innovation in addressing these shortcomings.
The Government has also denoted an intent to modernise the industry by launching an ambitious project in the National Data Health Mission.
With NDHM, the government has sought to digitise the entire framework in our country, while removing the gulf of information that usually exists in the ecosystem. While this is a commendable initiative, it needs capable entrepreneurs who can optimise its use cases.
And capable entrepreneurs are precisely the DNA of Ekacare. With a team of individuals who have contributed extensively to the development of the new healthcare ecosystem since its initial stages, Ekacare is acutely aware of every plight of patients. This insight is what motivates the comprehensive offerings the platform extends to its users.
The wide scope of problem statements addressed by Ekacare is truly remarkable. The company has created a unified platform that can cater to every need of the patient, and eliminate long-standing issues in the ecosystem. The customer-centric approach adopted by the company distinguishes them from the competition.
We are very proud to be a part of Ekacare’s journey to redefine the landscape of the healthcare sector one patient at a time.