By Vamsi Krishna Talasila
Post the emergence of Covid, the world is going through quivering changes and a big shift in the health and wellness industry has been consumers’ interest in personalised services made available to them on a digital platform. Consumers post Covid view ‘wellness’ very differently with a much broader lens, encompassing health, fitness, nutrition, appearance, sleep and mindfulness.
At a time when holistic health and wellness is gaining the ground amongst masses, the current budget comes as a great boost to the healthcare ecosystem. The budget has truly focused on the issue of mental health that has come to the fore post the emergence of Covid. The announcement of a ‘national tele-mental health programme’ is a great initiative. Also, the government has taken positive steps to make health care accessible to all and bring an overall reform by announcing a spending of 2.5-3% of its total GDP on healthcare.
During the pandemic, healthtech start-ups immensely contributed towards innovation and research, especially in the field of AI powered smart interactive applications and solutions. This budget will boost them to strengthen their services and offerings.
As per a recent McKinney research, the global market for health and wellness products and services is growing by 5 to 10 percent per year. With consumers seeking personalized wellness focussed offerings, technology stands as the unique enabler of all things digital.
Listed below are few technology trends that will have a huge impact in the health tech sector.
- Relational AI:
Artificial intelligence (AI) builds smart machines that are capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence. At a time when consumers are seeking personalized solutions for their specific health needs, AI is the tool that will connect them to their respective solution channels. This feature, wherein the user gets relatively connected to their healers, happens through ‘Relational Artificial Intelligence (RAI)’. RAI is a new terminology in the technology domain that would be the way forward towards high-end intelligent machines enabling digital relationships with humans.
Relational AI enables generating health and well-being digital partners that could act as wellbeing coaches or anti-loneliness agents.
- Scalability & affordability:
Tech innovation is the key to helping everyone enjoy holistic health in a way that suits them the most. Consumers today want a seamless digital experience to schedule appointments, get mindfulness tips, and receive essential communication and advice on their health. What really appeals to the end-users is a one-stop digital health platform for their physical, emotional, mental and psychological requirements with personalized features available in multiple pricing options that can be accessed from anywhere in the world. Such a platform can also be marketed across the globe at a much lesser cost, offering tailored solutions as per its users.
3. Internet of things (IoT):
Connected devices are a great revolution in itself. Wearable connected devices enable users to monitor various factors of their health and create a digitized and connected economy. IoT and wearables have emerged as a huge global force of social change. This is great for users as connected health technologies improve engagement and health and prevention outcomes across a variety of metrics. With customised healthcare at our fingertips, people can have more authority over their health. When users are more engaged, providers are informed, and payment methods are accessible, everyone stands to benefit.
4. Immersive technology
Rich user experience has become a key factor in the success of any app. Immersive technologies such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR) replace or expand the physical world, creating a virtual space where users can see and interact. Immersive technology is also a way to connect and bring old, ancient ways of healing into the current scenario and package it in a way that appeals to the end-user. A person sitting at the comfort of his room can be mentally transformed to the calm and tranquil Himalayas through the power of such technologies. Also, technologies like sentiment analysis, mood hacking etc., will enable machines to exercise emotional intelligence and interpret users’ emotional states and adapt behaviours accordingly.
5. Big data in healthcare:
All the above things can happen only when we have Big data in place. Analytics and Big data in healthcare technology trends are transforming healthcare as we know it today as they enable the end-user to make informative decisions. The largest medical structures in the time ahead are going to use devices that will scrutinize patients’ welfare and aid medical oracles to provide high-quality care. This initiative will enable individuals to be empowered with tailored, relevant information and thereby motivate them in their health and wellness journey.
Overall, the current trends in technology have huge potential to bring about positive growth in the Health-Tech industry, given that post Covid, consumers have truly realised the significance of good health and holistic wellness. This has created huge opportunities for experts and innovators to bring new user-friendly inventions. The market for wellness apps is growing rapidly over the past few years and will see huge demand in the coming years. With advancements in technology happening at the speed of “a decade in days”, a majority of D2C (direct to consumer) technologies will bring about more growth in e-commerce than in other channels for the next several years.
(The author is (Co-founder and CTO, RESET TECH). Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)