India having a massive population is an ideal place for strengthening up telemedicine system. The large number of Indian population i.e. 70% lives in rural area and rural areas don’t have good medical facilities, so telemedicine is much required in these areas. The markets of telemedicine have been growing continuously since the invention of high speed internet in the developing countries.
Since there are no transportation fares, very nominal consultation charges, the cost of telemedicine is lower than the conventional medical practices; this is also a prime factor in increasing telemedicine markets.
Let us explore what “Telemedicine” is and about its market in India and the World. Telemedicine uses telecommunication and information technology to diagnose and treat patients from a distance in remote places. The main concept of telemedicine is to reduce the gap between patients and doctors who are at distance.
According to the research by BCC, the global telemedicine markets will reach $23.8 billion by 2016 and $55.1 billion by 2021.
With its large medical and IT manpower and competence in these areas, India has emerged as a leader in the field of telemedicine over the years. The younger and the middle age groups are mainly inclined towards the E-Health. There is huge demand for online consultations as it helps to get expert’s advice for any diseases from anywhere in India or world.
According to Ken Research, telemedicine market in India has performed outstanding and has grown at a CAGR of 20.4% during 2010-2015. In India, the centres run by NGO’s contribute the most in terms of number of centres with market share of 56.1%.
Telemedicine can be classified as Teleradiology, Teleconsultation, Telecardiology, Teledermatology etc. Teleradiology is the largest market in India; it involves transmission of X-Ray, CT, MRI images to the doctors sitting at another location. Second highest market is Teleconsultancy, and the third is Tele-ICU.
Challenges to Telemedicine in India:
- More than 40% of rural India experiences power cut for 10-12 hours a day, even battery backup system doesn’t work here. In this technology the continuous availability of power is must.
- As India is known for its diversity, this is also a major challenge in expanding telemedicine network in rural areas. Over 25 different languages, more than 1000 mother tongue causes a barrier of language between patient and doctor.
- The initial investment is high making it financially unfeasible.
The major players in telemedicine in India are Hospisoft Pvt. Ltd., Manipal Hospital, Apollo Hospitals, Aerotel Medical Systems, IBM Healthcare and Lifesciences, Wipro and others.