The Affordable Care Act is getting a lot of media attention, and in some cases for all the wrong reasons. The most recent eruption of complaints against the Affordable Care Act is the technology that will be used to implement its provisions. There’s no denying how dependent today’s world is on technology . . . but that doesn’t mean we’re making the best use of the technology available to us, and the federal government’s Healthcare.gov website is glaring proof. Perhaps we should take a look at India, who’s healthcare market is on track to explode, and primarily because of India’s investment into an emerging field called healthcare information technology.
The Numbers don’t Lie
India’s healthcare market is skyrocketing. Experts predict that this sector will experience roughly a 25 percent increase in size, growing to an approximate value of $160 billion, by the year 2017. One of the fastest growing segments of India’s healthcare market is healthcare information technology (HIT). It’s estimated that healthcare IT in India will go from a $381 million industry in 2013 to a $1.5 billion industry in 2018. Because healthcare IT is a relatively new field, but at the same time a field that is expanding more rapidly than its toughest competitors, financial experts are turning a lot of thought and attention toward learning whatever they can from the growth pattern of HIT in India.
There are many factors that are contributing to the early adoptions (and rapid growth) of HIT in India. They include things like shifting demographics (because a large segment of the population is moving into seniority), increased occurrence of chronic disease (that accompanies such a demographic shift), the search for more accurate ways to handle data influx (as a result of the Information Age), informed patients (who are increasingly concerned with their safety and privacy), and the growing standardization of digitized medical records.
Why is India so affected by the healthcare IT boom? Because the Indian healthcare market consists largely of what experts term “early adopters.” Early adopters are those people or entities who tend to be amongst the first to try out, and make a habit of using, something new (in this case, technology). For an extreme example of early adoption, just consider the fact that you would probably not have that iPhone in the palm of your hand today had those early-adopters decades before you not been interested, open-minded, adventurous, and brave enough to carry those first suitcase cell phones around.
There is no denying that technology has drastically changed the world we live in. What’s less often considered is the fact that technology is changing different parts of the world in different ways, and at different paces. When looking for a model of what lies on the horizon for healthcare, it’s a good idea to go straight to the source of a considerable portion of this growth: the advent of health IT. And there’s no better place to see HIT adoption at its best than India.