3 minute read 25 Aug 2020
Healthcare in new normal

How teleconsultation and e-pharmacy are evolving as the new normal

By Sriram Shrinivasan

EY India Consulting CHS Leader

Helping lifesciences companies succeed in bringing affordable healthcare to the emerging markets of the world. Passionate about giving back to the society, avid reader, marathon runner, golfer.

3 minute read 25 Aug 2020
Related topics Life Sciences COVID-19 Health

Through this report, we try to understand how teleconsulting and e-pharmacy would enable Indian healthcare providers to respond to rising demand and give patients confidence to manage their health effectively in a transparent, integrated and effective ecosystem.

COVID-19 pandemic has created the need for a healthcare ecosystem that is integrated digitally to enable reach for patients and doctors who refrain from in-person visits to avoid infections. Key stakeholders in the healthcare space are showing interest towards adoption of different teleconsultation and e-pharmacy platforms.

Executive summary
  • 15%-20% of healthcare is expected to shift to virtual care, across triaging, consults, remote monitoring and home health
  • 64% of surveyed consumers are willing adopt teleconsultation post COVID-19
  • 80% of surveyed doctors are being consulted using informal means of consultation such as audio, video, texts on various messaging apps.

Though not a new concept but during the COVID-19 pandemic, teleconsulting platforms across the globe including India have witnessed an uptake of 50-100%. Globally, virtual primary care consultations have grown from 5% to 95% in since January 2020. In India, Practo reported five crore Indians accessed healthcare services online during the first phase of lockdown between March 2020 to May 2020. Further, teleconsulting guidelines issued by the Medical Council of India during the lockdown in March 2020 have further provided much needed fillip to the growth of teleconsulting platforms with both health tech start-ups as well as hospital chains exploring this channel of care.

Our report, Healthcare goes mobile: Evolution of teleconsultation and e-pharmacy in new Normal’, based on a study conducted in collaboration with the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA), explores how the healthcare ecosystem is likely to shift to “Phygital” (physical along with digital) model due to digital technology disruption with patient centricity forming the centrepiece of the model.

With the current levels of adoption by the patients and doctors along with emerging technologies and ecosystem, India is well poised to grow the digital health ecosystem. For the wider acceptance and usage, there is a need for robust regulatory and governance framework that provides the right support for growth.
Sriram Shrinivasan
EY India Consulting CHS Leader

Phygital is likely to be the new normal with data being the backbone of this model. Covid-19 has shown how effectively and rapidly data can be captured, shared and used though currently though currently it is more of a fragmented care system. This is likely to move towards individualized data streams by integrating all the stake holders in a collaborative platform leading to connected patient centered ecosystem. Indian regulatory bodies including medical, industry associations and private players are collaborating to enable the transition.

Some of the key challenges towards this transition include patient data privacy concerns, trust issues, concern about substitution practices, consultation limitations and lack of adequate infrastructure in rural, tier 2 and tier 3 cities.

EY analysis – Future health seeking behaviour

The change in healthcare delivery is imminent. Indian healthcare industry is already at the cusp of transformation. An ecosystem-based approach can foster quicker development and adoption of teleconsultation platforms. Navigating the emerging collaborative platforms may be challenging for the stakeholders. But the actions accomplished today have the potential of transforming the healthcare system.

Summary

The “phygital” model is likely to sustain beyond the pandemic and become an integral part of patient care and overall healthcare system.

About this article

By Sriram Shrinivasan

EY India Consulting CHS Leader

Helping lifesciences companies succeed in bringing affordable healthcare to the emerging markets of the world. Passionate about giving back to the society, avid reader, marathon runner, golfer.

Related topics Life Sciences COVID-19 Health