Startup City Magazine

Growth of Healthcare Apps to Lead a Healthy Lifestyle

By Nikhil Moorjani, Sales & Marketing Head, HealthifyMe

Nikhil Moorjani, Sales & Marketing Head, HealthifyMe

Headquartered in Bengaluru, HealthifyMe was founded in 2012 by Sachin Shenoy and Tushar Vashisht. It is the world’s first and largest Indian Food Calorie Tracker through which the users can keep a track of their food intake, weight and exercise easily through their mobiles, tablets or computers.

A little assistance can go a long way when you’re struggling to lose weight. Ask Chaitali Patel, who lost 22 kg with the help of our fitness app. Mental block towards exercise was one of her biggest challenges. But a fitness tracker helped her change that. The wearable device motivated her to stay on the move, and she manages to clock almost 30,000 steps daily today.

Chaitali is just one of the many clients whose lives have been transformed by the advent of health and fitness-related technology. Sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy eating habits and growing disposable income have all contributed to the increased awareness about staying healthy. Pressed for time or money, people are seeking comprehensive, convenient fitness solutions.

The numbers are decked in its favour. A PwC report on Wellness In India reveals the market is estimated at Rs.490 billion; with wellness services contributing 40 percent to this. Paid healthcare apps are believed to be growing at close to 33.8 percent CAGR globally and along with Japan, India is said to be the fastest growing Asian market. Like HealthifyMe, there are several other prominent Indian players in the mobile fitness and wearable technology market today. There have been key acquisitions and investments in this segment and the pace is unlikely to slow down. A joint study by FICCI and PwC predicts the Indian wellness industry to touch Rs.1 trillion by the end of 2015.

Technology has placed us on the brink of a revolution by simplifying healthcare delivery. Tele-medicine and tele-health apps have been making healthcare more convenient, less expensive, more preventative, and in many cases downright better. Healthcare professionals are adopting mobile apps that make them more effective, and consumers are taking to the ones that give them more control over their healthcare. Wearable fitness devices and apps are empowering people who, though serious about getting fit, have been unable to find a way to do so. For instance, it’s a proven fact that keeping a food diary can help you lose weight. So a mobile app that calculates the number of calories in a dish based on a photo is convenient for diners. Similarly, an activity monitoring fitness tracker measures your calories burned and motivates you to stay active throughout the day.

Globally, there have been several new advances in fitness technology. But even as the industry continues to evolve, the role human intervention plays cannot be denied. Studies of technology-supported weight-loss interventions have shown that digital tools are more effective when they supplement rather than replace contact. That has been one of the key learnings at HealthifyMe too. “Self-service” isn’t a mode that Indians are comfortable with. Technology creates great engagement at the start, but motivation subsides if not supported by qualified coaches or healthcare professionals who can interpret data collected by the gadgets we carry/wear into an actionable plan. This interplay of data software and services has proven to be successful and will be the winning formula for healthcare delivery in India.

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