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Wellness, Healthcare, Digital Technology – Gaining Techceleration

The pandemic has ensured that a new industry has rapidly come into existence which will eventually gross up to several trillion dollars of value. This is digitally enabled medicine.

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The pandemic has ensured that a new industry has rapidly come into existence which will eventually gross up to several trillion dollars of value. This is digitally enabled medicine. 

In the past. whenever the 'digitization' index for industries got put up for scrutiny - health care was usually ranked as conservative, high touch and low tech. It ranked much behind retail, entertainment, automotive, banking, etc.

Healthcare remained an exception because it was privileged. Consumers went to meet physicians. Consultation was done face-to-face. Paper files were handed to patients. Metal filing cabinets in a clinic held your records. Even a doctor’s phone number was a rare data point. 

Now, faced with overwhelming disruption in the form of a pandemic every aspect of normal life is in a lockdown. However, health concerns have peaked. Consumers and healthcare providers are per force embracing remote diagnosis, internet enablement, continuous communication and data analytics. Video conferencing, tele-consultation, continuous device based reporting and computer assisted support are being made mainstream almost overnight.

The entire value chain is under a high tide of digitization –including but not limited to - hospitals, medical practitioners, wellness brands, self-care apps, insurers, pharmaceutical retailers, technology majors and data processing companies.

The source of much technological innovation –America- also finds that its healthcare sector is ill-equipped for such a change. It is a $3 trillion market by itself. This gives a sense of the value opportunity, globally.

Sensing this opportunity, venture capital, private equity and corporate investment has flooded in throughout 2020. There are more than 100 listed unicorns (each $1 bn+ in value) in the healthcare space. 

Google, Amazon, Apple are all active players in this world. Google invested in AmWell, a telematic operator whose market value is in billions of dollars already. No matter the varying extent of public or private involvement, the market sees value everywhere. In China, jdHealth, the pharmacy run by jd.com made a whopping $3.5 Billion IPO in Hong Kong.

The numerous data linkages and customer lifetime value is making investors salivate. A lot of lifestyle disease management - hypertension, diabetes, gut health, etc. will be managed and monitored by wearable / implanted devices reporting into a cloud. The bigger leap will happen when hospital basics can be kitted and rolled out at one's home. It will need a lot of work on standards being defined, responsibilities being classified and contingencies being managed.

Will I retain rights over my data if my watch, tooth sensor, armband, room sensor and refrigerator all report on me 24/7?

Insurance - liability - settlements are another area where data management and set protocols will be severely disrupted.

Will an Apple watch and Alexa replace my local physician? Will it be cheaper, faster and better scenario? Will my sensor be authorized to call an ambulance and auto invoke my insurance? There are hundreds of such questions, answering each of these links to supplementary questions. Each scenario has associated data streams and a multi stage , monetization potential .

But this is most unlike a ‘pitch and start’ business adventurism. ‘Failing early’ is not an option for health startups. Partnerships, processes and moral ownership must all work, in tandem.

That said, the digital healthcare industry has arrived and truly brought the future along with it.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


Tags assigned to this article:
digital technology wellness Digital Healthcare

Shubhranshu Singh

The author is a global marketer, story teller, brand builder, columnist, and business leader. His interests include studying social change, impact of technology on consumer lives, understanding young consumers, history and politics.

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