30 Minute Interview
Innovation Across the Value Chain Will Help Medical Technology Players Create New Markets
The Indian healthcare industry which has been witnessing
a significant level of growth during the past few years is much influenced by
the advances in medical technology. In fact, medical technology is driving the
growth wheel for India. Giving an overview of the latest trends in medical technology,
Dinesh Bindiganavale, IEEE Member and Healthcare Consultant, speaks with
It is said that medical technology innovations are shifting
to emerging markets like China, India and Brazil. Where does India stand in
IEEE Member & Healthcare Consultant
India is at the forefront as an emerging market for adapting
innovative technologies in healthcare. Infrastructure, geography, market segmentation
and economy are key variants that provide the drive. The sample size of the
population to research and validate a particular innovation is another example
of India being an emerging market leader. Other factors that have accelerated
the innovation have been the convergence of various technologies that now find
big applications in healthcare. People with abundant technical skills, passion
to do something new and the large talent pool facilitate innovation. The latest
has been several startups, domain experts and system engineering companies working
on disruptive innovations that will drive older technologies obsolete replacing
with value added newer concepts and engineered products that will change the
delivery of the healthcare system.
What is the size of medical technology market in India
and what are the main segments?
I would put the size to be around $ 40 billion per year with a trend to double
this by 2015.
The main constituents are:
- Medical care providers: physicians, specialist clinics,
nursing homes and hospitals;
- Diagnostic service centres and pathology laboratories;
- Medical equipment manufacturers;
- Contract research organisations (CRO's), pharmaceutical
- Third party support service providers (catering, laundry).
What are the trends in medical technology market today?
What are the drivers of this market in India?
Revenues from the healthcare sector account for 5.2 per cent of the GDP, making
it the third largest growth segment in India. The Indian health insurance business
is fast growing at 50 per cent and is projected to grow to $ six billion by
2011. Healthcare delivery and pharmaceuticals account for nearly 75 per cent
of the total healthcare market. India has the fastest growing healthcare IT
market in Asia, with an expected growth rate of 22 per cent, followed closely
by China and Vietnam.
A recent study has predicted 15-20 per cent growth for the Indian medical equipment
market and estimated market size to be about $ five billion by 2012. Funds in
the Indian healthcare sector have been largely private. The private sector provides
60 per cent of all outpatient care in India and as much as 40 per cent of all
in-patient care. It is estimated that nearly 70 per cent of all hospitals and
40 per cent of hospital beds in the country are in the private sector.
The key drivers are as below:
- Rising health awareness
- Shift to lifestyle related diseases
- Increasing government expenditure on healthcare sector
- Rise of health insurance sector
- Private sector companies owning and managing hospitals
- Growth in medical tourism
- Cost-effective surgical services
What are the challenges faced by the medical technology
industry in India?
India is the second most populous country in the world. Challenges which are
faced by medical technology industry in India are:
Healthcare structure in the country is over-burdened by increasing population
- India faces the twin epidemic of continuing/emerging infectious
diseases as well as chronic degenerative diseases.
- Economic deprivation in a large segment of population
results in poor access to healthcare.
- Expenditure on health by the Government continues to be
- Lack of education, gender inequality and explosive growth
of population contribute to increasing burden of disease
- India has 48 doctors per 100,000 persons which is fewer
than in developed nations
- Wide urban-rural gap in the availability of medical services:
- There is a marked shortage of trained nurses
- Limited health benefits to employees
- Health insurance expensive
- Curative health services not accessible to rural populations
How will medical technology change the future of the Indian
Innovation across the value chain in areas of product, process, business model,
service delivery, technology etc., keeping frugality in mind will help the medical
technology players create new markets in the lower income segments and leapfrog
to the next level of growth
Health IT is going to shape the health delivery process globally. Health IT
can start as simply as taking a phone call to a doctor, up to building a seamlessly
integrated healthcare workflow.
On the one hand, IT functions as an enabler in delivering faster and more accurate
medical information to end users and at the same time reducing the manual labour-intensive
An example is the use of the Computer Physicians Order Entry (CPOE) system that
helps doctors to order different laboratory tests and prescribe medication for
Most of us are moving towards an electronic health record (EHR) system that
unifies patients records.
Few people realise that the healthcare industry led the way in implementing
wireless voice communications. The system integration of wireless voice communications
with other applications like voice recognition, telemetry, patient monitoring
alarms and real-time location tracking will allow hospitals to streamline their
This should have the effect of cutting response time, improving information
flow between patients and caregivers and overall patient care.
Interactive communications tools have evolved to help the healthcare industry
tackle real-world challenges such as the need to extend geographical reach to
provide healthcare in remote areas, deployment of healthcare professional resources
and the reduction of operating costs.
The convergence of broadband penetration into homes and the emergence of more
sophisticated portable medical devices are creating an opportunity for harnessing
innovative technology to push the point of healthcare delivery to the home.
Telemonitoring and videoconferencing with care co-coordinators will enable the
management of patients with chronic diseases away from the acute care setting.
Some technology applications are:
- Use of biometrics, RFID, and barcode to establish patient
identity before treatment administration
- Bedside clinical information displays to keep patients
engaged in their own care
- Computer navigation via integration of a multitude of
medical imaging datasets through the real-time display of anatomy during surgery.
This will be taken further via telemedicine, head up displays and haptics
Knowledge bases will increasingly be deployed to bring about best evidence healthcare.
Evidence-based driven guidelines will bring about rule-based diagnosis and treatment.
Algorithm-driven diagnosis is already well tried and tested and will be implemented
in EMR to bring about cost-effective diagnosis and increasingly, the same will
apply to the treatment of chronic diseases.