This article is part of an ongoing BULLETIN series exploring GE’s innovation, technology, and manufacturing initiatives in India.
India’s healthcare sector is one of the largest in terms of revenue and employment generation. And it’s showing no signs of slowing down.
According to the Indian Brand Equity Foundation, the industry will grow to $160 billion by 2017 and touch $280 billion by 2020. India has quickly become a destination for high-end diagnostic services and telemedicine, a sector that is projected to grow to nearly $20 million by 2017. Medical tourism and R&D are also expected to grow at an accelerated pace. And later this year, India’s medical devices industry will scale back capital controls on foreign direct investment, potentially embracing many players into the market. The fresh competition is expected to generate more innovation and reduce healthcare costs.
That’s good news for a country striving to meet the needs of a growing market. The biggest challenge for India is to provide world-class care at affordable rates. The country’s gaps in infrastructure remain substantial because of untapped resources and an inadequate healthcare workforce. In 2011, the country’s hospital bed density stood at 0.7 per 1,000 people, which is significantly lower than WHO guidelines of 3.5 beds per 1,000.
Given the infrastructure hurdles and resource limitations, the future of India’s healthcare lies in technology that would allow for remote diagnosis, monitoring of patients via tools such as video conferencing, and innovative software that would transfer patient information securely and efficiently. Many healthcare providers and companies are developing tools to increase accessibility and improve operational efficiencies.
At Apollo Hospitals, officials recently unveiled eACCESS, a service that provides for specialists around the clock for patients in the Intensive Care Unit. The hospital uses software that allows clinicians to connect and monitor patients in multiple ICUs from one central hub. Clinical data from equipment connected to patients is displayed on a dashboard, allowing for the continuous monitoring of vital data, patients’ electronic records, and laboratory results.
“The integration of information technology and networks have now become the centre of a ‘new era’ where both digital and human aspects are pivotal to the complete patient experience,” said JP Dwivedi, CIO of Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Center. Dwivedi mentioned that improving collaborative data exchange, workflows, mobility and a better financial management system is the next phase of technological evolution in this sector.
Innovation clearly isn’t restricted to hospitals. eVaidya.com offers a medical kiosk that uses advanced telemedicine technology and sophisticated software programs making it easier for patients to self-monitor. Med-tech conglomerate Opto Circuits—another successful Indian company—offers data management and connectivity products that enable seamless integration between hospital technologies and collaboration between medical professionals.
GE is one of the leaders in this evolution process and stands at the forefront of development in effective but low-cost innovations. GE Healthcare’s PET/CT Discovery IQ—a cancer detection machine that is 40 percent cheaper than similar equipment—is helping to increase scalability and access for a larger number of oncology centers. This gets at the heart of GE Healthcare’s mandate: to further solutions that meet the demand for increased access, enhanced quality and more affordable healthcare across India.
This article was produced on behalf of GE by the Quartz marketing team and not by the Quartz editorial staff.