As the Indian startup ecosystem witnessed a never-seen-before capital infusion across the spectrum, it is a golden opportunity for the health-tech startups to begin serving the nation at a large scale and help millions get the right diagnosis and better treatment in the digital era, seasoned doctor-entrepreneur-investor Ritesh Malik said on Monday.
Malik, who is one of the leading Covid warriors with a pledge to help around 10 lakh people get vaccinated via his Radix Healthcare facility in Delhi, emphasized that while the healthcare sector deserves more funds from the government, the current boom in the startup industry can help entrepreneurs chart out a new journey to overhaul the massive healthcare ecosystem slowly but steadily.
“This is a golden opportunity to serve a nation. The biggest question is how we are going to bring proper healthcare to small-town India and millions of villagers in these Covid times. To begin with, diagnostics and pharmacy startups can leverage AI/ML technologies to reach the hinterlands,” Malik told IANS.
He admitted that despite heavy rules and regulations and legal challenges, Indian entrepreneurs can take up the challenge to transform the fragmented healthcare sector.
“Now over 300 AI companies are working on medical imaging. The new-age technology can surely transform the Indian healthtech sector. The government should also prioritize to allocate more funds to the sector so that the task becomes easy,” he stressed.
The budget of 2021 increased the spending on healthcare by 137 percent, in line with the GDP National Health Policy 2017 target of increasing heath spending to 2.5 percent by 2025.
India will spend Rs 2.23 lakh crore on healthcare. An amount of Rs 35,000 crore will be spent on Covid-19 vaccines as part of the Rs 2.23 lakh crore spending.
In 2016, Malik started a co-working platform called Innov8 which was later acquired by Softbank-backed Oyo in 2019.
Backed by Y-Combinator, innov8 is currently one of the leading Indian co-working companies.
According to Malik who has invested in nearly 80 startups/companies to date, the next big revolution should come from the healthcare space in the country.
“India has moved beyond being a BPO or a mega customer base for the world. We are creating world-class products. We will be a huge digital democracy by 2050 and the largest software producer in the world. The healthcare startups need to jump on the bandwagon now so that millions can receive top-class diagnosis and treatment in the near future,” Malik emphasized.