Effective ways to Speed-up your Health Tech Sales Cycle

BINEESH MATHEW | February 18, 2021

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Your sales cycle encompasses every action you take to close a new customer as a salesperson.  But there is a possibility for the sales cycle to be confused with sales methodology. Sales methodology is a framework in which one practices a sales cycle.  Whereas the sales cycle is the step-by-step process of you, as a salesperson, to close a deal with a client.

Piper Drive, a sales CRM and pipeline management platform defines a sales cycle as the series of predictable phases required to sell a product or a service, and that sales cycles can vary greatly among organizations, products, and services, and no one sale will be the same.

Especially with the healthcare industry, a thorough understanding of your health tech sales cycle will make your sales operations more efficient. Shortening the sales cycle without an up-front investment for sales is one of the critical healthcare sales and marketing goals. If you shorten your health tech sales cycle, you get more time to make additional leads. This will ultimately result in having an improved bottom line.

A faster and shorter sales cycle can bring you more advantages in the competitive sales world of your industry. It will indeed allow your company to grow its business by improving market share. Have you ever thought, as a salesperson, about the effective ways to shorten the health tech sales cycle? This article mainly focuses on proactive ways to shorten your sales cycle and improve profitability.


Challenges of Long B2B Health Tech Sales Cycle

According to Marketing Sherpa, a market research institute, the length of the sales cycle can vary from industry to industry. Comparatively, the health tech industry has a longer sales cycle. Still, there are many effective ways to shorten it and bring a positive impact on your sales process.

In general, B2B sales take a lot of time to maintain. Thus, the B2B health tech sales cycle takes even months to close a sale with a prospect and faces many challenges in the process. Some of the challenges you may face, as a health tech salesperson, can be the following on the process:


Turning the Lead to a Sales-Ready Prospect

No health tech salesperson will find a lead ready to make the sale without any persuasion from you.  In the health tech sales cycle, lead nurturing should be your best bet to convert a prospect.

With longer sales cycles, it won't be easy to nurture a lead all through the process and make a sales-ready prospect. It would be easier to convert leads when they are ready if you keep in touch with the prospects. People often find it difficult to do so in the long health tech sales cycle and end up not converting potential clients into happy customers.


Maintaining Engagement Over Time

The sales team keeps converting leads on their radar. As days and months pass, it is challenging to memorize each prospect you have interacted with. Neglecting them brings nothing to your business.

It can be a juggle to balance new prospects with existing SQLs. Older ones may get lost in the weeds as new leads come in. No one can tell which one is a higher priority. Whom will you pay more attention to and for how long? It can be a severe obstacle in the long B2B health tech sales cycle.


Keeping Your Sales Team Energized

If your sales team is not engaged with the process itself and enjoys it, they will have a more challenging time dealing with leads. It is a fact that, unfortunately, salespeople can become frustrated or bored due to working with difficult and hesitant leads.

As the health tech sales cycle drags on, it is tough to remain emotionally calm. If you have no strategies to energize them promptly, apathy or discouragement may come into play.


Ensuring Marketing and Sales Alignment

Lack of communication between the sales and healthcare marketing teams can pose the most detrimental challenges. It can impact the health tech sales cycle seriously. This loss of alignment between marketing and sales can hurt lead nurturing and lead to further difficulties like the ones listed above.

When the two teams move out of sync, it often requires a lot of effort to get them on the same page again. These teams can work separately with decisions and different goals, but it would not benefit the entire company.


Five Stages of the Typical Sales Cycle

It is better to understand the five stages of the health tech sales cycle to comprehend how the sales cycle comes into play completely.



This is the stage where the sales team attracts leads and listens to them, and learns to offer what they need.



This is the stage for you to get leads to move forward with your offers. You can utilize all the data you have amassed during prospecting.



As a salesperson, this is when you learn about leads and determine whether the prospect intends to buy.



In this stage of the health tech sales cycle, you offer your product or services as an effective solution for your lead's pain points.



It’s a fit! By now, you know if your lead wants your product or service and move forward.


Benefits of Shortening your Sales Cycle

A shorter health tech sales cycle allows you to meet more prospects within the same time frame.  For example, if you take one week for each prospect to complete the cycle, you can meet more people than with a two-week average life cycle for a single prospect. As you meet more people, it allows you to make more money. Moreover, most of the prospects prefer to have shorter sales cycles provided that you fulfill their need and solve their problem.

However, even with a short health tech sales cycle, you should have an effective method to track sales information. Along with a short sales cycle, an effective method will increase your team’s efficiency and sales numbers. You will make more profits and improve your sales cycle.


Ways to Shorten your Long Health Tech Sales Cycle

One of the significant challenges faced by healthcare technology salespeople is shortening their health tech sales cycle. Unlike B2C, the B2B process of sales has to deal with many decision-makers and educate them about the value of your products. Typically, it takes a lot of time and effort to convince your prospects that your solution is customized to meet their unique needs. 

However, your health tech sales cycle can become agonizingly long as each prospect can have a different perspective about your solution. It can also occur due to the number of people involved in the decision-making in B2B companies. According to the latest Demand Gen Report, the buyer’s journey is getting more complicated and longer. This makes the sales process worse, which is already tedious.

However, the good news is that you can follow these marketing strategies to shorten your health tech sales cycle tactically.


Understand Your Buyer Personas

Keep yourself away from trying to engage the wrong people. This will not bring you any results in the end. Before commencing the sales process, you should have a clear idea of who your targeted audience is. The decision-makers or influencers in the organizations you are targeting are your buyer personas.


After identifying your personas, by answering the following questions, you can outline their qualities:


•             What are their goals?

•             What are their responsibilities?

•             What trigger drives them to buy?

•             What problems are they dealing with?

•             How do they like to research?

•             What inhibits a purchase?


As you answer these questions, you will get a clear idea of the best way to approach them.


Send an Introductory Video

The prospects get to know the salesperson only in the in-person meeting. So before the in-person meeting, you can consider sending them an introduction video. This would add value and explain why you are interested in them with a ‘call-to-action. It creates familiarity by the time you connect with them. This is a very creative step to shorten your health tech sales cycle.


Provide Pre-Sales Appointment Content

Having a sales appointment with a prospect, who does not know anything about your solution, is one of the biggest mistakes you can make in your health tech sales cycle. This means you may have to have several meetings to convince the client. This problem can be eliminated with a lead nurturing email with informative content. This email can have a link to an informative blog about your product, which was written previously. It will make them peruse your website before the actual sales meeting with you. It saves your time by eliminating many meetings to educate the prospect about your product.


Provide Post-Sales Appointment Content

The prospect is expected to come out with some concerns and objections after the first sales appointment. As a healthcare tech company salesperson, it is your responsibility to eliminate all those obstacles by addressing them strategically. Sending follow-up emails, videos, and case studies helps address those concerns. The content can be used to guide other prospects too. Overcoming these obstacles with effective content can shorten your health tech sales cycle effectively.


Come Clean with Pricing

Pricing of your products can be one of the main concerns for your prospects. Many salespeople address it only at the last stage of the health tech sales cycle. Not revealing the price at the beginning will only lengthen your process. Moreover, it may result in losing trust in you. Be transparent and reveal the price, to save yourself from such issues.


Leverage Social Proof

One of the smartest ways to win the trust of your prospect is to provide social proof. It will also make the deal close sooner. The best social proofs are case studies with the impact of your products or ROI. Remember to make that the company featured in the case study is similar to the particular prospect's company.

In the health tech sales cycle, it is crucial to thoroughly understand the prospect. Your sales cycle should connect with the process of lead nurturing, where you act as an advisor. This will also help you build trust with the prospects and increase your chances of closing the deal before the expected time.

Executing all of these alone would be challenging. At Media7, we help companies market their healthcare technology product with innovative strategies and support by implementing these strategies effectively. Our strategies help attract prospects, convert them and turn them into your happy customers forever. To know more about us, visit https://media7.com/


Frequently Asked Questions


What are the stages in the health tech sales cycle?

B2B health tech sales cycles include seven main stages. They are sales prospecting, making contact, qualifying the lead, nurturing the lead, making an offer, handling objections, and closing the sale. Following these steps help a salesperson to close the sale effectively.


How does the health tech sales cycle help?

The health tech sales cycle helps you identify potential clients and nurture them through the process of sales. It makes you effectively and efficiently guide your clients and gives them the confidence to go forward with more effort.


What are the best practices for the health tech sales cycle?

The best practices for the health tech sales cycle can be attracting more prospects through content marketing, building trust by understanding clients better, focusing on your customers' clients, and knowing the prospect’s organizational chart.


Why is the sales cycle important in health tech?

The sales cycle in the health tech industry helps the sales managers to forecast the accurate picture of your sales. This because they know where your salespersons are in the sales cycle. It also gives a clear picture of how many deals your salespeople close out of a given number of leads. 


Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

"The mission of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is to provide expert, compassionate care to children and adults with cancer while advancing the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, cure, and prevention of cancer and related diseases. As an affiliate of Harvard Medical School and a Comprehensive Cancer Center designated by the National Cancer Institute, the Institute also provides training for new generations of physicians and scientists, designs programs that promote public health particularly among high-risk and underserved populations, and disseminates innovative patient therapies and scientific discoveries to our target community across the United States and throughout the world. The Jimmy Fund is the principal charity of the Institute. The Boston Red Sox adopted the Jimmy Fund as its official charity in 1953 and continues to prominently sponsor the charity."


4 trends that are shaping product management in health care

Article | December 18, 2021

“Health care is different, the data here is emotional! If you tell me you were buying a fishing rod online and were emotional about it, I’d say you are lying. But I do frequently see people helpless and confused when it comes to receiving health care, managing its costs, making sense of its data.”  - Senior Product Leader inOptum Global Solutions Pvt. Ltd. Yes, health care is different, and so is product management in it. This piece highlights the top 4 product management trends that are specific to health care and serve beyond being just a list of technologies making their way into health care. Health care consumerism Lance broke his ankle in a bicycle accident and is now in hospital waiting for surgery. Which of these words would describe him more aptly— a ‘patient’ or a ‘health care consumer’? The fact that Lance holds a high-deductible health plan, manages an interactive relationship with his primary doctor, keenly monitors his fitness through his smartwatch, and learns about healthier diet plans and recipes online — I can say he isn’t just receiving health care, but making active choices on how to pay for and manage his health. This choice and responsibility that people demand, is ‘health care consumerism’. This trend has been growing since 2015 when value-based care started picking up in the US. What does this imply for products/PMs? These are challenging and exciting times to be a product manager (PM) in health tech. This is because people are now demanding an experience equivalent to what they’re used to from other products in their lives, such as e-commerce, streaming platforms, and digital payments, to name a few. Any consumer-facing product (a mobile app, a web-based patient portal, a tech-enabled service) needs to meet high expectations. Flexible employer-sponsored health plans options, health reimbursement arrangements, price transparency products for drugs and medical expenses, remote health care services, and government's push to strengthen data and privacy rights — all point to opportunities for building innovative products with ‘health care consumerism’ as a key product philosophy. Wellness COVID-19 has tested health care systems to their limits. In most countries, these systems failed disastrously in providing adequate, timely medical assistance to many infected people. Prevention is of course better than cure, but people were now forced to learn it the hard way when cure became both inaccessible and uncertain. With lockdowns and social isolation, prevention, fitness, diet, and mental wellbeing all took center stage. Wellness means taking a ‘whole-person approach’ to health care — one where people recognize the need to improve and sustain health, not only when they are unwell, but also when they’re making health care decisions that concern their long-term physical and mental health. A McKinsey study notes that consumers look at wellness from 6 dimensions beyond sick-care— health, fitness, nutrition, appearance, sleep, and mindfulness. Most countries in the study show that wellness has gained priority by at least 35% in the last 2–3 years. And wellness services like nutritionists, care managers, fitness training, psychotherapy consultants contribute 30% of the overall wellness spend. So, what do health-tech PMs need to remember about wellness? The first principle is, “Move to care out of the hospital, and into people’s homes”. A patient discharged after knee surgery has high chance of getting readmitted if he/she has high risk of falling in his/her house, or is unable to afford post-discharge at-home care with a physiotherapist. This leads us PMs to build products that recognize every person’s social determinants of health and create support systems that consider care at the hospital and care at home as a continuum. The second principle is, “Don’t be limited by a narrow view of ‘what business we are in’, as wellness is broad, and as a health tech company, we are in health-care, not sick-care”. Wellness products and services include — fitness and nutrition apps, medical devices, telemedicine, sleep trackers, wellness-oriented apparel, beauty products, and meditation-oriented offerings, to name just a few. Recent regulations in many countries require health care providers to treat behavioural health services at par with treating for physical conditions, and this is just a start. Equitable AI Last month, WHO released a report titled “Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence for Health”. The report cautions researchers and health tech companies to never design AI algorithms with a single population in mind. One example I read was, “AI systems that are primarily trained on data collected from patients in high-income settings will not perform as effectively for individuals in low or middle-income communities.” During COVID-19, we came across countless studies that talked about the disproportionate impact on minorities in terms of infections, hospitalizations, and mortality. A student at MIT discovered that a popular out-of-the-box AI algorithm that projects patient mortality for those admitted in hospitals, makes significantly different predictions based on race — and this may have adversely moved hospital resources away from some patients who had higher risks of mortality. How should I think about health equity as an AI health-tech PM? Health equity means that everyone should have a fair chance at being healthy. As a PM, it’s my job to make sure that every AI-assisted feature in my product is crafted to be re-iterative and inclusive, to serve any community or subpopulation, and is validated across many geographies. To prevent any inequitable AI from getting shipped, it is important to ensure that the underlying AI model is transparent and intelligible. This means knowing what data goes into it, how it learns, which features does it weigh over others, and how does the model handles unique features that characterize minorities. Integrated and interoperable In every article that I read on topics such as digital platforms, SaaS, or connectivity with EMRs, I always find the words: ‘integrated’ and ‘interoperable’ therein. Most large and conventional health tech companies started by offering point-solutions that were often inextensible, monolithic, and worked with isolated on-prem servers and databases. To give a consistent user experience, leverage economies of scope, and scale products to meet other needs of their customers, started an exodus from fragmented point-solutions to interoperable, integrated solutions. The popularization of service-oriented architectures (SOAs) and cloud vendors like AWS, Azure, and GCP has also helped. The what and how of integrated-interoperable solutions for PMs: Integrated solutions (IS), as I see them, are of two kinds — one, in which as a health tech company, we help our customers (health systems, insurance companies, direct to consumers) accomplish not just one, but most/all tasks in a business process. For example, a B2B IS in value-based care contract management would mean that we help our customers and health systems by giving an end-to-end solution that helps them enter into, negotiate, plan for, manage, get payments for their value-based contracts with health plans. In the second type of IS, we offer products that can be easily customized to different types of customers. For example, a health management app that people can subscribe to for different programs such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol management, as needed. The app works with different datasets for these programs and uses different analyses and clinical repositories in its backend, but still delivers a consistent user experience across programs to a user who enrolled in multiple programs, say diabetes and weight management. ‘Interoperable’ simply means that one product should be able to talk to other products both in and out of the company. For example, if product-A can alert a doctor about any drug-drug interactions or allergies a patient might have, while she is writing prescriptions for the patient in product-B (an EMR), then product-A does talk to product-B, and hence, is interoperable. This trend is picking up further with the growth of IoT devices, and industry-wide participation in adopting common standards for data exchange. Conclusion Though the article derives much of its context from US health care, I have tried to keep a global lens while choosing these topics. For developing economies like India, digitization is the number one trend as much of the health system is still moving from manual records to digitally store patient and medical data in EMRs. The good news is that India is booming with health-tech innovation and that is where consumerism, wellness, and equitable AI make sense. Once companies develop enough point-solutions for different health system needs and use-cases, Indian health tech will see a move towards creating integrated, interoperable (IGIO) systems as well. There are some other trends such as — use of non-AI emerging tech such as Blockchain in health information management, cloud infrastructure for health tech innovation, big data and analytics to improve operational efficiency in areas such as claims management and compliance reporting, Agile product management for co-developing with and continuously delivering to clients etc. — but I see them either as too nascent, or too old to feature in this list. Finally, as a health tech product manager, you can use the following questions to assess your products against the above trends — (Consumerism) do the products that I manage, empower consumers with choice, information, and actionability? (Wellness) Does my product emphasize keeping them out-of-hospitals and healthy in the first place? (Equitable AI) Am I sure that my product doesn’t discriminate against individuals belonging to underserved populations? (IGIO) And finally, is my product scalable, integrated and interoperable to expand to a platform, in the true sense?

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Choosing your health plan: HMO? PPO? Why not DPO?

Article | November 2, 2021

The fall is a time of renewals and choices. It is also a time of so called “open enrolment” for health plans. It is the one time of year we can study and learn about the options offered through employers or government sponsored plans. Individuals and small business owners alike are also are faced with a myriad of choices with confusing and often contradictory language promising lower premiums with higher out of pocket costs for covered services subject to deductibles. What does it even mean anymore when your monthly premiums exceed your pay check and you still have to pay for your colonoscopy or your insulin? Where is it all going? Let’s imagine you twist your ankle playing basketball. You might go to an urgent care, receive an X-ray, probably be examined by a non-physician, and then referred to your primary care, who can’t see you for a few weeks but eventually sends you to an orthopaedic who takes another X-ray and treats your injury. Weeks have passed, multiple visits, time out of work, and co-pays, not to mention the out-of-pocket fees associated with imaging and perhaps a $100 ace bandage. What stops you from going straight to the ankle specialist in the first place? First, we have become conditioned to follow the directions dictated by the insurance companies, even when restrictions are not in place, patients have been convinced that stepping out of line will make all insurance promises null and void resulting in catastrophic bills and financial ruin. Second, the doctors and their office staffs have been conditioned to deny entry to any patient who does not have the proper referral, authorization, or identification. There are dire consequences for both if the insurance rules are not followed and fear keeps both sides aligned. The past two decades have seen an explosion of healthcare costs. Health insurance has become the single biggest line item second only to payroll for most businesses. It is no coincidence that as the government increased its role as payor with state subsidies, the prices have gone up. Much like college tuitions, when loans are easy to obtain and guaranteed by federal support, there is little to deter those in charge from increasing the price. After all, everyone is doing it, it must be OK, and even if students end up in debt, it will be repaid because they have received the value of a great education. Right? But unlike higher education, healthcare is a necessity. We cannot avoid it, and there needs to be a reliable mechanism in place to guarantee access. Ironically, as charges and prices have continued to escalate, payments to doctors have diminished. Why medicine is the only service industry where there is no transparency is truly astounding, especially since the there has been no increase in so called “reimbursements” for decades. As physicians, we have been complicit, being fully aware of the discrepancies between what is charged and what a patient’s insurance will pay. Even as patients began to have higher deductibles, and therefore higher out of pocket expenses, we continued to follow the rules, asking insurance permission to collect payment from the patient. It is not surprising that bad debt accounts for over 50% of most account receivables and why over 70% of doctors are now employed by hospital networks or private equity, who not only go after patients, but benefit from the repricing that occurs when insurers pay a negotiated amount as opposed to the charge. In other words, we pay more not just for less, but for nothing. But what if we twisted our ankle and went directly to that specialist and paid out of pocket a transparent price? What would it take for that to happen? Not much, the cost of care is predictable, and because payments have always been decreasing, most physicians have learned to be economical. Plus, out of pocket costs are capped by federal law, so no patient is really responsible for catastrophic bills. Charges inflate to cover overhead, but if payments were guaranteed and immediate, then the cost of doing business goes down. Add technologies like telemedicine to a practice and you have increased patient access to a doctor without adding more personnel. Direct pay doctors are emerging all over the country and have consistently offered better access and more affordable care. The bar is also being set by independent surgery centers and imaging centers who offer better outcomes at lower costs. Perhaps motivated by prohibitive pricing, better options have emerged that have moved patients away from expensive operating rooms to safe, office-based procedures. Even cutting-edge cancer therapies can be delivered at home, preserving more of the healthcare dollar for medical care rather than the complex system built to manage it. Competition and choice inevitably drive prices, but in a monolithic system the price is not negotiated, but instead it is set by only a few, in this case the big insurers. Small businesses cannot compete when bigger companies come to town. Eventually, the local hardware store gives way to a national brand, and the consumer is left with fewer choices and eventually higher prices. Amazon disrupted this equation by creating a marketplace for individual buyers and sellers. The convenience of finding a trusted brand, no longer available locally, is irresistible and the reason why we became loyal consumers. Healthcare is no different. Trust exists implicitly between a physician and patient, because it is an authentic, empathetic, and logical relationship. Trust does not exist between a patient and their insurer, on the contrary it is an unsympathetic business relationship without transparency or consistency. Few doubt the insurance company’s top priority is the premium, not the patient. Creating a direct relationship between the doctor and patient is a common-sense approach that serves both stakeholders well, and requires merely a fair and affordable price. But do doctors have the capability or the will to do it and if so, can the rest of the system follow? Never in the history of modern medicine have physicians been more dissatisfied. US healthcare used to lead the world in innovation and outcomes, now we struggle to break the top thirty. We may have the most brilliant doctors and scientists with access to the best resources, but the need to maximize profits while catering to special interests, be they commercial or political, has led us to favour certain therapies over others despite marginal proven benefits. Doctors have little autonomy and less authority; prescribed treatments are routinely denied by insurance companies without a second thought or appropriate peer review. In fact, insurers even renamed us “providers”, a term used to by Nazis when referring to Jewish doctors to devalue them professionally. Over 56% of physicians are burned out, nearly all report moral injury and as hospitals have systematically replaced doctors with non-physicians with limited training, we have watched the standard of care deteriorate. It is no wonder we have witnessed the single biggest loss in life expectancy since WWII. The prognosis is grim, but there are solutions. We need to reinvent healthcare by removing the middleman. We don’t have to set the price, but we can make it transparent so patients can decide for themselves if it is worth the inconvenience, the delay, and the co-pay to use insurance or just pay directly. Health savings accounts are tax deferred and can cover an out-of-pocket maximum in just a couple of years. Paying for care means there are no surprise bills or out of network costs, because there are essentially no networks and therefore no need to follow restrictions. You’d be hard pressed to find a doctor or hospital unwilling to accept an immediate cash payment, especially when it costs nothing more than the service provided. There are no billing cycles, or claims to prepare, no up coding, or authorizations. Doctors free to care for patients, patients treated individually and not subject to protocols designed to maximize charges. There are literally thousands of direct pay primary care and specialists now available all over the country and they are building alliances with likeminded people providing imaging, ancillary services, surgery centers, and prescriptions all at fair market prices. More and more employers are moving toward medical cost sharing plans that not only lower the cost of care but the cost of administration. Even the biggest payor, namely the government, sees the benefit of price transparency and is piloting models of direct contracting. We will always need coverage for those unexpected events, emergencies, or hospital-based services, but all the rest - doctor visits, screening tests, and outpatient procedures - are easily affordable. After all, do we use our car insurance to pay for an oil change? If we did, the cost would be prohibitive and few of us would drive. But health insurers have lost our trust, they no longer cover necessary services and no longer honour contracts with physicians or patients. It is time to offer another option and let the patients and doctors get back to the real business of medicine.

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Digital Innovation – a pathway for better life!

Article | November 1, 2021

Throughout my professional carrier, I iused to visit many companies involved in drug discoveries and had seen the challenges they go through. Some are pleasant as the investigational molecules were moving forward in value chain whereas few faced bottlenecks at the end. The association with Pharma industry over the years had taught me about many new ideas and allowed me to see that how innovative ideas are impacting our social and scientific world to a great extent. The changes we see today, are the results of ideas came from various quarters globally and I feel digital innovation had shaped today’s world differently. The impact of digital platform in today’s Pharma world is a “Game-Changer". Innovation is a continuous process which simplifies challenges into reality and plays a very important role in our society. Centuries ago, scientists used to spend years in laboratories to understand material science. The chemical science evolved around discovering elements, synthesis of compounds or even isolating products from natural resources. Today’s world is highly indebted to those discoveries and efforts and modern science has gradually moved towards digital platform. Last few decades, innovations based on new technology platforms has made huge impact in scientific discoveries and few such ideas and action I feel has brought significant changes. Our lifestyle and social environment have witnessed deep impact due to such innovation. The chemical science is evolved not around only chemists today but have huge influence of mathematicians and technologists for faster development. Advancement of digital science, new algorithms to solve the problems has modified the way of drug discovery to a great extent. In the recent past, we were heavily depended on big machines, but innovation has brought the whole items in a small packet now. The technology platform is modified, speed has increased in identifying new drugs with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning is accelerating the drug discovery and development processes. Today’s Pharma industries for commercial supplies are now depended on automation, optimization of the manufacturing processes, as well as designing effective marketing and post-launch strategies. The process is aimed to have better control on the operation, improving safety and better predictability of quality. For conducting clinical trials, identifying patient’s profile, an eligibility criteria is crucial which has been made by the processes being faster and cost effective by introducing Artificial Intelligence (AI). Earlier when focus was to identify the origin of life, finding new elements, compounds or building blocks, today’s world is heavily dependent on data or ‘Big Data’. The amount of information available throughout drug discovery and development process, analyzing, interpreting, and predicting right candidate require high-performance systems to analyze data properly and derive value from it. There is advancement of analytical techniques, which provides more accurate information about the clinical trial reports and the data across patient pool, zeroing down towards right candidate is a real challenge and there are several AI enabled tools available where the processing time is reduced significantly which might have taken several years. The exciting part is that innovation is not only limited to laboratory work but works in coordination of mathematical interpretations, data analysis and provide significant clues to develop new molecules and even provide approach towards therapeutic categories. Currently available advanced technologies enhance drug development process, making it less time-consuming and cost-effective process where AI can recognize hit and lead compounds, and provide a quicker validation of the drug target and optimization of the drug structure design. Data scientists play a very significant role in all these activities. Innovation focusing personalized medicine is now a reality and companies involved in such basic research have made breakthrough to understand how the human body responds to drug. Software solution is also available for simulating effects of drugs in patient body based on individual characteristics, scientific data for real time prediction of efficacy and drug interaction on individual. These predictive models are shortening drug discovery pathways to a great extent. Small molecule drugs or even large molecules development are heavily depended today on such modelling and predictive approach. The aim to reduce cost of drug development, shortening discovery path, focus on clinical trial mechanism is more productive with a higher success rate. During the pandemic period, in a shortest possible manner, several companies started working to develop new drugs or vaccines using drug-specific exposure models for drugs under investigation for the treatment of Covid-19. Similarly, discovery platform is also working on cutting edge technology ‘Organ-on-a-chip’ that can emulate the physiological environment and functionality of human organs on a chip for disease modeling, mimicking the impact and could be a game changer in future. I will be happy to see when technology platform can accurately predict human mind and with the help of AI, can find a probable solution to avoid any such complex conflicts. It would be interesting to see that AI is analyzing and predicting the chemical change in the bodies impacting human mind and analysisng it quickly to predict psychological behavior of the patient and guide physician for right therapy. This may lead to predicting problems one may face in old ages where the decays may be prevented at early stage. This is a challenge but understanding and predicting psychological behavior may improve patients’ life. Depression and its remedy may be based on understanding changes, patterns of physicochemical behavior and its impact during mood swing and predicting such things in advance by using the advanced AI tools could be a game changer. Another path breaking development where technology involving both engineers and scientists to help drug design to obtain maximal therapeutic benefits for patients including designing drug delivery systems and biomedical devices is 3D-printing technology. This involves high end computer simulations making analysis faster and predictive than before. Influence of 3D printing in designing variety of dosage forms has simplified its preparation. Though further study is under progress but the technology implementation at late has reduced cost of drug development to a significant extent and will add value in future drug development. It is interesting to see how this 3D printing technology works on human brain mapping and predicting a right path for treatment for betterment of large patient pool. Today with advanced technology, we are now more dependent on machines, limited close interaction with our near and dear ones, but created more friends on social platform. Though life looks easy, but over dependent on machines is creating another complex environment and this growing complexity may change the disease pattern. It will be interesting to see that how these technology platforms improve further to ease out such complexities for a healthy future.

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The promising future of Wellness Industry in India

Article | October 25, 2021

In today's uber-fast-paced world, the human race, in general, has gotten highly comfortable running on all cylinders in the rat race of life, especially people in India. Our country is a land where opportunities are aplenty, and competition is ever-present, which makes every day life so tedious and constant that taking a breather is something that people can rarely afford. This has led to increasing cases of anxiety, depression, high blood pressure and insomnia. These cases rose to such high numbers that it gave way to one of India’s most prominent industry sectors: The Wellness Industry. Though the industry captured global attention between 2015 and 2017, a study conducted by McKinsey & Company found that the wellness industry is currently valued at $1.5 trillion globally. This sudden boom can be attributed to the realisation that it is more important to remain healthy than getting healthy. Furthermore, the report, produced after analysing 7500 consumers in six countries (including India), has offered keen insights into consumer behaviour. When it comes to wellness consumers, their trends can be grouped into six categories: Health: People are now investing in many remote medical devices that can constantly monitor their state of well-being. With the increase in popularity in digital wearables, telemedicine, and remote patient monitoring services, this trend is bound to increase. Fitness: People are exercising more. Whether it’s jogging, going to the gym, investing in a pedometer, FitBit, etc., there has been a steady increase in people exercising more. Nutrition: Dieting has always been a significant part of being healthy. An increase in dietary food, supplements, nutrition coaches can be observed in recent years. Aesthetics: With a major chunk of India’s youth population getting invested in their social media, notably the pictures that they post, aesthetic well-being has seen a sharp increase. This includes investments in specific Athleisure clothing apparel (Nike, Addidas, Puma), skincare products (collagen supplements, face masks), and plastic surgery. Sleep: Burning the midnight oil is counterproductive. There has been a steady increase in consumers willing to invest in sleep medications, specialised mobile applications that track their sleep and the state of their sleep, ASMR generating devices, White noise devices, and other products that can enable a consumer to maintain a healthy sleep cycle. Mindfulness: Introspection, understanding the body and its processes to the molecular level, and figuring out ways to implement clarity of thought and methods for improving focus have been huge draws for the wellness industry. Furthermore, with central government’s schemes like AYUSH and the introduction of International Day of Yoga by the United Nations, this particular trend has seen enormous growth. Impact of these trends on the future of Indian wellness industry Organic Products: According to APEDA, India has become one of the largest producers of organic products. A growing number are actively investing monthly in organically grown produce, meat that is organically processed, oil that is wood-pressed or cold-pressed, cosmetics made from organic materials, and clothes made from pure cotton instead of manufactured materials. People becoming more conscious of what they put in their bodies has led to a steady increase in organic shops across India. Exercise, Dieting & Nutritional Supplements: From using simple Calcium supplements and energy drinks to adhering to a strict diet regimen, today’s consumers are genuinely worried about falling sick. This has led to an increase in purchasing supplements. Another trend can be observed where an increasing number of consumers have started buying vitamin, Zinc, and iron tablets, to shore up immunity. Furthermore, Indians have begun consuming gluten-free cereal, cold-pressed juices, Kale products, Avocados, and other food products recommended to be healthier alternatives. Indians have also become BMI-conscious, and an increasing number of them have started to invest in gyms, yoga/cardio classes, exercise-wear, sports wearables, and other products that can enable a person to work out more effectively. Constant Increasing Demand for Oxygen: Even before the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, getting access to 99% breathable oxygen has pure oxygen was a necessity considering the rising concerns of pollution in Indian cities. As per the ‘World Air Quality Report, 2020’ prepared by Swiss organisation, IQAir, 22 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities are in India, with Delhi being ranked as the most polluted capital city globally. Moreover, people who indulge in extreme physical workouts exercise, or suffer from high-altitude sickness, need oxygen handy to maintain their wellbeing. In India, prominent wellness companies like UCS Wellness Pvt Ltd have made significant strides to ensure that every individual has access to oxygen through their innovative specially outfitted 18-litre aluminium-bottled oxygen cans of 18 litres under their brand gO2therapy. With the pollution rate showing no signs of slowing down, and the steady increase in demand for oxygen, it would be no surprise to find every household medical kit fitted with a portable oxygen cylinder. Transitioning to Digital Platforms: With the increase in popularity of Telemedicine and Remote-patient monitoring, healthcare and the wellness industry are gaining an aggressive online presence. There are many online exercises/online videos, fitness apps, meditation apps, motivational apps, power coaches, and so much more. Indians find it easier to use these online tools combined with a digital wearable to keep their well-being in the best of conditions. Investing in Social Media Influencers: With the increase in online dependence, the voice of social media influencers is soon to be gospel when it comes to maintaining a fit body and healthy mind. Much like how mainstream celebrities endorse various products, the wellness industry has seen great rewards in deploying online influencers to support their products. Typical examples can include a famous workout specialist advertises particular apparel, gadget, energy drink, or brand of Whey Protein distributors as part of their video. Alternatives to Allopathy: In the Indian market, the wellness industry has seen a shift in paradigm where an increasing number of consumers opt for Siddha, or Ayurveda substitutes, instead of conventional medicine. This is seen more in the age group of 40+. This particular age group has patients with a long history of high BP, high cholesterol, and other ailments that require continuous monitoring and medication. They feel that the healthier choice is in traditional medicine or treatments like Panchakarma, Ayurveda, or Siddha. Conventional medication provides them with little to no side effects, which is the primary reason for its increasing popularity. India is expected to become a wellness hub in the global community following a 12% growth per annum. The Make in India initiative is expected to bring in more investments and opportunities in this sector. The Ministry of AYUSH, with a separate department for Yoga, has been exempted from service tax. A budget of around ?3,400 crores has also been earmarked to be spent over the next five years to help set up and strengthen Ayush Wellness Centers under the National Ayush Mission. This has sparked an increase in startups and businesses focusing on the wellness sector. Meanwhile, the global pandemic is also giving rise to a new consumer behaviour called wellness rebound where they are becoming more health-conscious and striving towards regaining their health soon after recovering from an illness. Considering the aftermath of the pandemic, the aggressive implementation of technology, and the constant consumer market in India, it can be inferred that the wellness industry will evolve and expand further with little to no backslide.

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