Medical Imaging In India - Recent Tech Advancements & Opportunities Ahead

With an MBA in Marketing & International Business from Symbiosis Institute of International Business, Pune Nikhel is a seasoned leader with over two decades of experience in healthcare and financial services domains. Prior to joining Care stream in 2020, he has held key roles across HDFC Bank, Citi Bank, Johnson & Johnson Medical and Meril Life Sciences.

Share your thoughts on the current medical imaging market in India.
The medical imaging market in India is fast growing and vibrant. Given the inherent layered nature of the Indian market, there is demand for value, mid-tier as well as premium offerings, driven by corporate and private hospitals. We are now also witnessing an increasing contribution by the government sector at both state as well as the centre aided by various healthcare insurance schemes such as Ayushman Bharat.

Over the last 2-3 decades, the demand for medical imaging services has blossomed at an unprecedented rate aided by new modalities such as MRI and PET, along with significant improvement in CT and ultrasound. Today, clinicians in India use medical images to gain greater insights and information to effectively solve the ever-evolving ailments that persist in the country. Patient convenience, delivery speed and the ability to diagnose complex ailments is becoming far more important to radiologists, and there is a significant increase in the number of new radiologists joining the industry every year ensuring that radiology practice penetrates the length and breadth of India.

Over the last 2-3 decades, the demand for medical imaging services has grown at an unprecedented rate aided by new modalities such as MRI, PET, CT & ultrasound

Throw some light on the latest technologies that are currently disrupting the medical imaging space?
Latest technological advancements have completely disrupted the way healthcare was being offered and consumed so far. As one of the key segments of healthcare, medical imaging has been one of the early adopters of technology. Some of the latest technologies that are currently shaping medical imaging space are bedside imaging products, telehealth solutions, cloud based applications, image fusion, realtime imaging, 3D imaging technology and advances in storage & retrieval of imaging data. Also, artificial intelligence (AI) solutions are playing a far more important role than ever before by aiding radiologists to spot anomalies in human tissues for multiple disease conditions. I believe some level of automation is already under play by healthcare providers in the teleradiology space, and I am sure with that the scope of opportunities for automation in medical imaging is endless due to the recent technological advancements and India’s internet penetration.

What is the government’s role in encouraging indigenous manufacturing of medical imaging equipment?
With the vision to improve healthcare service delivery across the length & breadth of the country, the government has announced various medical parks and schemes to encourage indigenous manufacturing of medical equipment in India. An integrated understanding of local and central incentives to medtech companies through forums such as CII, FICCI and many others would help promote awareness. Also, incorporating any relevant feedback from medtech companies will help fast track the ‘Make in India’ endeavors.

How do you expect the medical imaging industry to evolve in the days to come?
Medical Imaging has a bright future in our country with steady growth driven by domestic and foreign players who will continue to drive in both affordability and technological advancements. The 4A’s of healthcare in the form of increased access, adoption(by trained HCPs), awareness, and affordability (through private and government insurance) will grow the market exponentially. Going forward, Products and solutions integrated with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies will be developed by medtech companies which will further aid radiologists and clinicians across the country in accurately diagnosing diverse ailments.