Home healthcare: a new standard for India

Nitin Nag, Regional Director, Cloudnine Hospitals Group, Bengaluru, explains why the pandemic has proved itself to be a catalyst for progress in health care, enhancing the benefits and growth potential of the home health industry.

The current pandemic has in several ways shifted healthcare. There has been an ongoing need to incorporate immediate and accessible healthcare, particularly digital solutions, throughout the region and the world. As we have seen changes in the scope and pace of service delivery, virtual health has shifted.

The infectious nature of the virus and the message of ‘stay at home’ meant that new approaches to provide healthcare services had to be sought by the healthcare fraternity.

New normal: Remote / home health demand

The new standard is that demand is at an all-time high for remote / home health solutions ranging from telemedicine, home laboratory, home pharmacy, and home health monitoring. Although there was the opportunity to provide remote / home health services, the dynamic of customers changed dramatically after COVID-19. Unless it is mandatory, the propensity to postpone a hospital visit is very high, making home health almost an apparent necessity.

To explain the shift in market dynamics, look at some recent trends

  • Many telephone consultation platforms saw a 500 percent rise in transaction volumes
  • More than 60% of post-COVID-19 users using remote services (consulting/laboratory/pharma) were first-time users.
  • Changes in market patterns have pushed healthcare players to either launch or improve their portfolio of home services.
  • In health care facilities (hospitals), most of the colleagues I talk to regard home health as a strategic play in the close (< six months) to mid-term (< 18 months). Those that are not are substantially cash strapped, which prevents them from doing so.
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