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The Indian Healthcare sector

The year 2024 is going to be a y ar where the healthcare domain is all set to relook and revisit its status quo.!  This year is slated to be a year of breakthroughs, building and bridging the gaps and strategising. The sector is  set to revamp and bring about a complete overhaul of the system through a path-breaking journey driven by  innovative technologies and evolving business models.

The healthcare industry is on a bandwagon of being ceaseless in the wake of change and challenges in recent  times and they intend to keep their winning streak on in the upcoming year as well. The industry is set to captivate the Indian market creating a niche environment nourished and shaped by an innovation mindset, technological advancements like artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), big data and revolutionary healthcare  models. The pulse of the industry is extremely positive which is ready to take up challenges head on. As we peek into the year that beckons we foresee the health sector frog leaping primarily driven by the adoption of cutting-edge technology.

The roadmap ahead is etched out with the industry aiming to shift gears in terms of moving over from a  treatment based approach to a preventive-based approach for curing diseases. As we march into a new year the 3 P’s are going to be the crux of healthcare, i.e. patient centricity, personalisation and precision. The healthcare mandate for the upcoming year seems promising which includes bridging the divide between affordable and accessible healthcare, and curtailing costs to  provide equitable healthcare for all.

The government aims to provide inclusive and sustainable healthcare for the population at large. Healthcare spending of 2.5 per cent of GDP is what the government intends to devote towards this sector by 2025. Surely the
government is bent on revamping the system and turning 2024 into a milestone year for the healthcare sector. The industry which has been rising exponentially in the recent past is set to reach $65 billion by 2024 and is  touted to increase to $120 billion by 2030. Digitisation is reshaping the healthcare landscape and technology-driven solutions are helping to bridge the gap, a trend which is expected to continue in 2024 as well.

Dr Kirti Chadha,Chief Scientific Officer, Metropolis Healthcare

Expert Speak

Transitioning into 2024, the focus on diagnostic innovation takescentre stage, addressing infectious diseases and revolutionising the approach to non-communicable diseases (NCDs). These changes underscore the pivotal roles of technology, investments, and collaborative efforts. In 2024, investments are directed towards critical areas such as innovation, research and development, technology upgrading, healthcare infrastructure, and fortifying patient safety measures.

Advances in next-generation sequencing, AI-driven analysis, and precision medicine redefine our understanding of individual disease susceptibilities, setting the stage for personalised diagnostic and treatment strategies, enhancing clinical outcomes, and improving patient quality of life. Early detection of NCDs through minimally invasive tests like liquid biopsies and AI-aided analysis of retinal scans for diabetic retinopathy holds immense potential.


Anil Matai, Director General, Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI)

As we look ahead to 2024, the pharmaceutical sector is poised for sustained growth and innovation. The sector is  expected to further leverage collaborative efforts, invest in cutting-edge R&D, and uphold the highest standards of quality to meet the evolving healthcare needs of the nation. In 2024, we anticipate a continued partnership between the government and the pharmaceutical industry, driving advancements, fostering  innovation, and ultimately contributing to a healthier and more resilient society. One of the awaited milestones in 2024 is the establishment of the Specialized Patent Benches. These dedicated benches will play a crucial role in the adjudication of complex scientific and technical issues involved in pharmaceutical patents, fostering a climate conducive to innovation, and ensuring fair competition within the industry. Addressing the complexity of clinical trial regulations, the industry is hopeful for regulatory support that enables parallel launches in India.

Streamlining these processes will not only expedite market entry but also contribute to a more patient-centric approach, ensuring timely access to innovative and life-changing medicines. Quality remains paramount in our commitment to providing safe and effective pharmaceuticals. The industry looks forward to the upgradation of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) to bring it at par with WHO-GMP which would enable us to reinforce our dedication towards maintaining the highest quality and safety standards.

The pharma sector remains at the forefront of India’s healthcare landscape, and with the collective efforts of all
stakeholders, 2024 holds promise for further elevating the industry’s global standing and steering the industry  towards a paradigm shift – from volume to value leadership.


 

Kamal Shah,Co-Founder, NephroPlus

In 2024, the health sector should see its fair share of advancements and challenges. The coming year holds the promise for novel approaches and will therefore prove to be pivotal in that sense. The World Kidney Day Joint Steering Committee has mentioned that 2024 will be the year of ‘Kidney Health for All’ with the core endeavour being, ‘Advancing Equitable Access to Care and ‘Optimal Medication Practice’. It is expected to lead to a better
understanding of personalised medicine in nephrology. Therefore, the outlook for the health sector in 2024 in terms of kidney health and nephrology in general, can be characterised by optimism and challenges. Technological advancements, personalised medicine, and increased awareness have the potential to change the way kidney-related conditions can be managed.

 


Dr S Narayani, Business Head,
Fortis Hospitals

The Indian healthcare industry is experiencing significant and rapid growth. Rebuilding focus on following a healthy and active lifestyle will help prevent hypertension, diabetes, and heart ailments to a great  extent. Advancements in technology are enabling doctors to offer wider treatment options to patients. From minimally invasive surgeries to robotics, the procedures have come a long way helping patients with precision surgeries and  a better life ahead. Also, the usage of wearable devices has helped in monitoring patients even from remote locations, especially  those who do not have specialised doctorsin their geographies. Greater utilisation of artificial intelligence and machine learning for diagnostics, treatment planning, and predictive analytics to improve patient outcomes.

In the ever-changing landscape of the healthcare segment, marked by transformative trends and shifting demands, the sector is positioned for significant growth in the foreseeable future. This trajectory is powered by  advancements in technology, a commitment to patient-centric care, and the seamless integration of innovative healthcare solutions.

 


Dr BS Ajaikumar,  Executive Chairman,
HealthCare Global Enterprises

We will see technology making the representation of reality even more interesting than reality itself. Robots and haptic sensory feedback will continue to add significant and sustainable value to site location, visualisation, and human error mitigation. Healthcare will move up the value chain with the use of a vast array of technologies  including robotic surgery, laser therapies, extended reality, molecular targeted imaging, digital pathology, and cellular immunooncology therapy.

Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and big data analysis will increasingly help in critical areas of healthcare  like accurate diagnosis and early disease detection, minimising relapse risks, and reducing mortality rates. Going forward,  advancements in the form of customisedcancer vaccines and gene editing will help us reimagine the future of cancer  care and cure across the globe. Our towns and villages needprofessionally managed and well-equipped hospitals to attract best-inclass doctors, nurses, administrative and housekeeping staff, and conscientious healthcare activists. Building such a system will be a win-win for the community at large, as both  service providers and patients won’t need to look at metros to seek job opportunities or to avail of medical treatment.

In my opinion, the government has the better option of playing the role of monitoring agency, thereby incentivising efficient hospitals and penalising the suspect units. It should also set up an autonomous regulatory body to monitor the fund allocation and on ground performance of private hospitals and insurance companies. Another need of the hour is an advisory body comprising domain experts, technocrats, and government executives to  ensure prudent and purposeful healthcare policies.

Offering subsidised rates to all patients, rich and poor, will never help a hospital achieve sustainable growth. It is my earnest hope that 2024 will see more conversations around the need for adopting a value-based model thriving  on cross-subsidy, where the qualityof care is the same, both for affluent patients paying a premium and poor patients availing of subsidised rates.

 


Abhishek Batni / Prashant VV,
Consultant,
Avalon Consulting

In the dynamic realm of India’s Healthcare and Pharma sectors, the year 2024 beckons with promise and challenges alike. Specific trends in patient behaviour induced by COVID-19 will continue to accelerate, e.g. Telemedicine and Remote Healthcare have become mainstream with offerings by leading private players. PE firms, MNC players, and large national hospital chains will focus on acquiring smaller standalone private hospitals (in Tier I, II, and III cities).

Digital technologies will find increased usage across various healthcare areas including diagnosis technologies  service delivery enhancement, optimising healthcare delivery and Point of Care Testing in remote areas.
2024 will see the medical devices industry coming under full regulatory scrutiny by CDSCO. Similarly, there  will be an increased thrust on the standardisation of diagnostic labs with the widespread adoption of NABL / QCI accreditations.

The challenge for export growth in formulations will likely arise from pricing pressures in the US market, heightened competition, and regulatory compliance issues. Exports will grow faster, and successful Indian  exporters are poised for faster growth, having a blend of conventional products and complex generics (such as injectables, inhalation, sprays, etc.), biosimilars, and innovative branded products. R&D will be mainly focussed on new formulation/delivery changes (complex generics).

NCE introductions are unlikely to be significant. The Indian healthcare industry is poised for significant growth in 2024.  Government initiatives, focusing on rural healthcare expansion, diagnostics, and R&D, complement the private sector’s capacity-building efforts. Key trends include the enduring impact of COVID induced transformations, hospital sector consolidation, increased manufacturing indigenisation, and the rise of digital healthcare. Companies will need to emphasise volume-driven strategies, quality standards, and digital patient interaction. As these sectors evolve, a dynamic interplay of government support, industry consolidation, and
strategic adaptation signals a resilient and adaptive future.

 


 

Jasdeep Singh, Group CEO,
CARE Hospitals Group

Several compelling trends are poised to reshape the industry, including continued consolidation and expansion into Tier II cities, the integration of cutting-edge technologies, and an increased focus on preventive healthcare. A pivotal trend shaping the healthcare outlook for 2024 is the seamless integration of cutting-edge technologies and artificial intelligence (AI). Anticipated in 2024 is a significant surge in clinical talent, particularly in super specialities, as the healthcare sector embraces innovation and niche development.

With a focus on developing niches, the healthcare sector is set to witness a renaissance in super-specialised fields. Innovations in diagnostic tools, treatment methodologies, and precision medicine are expected to redefine  the standards of patient care. A notable trend gaining prominence in 2024  is the magnification of homecare services and continuous monitoring. This strategic shift aligns with the growing emphasis on preventive healthcare, recognising the significance of proactive measures in  maintaining overall well-being.The healthcare sector’s outlook for 2024  is characterised by a convergence of transformative trends that promise to redefine the industry landscape.

As the healthcare sector navigates through 2024, it stands at the intersection of technological innovation,  strategic expansion, and a holistic approach to patient well-being. The anticipated trends promise a future marked by  improved accessibility, efficiency, and overall healthcare outcomes, shaping a  healthcare landscape that is responsive to the evolving needs of a dynamic society.


 

Dr Aloke Mullick, Group CGO,
OMNI Hospitals

As the health sector grapples with new challenges every day, parallel new technologies pave the way for the coming years. The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in healthcare is an aspect which could be a game
changer for the healthcare industry. An upcoming trend in the health sector is the use of telemedicine. Telemedicine can be defined as the interaction of a healthcare provider and patient remotely. This will revolutionise the way we approach healthcare, keeping the process fast, efficient and secure. All in all, the health sector has a positive growth trajectory with technology atthe forefront to empower healthcare professionals and patients. As technology takes over every aspect of this sector, it is imperative to be mindful of the potential drawbacks and choose the wise way forward.

 


 

Balasubramanian Sankaranarayanan,
President and CEO,
Thryve Digital Health

One of the most important trends that we will witness in 2024 is the augmented usage of AI, especially Gen AI, in healthcare applications. We have already seen how digital transformation enabled healthcare providers to achieve better  patient outcomes in the wake of the pandemic, and now we are witnessing the democratisation of Generative AI. While the AI LLM providers have been evolving their models to cater to specific industries including healthcare – we are still waiting to see which set of use cases will ramp from Pilots / POCs to production scale. While we see a  lot of focus and investment in running Pilots around the customer-facing ‘effectiveness’ use cases, we are also seeing a lot of interest in engineering and operations-facing “efficiency” use cases – such as exploring the use of  AI to drive automation of coding and testing, processing core business ops, as well as in areas such as data security, which has always been a critical focus for healthcare providers.

 


DS Negi, CEO,RGCIRC

Beyond vaccines, innovative treatment approaches like targeted therapies and immunotherapies gained traction in India. These personalised and immune-boosting strategies are expected to see even wider adoption in 2024 and beyond, offering new hope for patients. The other exciting trend reshaping healthcare in 2023 is the growing integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI), particularly in radiology and imaging. AI’s ability to analyse vast datasets empowers radiologists by identifying subtle patterns and anomalies in scans, leading to faster, more precise diagnoses. This not only expedites the diagnostic process but also minimises the possibility of missed details, ultimately improving patient outcomes. There is little doubt that the usage of AI in the healthcare sector will  expand further in 2024.

 

 


 

Sudarshan B, Chief Executive Officer, Apollo Adlux Hospital

As we stand on the precipice of 2024, the healthcare landscape is undergoing a seismic shift. Technological  advancements, evolving demographics, and lingering pandemic effects are all painting a vibrant, complex picture of the future. Navigating this  terrain requires a keen understanding of the projections that lie ahead. The rapid evolution of technology continues to be a driving force in healthcare. In 2024, we anticipate groundbreaking advancements that will redefine diagnostics, treatment modalities, and patient outcomes. From the integration of artificial intelligence in diagnostics to the widespread adoption of telemedicine, the year ahead holds the promise of a more interconnected and technologically advanced healthcare landscape.

Artificial intelligence will play a starring role in 2024, with applications in diagnosis, treatment planning, and personalised medicine. Expect AIpowered tools to analyse vast amounts of data, identifying patterns and offering insights that human minds might miss. From predicting disease outbreaks to optimising drug regimens, AI will
become an indispensable healthcare  partner. We can expect advancements in genomics and personalised medicine, where treatments are tailored to individual genetic profiles and health histories. This promises to improve treatment efficacy and reduce side effects.

As the year unfolds, new trends and developments will emerge, further reshaping this dynamic landscape. Stay informed, stay engaged, and be a part of shaping a future where healthcare is accessible, equitable,
and life-affirming for all.


 

Vaibhav Tewari, Co-Founder & CEO,
Portea Medical

As we step into 2024, our goals reflect an unwavering commitment to continued innovation and improved accessibility. Collaborations with pharmaceutical companies are on the horizon to elevate chronic disease management, aligning  with evolving patient preferences. There will be a continued focus on optimising people management and operations through AI-driven solutions in the healthcare industry. Digitalisation, AI, and telehealth will continue streamlining  patient records, enhance communication,and enable remote consultations.

The focus on workforce development through advanced training modules and augmented reality applications is inevitable, ensuring professionals stay abreast of the latest advancements. Government policies with increased
budgets for health-tech AI indicate a dedication to enhancing healthcare outcomes and data security. However, a strategic approach is imperative in 2024, prioritising data privacy and cybersecurity. Healthcare institutions must implement robust systems to protect patient information, ensuring the seamless integration of health tech innovations for improved patient outcomes and progress toward universal healthcare.

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