The Future of Diagnostics in India

Dr. Sushil Shah, Chairman & Founder, Metropolis HealthcareHaving varied interest in healthcare sector, Sushil holds a bachelor's degree in medicine and surgery and a degree of doctor of medicine in pathology and bacteriology from University of Bombay

As technology advances across spheres, the medical field too embraced the change with diagnostic laboratories constantly innovating and upgrading their mechanics. Laboratories have always been at the forefront of medical advances, with newer tests, updated analysis parameters,and sophisticated machinery replacing the outdated ones. It is imperative for the technicians to stay intact with all the latest advances and developments to ensure accurate test results. For any patient, the right diagnosis is of prime importance to establish the existence of a disease or to analyze the symptoms before effective treatment.

Some of the trends which have taken the diagnostics industry a notch higher have been interestingly progressive and transformative:

Wellness diagnostics
Addressing the needs of the modern consumer, who is becoming increasingly health-conscious, various diagnostic tests are being offered as a wellness healthcare package. From screening tests to basic blood tests and infertility tests, modern diagnostics can transform lives by detecting problems at an early stage and helps them in making all the necessary lifestyle changes.
Wearable wellness
The use of smartphones and wearable fitness technology has also increased,with people keen to track their physical fitness levels and their diet. Using technology, people are now monitoring their sleep patterns too,which goes a long way in identifying modern health issues like stress, fatigue, and insomnia.

Molecular diagnostics is one of the fastest growing pathology sectors which identify genetic markers like nucleic acid and proteins at a molecular level

Successfully proven to be beneficial for people with chronic disorders, this technology is being increasingly developed for genetic testing, infectious diseases testing, blood screening, oncology testing, cardiovascular testing and others. This growth is also flanked rapidly by time,low cost, convenient workflow, and high sensitivity.

Epigenetic diagnostics
Epigenetic changes are inherited changes to the DNA molecules,that don't affect the actual sequence of the DNA, and have been described as ‘Post-it Notes’ on genes. Epigenetic changes, including the addition of methyl groups, can activate a genetic condition or make a gene dormant. The detection of their presence or absence could help with early diagnosis of severe conditions or could indicate about diseases that are more likely to progress quickly.

Fluid biopsy
During the course of treating cancers, re-biopsies are required at times. In modern times, fluid biopsies, which isolate cancer cells from a simple blood sample, have replaced invasive biopsies, which were traditionally carried out. Fluid biopsies are also more commercially feasible and more comfortable for both the patient and the caregiver.

3D anatomical models
The latest trend to hit the diagnostic market is 3D printing which allows radiologists and clinicians to bring body parts and tumors which were previously available only as flat diagrams. Using technology, the pathology industry came a long way providing curative and preventive healthcare plans and single-handedly changed the way healthcare is managed in India? This growth trajectory shows no signs of slowing down and the complexity of tests and services are set to continue.