Digital approach may help tackle rising chronic disease cases in India: Report

New Delhi, June 24 (IANS) Digital disease management solutions may help tackle the rising populations of patients suffering from chronic diseases in India, according to a report on Friday.

In terms of prevalence, hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease are the three largest chronic conditions, with close to 242 million people suffering from hypertension, 75 million people suffering from diabetes, and 67 million people suffering from cardiovascular conditions.

This is followed by other chronic conditions such as arthritis, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

According to the report by domestic strategy consulting firm Redseer Strategy Consultants, the key drivers of India’s chronic disease count include genetics, lifestyle, rapid urbanisation, and stress.

The findings suggest that 60 per cent of diabetic cases in India come from urban cities, and more than 35 per cent of Indians suffer from mental health issues, leading to increasing stress levels in India that are above the global average.

Further, over 80 per cent of chronic diseases occur in the age groups 30 and above, and a significant portion of India’s population is over this age group.

Together, the chronic disease market presents a $40 billion total addressable market (TAM), while the urban chronic care OPD market size stands at $17 billion,the report said.

It noted that digital chronic management players have a lot of headroom ahead, as they currently penetrate less than 1 per cent of their serviceable addressable market.

Typically, a chronic patient’s healthcare journey includes consultations and follow-ups with doctors, regular vital monitoring, purchasing medicines, undergoing lab tests, making dietary changes, monitoring these changes and more. This complex process spans across multiple years, and could go on for a lifetime, leading to a painful experience for patients and their family.

Moreover, chronically ill patients complain about the delay in guidance from the doctors and extremely high expenditure on treatments. These challenges are even more pronounced in India, given the below-par doctor to patient ratio and poor insurance coverage (almost zero coverage of out-patient care expenditure).

However, digital disease management players such as Phable, BeatO and Wellthy, offer a one stop solution where patients can manage the entire course of their healthcare journey in one platform, said the report.

This means that patients can access consultation with doctors, constantly monitor and track their progress, get inputs from health coaches, purchase medicines/health products, and book lab tests (and have the tests done at the comfort of their homes), all in one platform.

“Often, doctors struggle to keep track of patient information, and are unable to provide regular supervision. They also struggle to communicate when patients are confined to far strung locations. Through a digital ecosystem that brings everything under one roof, doctors will be able to improve patient adherence to their recommended treatments and the overall quality of outcomes,” said Kushal Bhatnagar, Engagement Manager at Redseer, in a statement.

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