1/5th of the worlds population lives in India. The majority of it’s 1.3 Billion people reside in rural areas and lack medical access. If silicon valley wants an extreme benchmark for wearables efficacy for healthcare, this might be the place.
The mixed bag of prosperity
Despite increasing population by 450 million between 1991 and 2016, India managed to reduce those living in poverty by 50%.
In 7 years between 2005 and 2012 India reduced the number of poor by 138 million, which outpaced China. With the reduction of poor and the increase in food subsidies has come an unintended consequence that is increasing the load on India’s healthcare system.
A sharp increase in lifestyle related illness due to dietary choices.
Lifestyle related disease accounted for half of all deaths in 2015 according to the IHME.
While 75% of the population resides outside urban centers, the share of rural hospital beds is only 16%. Can wearables help?
What is “access”?
Wearables can help collect heart rate and blood glucose data, and device costs continue to fall. But, who’s going to monitor this? Sure, it potentially reduces the number of hospital beds, but it presents another issue. If you take an already fatigued health care system and increase the inputs by 10X, does it really help? Those who currently can’t physically make it to a hospital would have access to a point. It’s here, where proponents will usually point to “Big Data” and algorithms.
A Healthcare Solution- or just more data?
With access comes cost
India’s hurdle is everyones hurdle
You can change the collection methods, reduce hospital beds and increase realtime insights, but it still comes down to dollars. Per capita health care spending in the US in 2016 was $9,526. This doesn’t factor in the individual cost, deductibles averaging $4,500 for the same year.
Do more than collect
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