Research Spotlight

Health 2.0: The Future of Healthcare

India’s healthcare landscape is undergoing tremendous change. This transformation calls for a deeper understanding of the stakeholders in the healthcare system, and the challenges and opportunities they face. Presented here are some of the highlights from the recent conference organised by ISB’s Max Institute of Healthcare Management and Health 2.0 on November 10, 2017.

What will India’s healthcare ecosystem look like a decade from now? What type of medical tools, disruptive technologies and new entrepreneurial models will evolve? What factors will determine the adoption of new technologies in hospital settings? What are Indian companies doing to meet the increasingly complex healthcare needs of India? Is cutting-edge healthcare technology and innovation reaching people in rural settings? What are the investment trends and the role of grant funding platforms and VC firms in funding India’s healthcare sector?

As consumers demand more convenience and information in healthcare decision-making, there is a call for greater coordination among stakeholders such as doctors, pharmaceutical companies, academicians, investors and the government. In order to enhance greater knowledge sharing among healthcare stakeholders, the Indian School of Business hosted the Fourth Annual Health 2.0 India Conference on Friday, November 10, 2017. ISB’s Max Institute of Healthcare Management partnered with Health 2.0. The conference aimed to serve as a global platform to promote healthcare technology by showcasing cutting-edge innovation.  Members of the upper echelons of several top hospital managements across India and abroad, medical practitioners, researchers, pharma professionals, and entrepreneurs attended.

Professor Rajendra Srivastava, Dean of the Indian School of Business welcomed the participants and familiarized them with ISB’s mission of furthering efficient healthcare delivery. Prof. Srivastava highlighted the sheer complexity surrounding India’s healthcare system. He cautioned that while India celebrates the fact that it has the world’s youngest population, it also needs to be highly cognizant of its ageing population. Professor Srivastava drew participants’ attention to India’s increasing healthcare demands and the need to embrace technology, innovation and new business entrepreneurial models in Indian healthcare.

The speakers and the panellists at the conference highlighted the need for coordination among stakeholders, the opportunities and challenges of the Indian healthcare sector, and the development of health entrepreneurship. For instance, Matthew Holt, Co-Chairman of the Health 2.0 conferences exhorted the participants to visualize an effective mesh of technology and healthcare over the next decade. Mr. Holt stressed that the future will soon demand new types of medical tools, disruptive healthcare technologies, and new business entrepreneurial models. To make India’s healthcare more accessible and effective, stakeholders will have to work towards decentralizing healthcare to streamline the four major elements of consumer services: inform, connect, diagnose and treat.

The common thread of discussion across numerous panel discussions was the need to empower customers. Shashank ND, Founder and CEO of Practo, spoke with Prof. Sarang Deo, Associate Professor at the Indian School of Business, about consumer-driven models in healthcare.

The use of disruptive healthcare technology in India was another theme that drew interest and elicited key insights. In a panel discussion moderated by Professor Deepa Mani, Associate Professor and Executive Director at ISB’s Srini Raju Centre for IT and Networked Economy, the panellists stressed on improvements in operational efficiency in technological use and greater partnerships between organized health providers and startups. Short case studies based on Apollo Hospitals and MCURA highlighted the efficient use of disruptive technology in addressing issues related to cervical cancer and reduction of outpatients’ waiting time in hospitals.

Healthcare stakeholders thus must think global but act local. A common idea that echoed throughout the panel discussions was the uniqueness of the Indian healthcare market. Panellists pointed out that mere borrowing and replication of entrepreneurial and technological health models from other countries may not work in the Indian scenario given its healthcare organization and functioning. Using pilot studies and case studies and testing them in the Indian context was suggested as the way to go.

Highlighting the vastness of the healthcare sector, the panellists argued for greater coordination and synergy-creation among stakeholders. India’s fragmented healthcare system stifles healthcare entrepreneurs’ ability to raise funds. After all, which venture capital (VCs) would be willing to fund an enterprise that lacks information on demand and opportunities? A similar concern voiced by panellists was the lack of healthcare regulation in India, poor use of health technology in rural areas, and ineffective healthcare delivery in rural areas and Tier 2 and 3 cities. India’s healthcare laws are mostly unable to provide the required regulatory mechanisms to the dynamic healthcare sector. Also discussed was the increasing role of the government in providing rural healthcare and the need for greater private and government investments in promoting healthcare infrastructure and developing self-sustaining rural health initiatives.

Finally, healthcare entrepreneurs were reminded that the dynamic and unorganised nature of the Indian healthcare system calls for greater trust and transparency in the healthcare value chain at all levels.

A complete list of the panellists can be accessed here.

Catherine Xavier is a writer with the Centre for Learning and Management Practice.