This a guest post by Atit Jain, CEO & Co-founder, Pluss
‘Hyperlocal’ is poised to become the new catchphrase in the eCommerce industry and is well-positioned to become the reigning trend in the mobile commerce revolution. This has made possible the delivery of everything from groceries to medicines and healthcare services, directly from nearby stores, pharmacists and healthcare providers along with faster delivery and lower shipping cost. Hyperlocal technology is also changing the way patients navigate their way in the healthcare industry, offering tools to find local healthcare providers, diagnostic centres as well as pharmacists to get their healthcare needs and lab tests delivered on time.
India has a large unorganised health care industry, which is worth billions of dollars. In a country where everything gets delivered at the doorstep in a short span of time, the problem of timely medicine delivery and access to healthcare facilities has remained unsolved. Meanwhile, people have to bear dysfunctional market behaviour like lack of infrastructure facilities, inaccessibility to right medical services, the huge population in metro cities with limited access to top non-local medical resources and rising preference for healthy patients rather than sick ones. If we further delve into the $3 billion Indian Diagnostic market, there are gaps in the monitoring and logging of medical records of every chronic patient who undergoes routine checkups. As patients in India prefer having personal relationships with their healthcare providers, hyperlocal startups in the private sector are reinventing the ways in which patients can discover and buy healthcare services locally. This would allow them to navigate through the intricate network of diagnostic centres, doctors and healthcare providers. Not only do these hyperlocal platforms benefit patients by providing a modernised way to secure appointments with qualified local physicians, they also benefit healthcare professionals by filling empty appointment slots thus decreasing the percentage of no-show patients.
Today, everyone is moved by the concept of on-demand. They are fascinated by the ease of clicking a button and getting what they want. So why not bring doctors and all the medical facilities to everyone’s reach, and disrupt the space by using mobile devices that get our attention for more than half of the day? With India expecting 200 million smartphone users, by 2016, telemedicine will be yet another crucial aspect of the hyperlocal intrusion, taking a lead in healthcare. Doctors and nurses will be seen reminding patients to take their medicine or helping them quit smoking through video consulting. They will also assist people in tracking the first sign of illnesses and get lab tests done from clinics using new, connected devices. Although a telemedicine healthcare facility will not be able to replace the golden standards of traditional personalized care, it can cut down the efforts being put on frequent visits to the doctor, thereby making healthcare affordable and more convenient for both the patient as well as the healthcare provider.
Hyperlocal healthcare players are also coming up with facilities of video and audio conferencing with doctors over the phone. Moreover, with people becoming more cognizant of their healthcare with wearable devices and other at-home monitoring tools, there will be no lengthier waiting room visits or hassles with travel and parking.
Thanks to the hyperlocal technology intervention, we are rapidly regressing from a large systemic healthcare approach, with doctors wanting to get more local. The next few years are in line for tremendous transformation in the space, with a common goal of making healthcare more affordable, within closer reach, and focused on preventative care.
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