Could India Ignite the Global Health Transformation?

Ramesh Jain
9 min readApr 30


Leapfrogging may result in creative transformation.

Health is vital for sustaining life. Healthcare is essential for the well-being of every human society. However, Healthcare is also one of the most complex fields. A multitude of factors, including biology, lifestyle, society, and environment, are intertwined and can impact both health and the quality of healthcare. Despite significant progress in medical research, delivering healthcare remains a challenge for every country. In technologically advanced and wealthy countries, the healthcare industry may become dominated by business issues rather than the health of individuals due to legacy systems and the commercialization of healthcare. In these countries, stakeholders’ profits take precedence over health concerns of people. On the other hand, developing countries, especially those with poor infrastructure and limited resources, face significant challenges in accessing health care information and care providers, particularly in remote areas. Given the amount of dissatisfaction and distrust in healthcare systems among people all over the world, this area is ripe for transformation.

Recent developments in technology, particularly Generative AI with Large Language Models, sensors, and mobile computing, present an opportunity for transforming healthcare globally. This disruptive transformation will change the existing healthcare system by replacing it with new health care that will be more efficient, effective, and affordable. Such a transformation in health care will be a game-changer that shakes up the status quo and creates a new way of doing things that is better and more humane than the old way. The world saw it happen recently when many African and Asian countries leapfrogged landline telephones and internet using desktops to adopt directly to mobile phones and mobile internet, providing connectivity to billions of people. We believe that health care is ready for leapfrogging.

Transforming Healthcare

Healthcare is a complex sector that involves multiple stakeholders, including patients, healthcare providers, employers, governments, pharmaceutical companies, and insurance payers. However, the current healthcare system often prioritizes payers and providers, leaving patients as passive participants.

The quality of healthcare in a country depends on various factors, including access to health information and medical care, infrastructure, healthcare providers’ expertise, and quality of medical equipment. Furthermore, healthcare is a rapidly evolving sector, with new medical discoveries and technological advancements constantly emerging. As such, the healthcare sector requires constant innovation and adaptation to remain relevant and effective in providing quality care for patients.

Technology has always been one of the most important drivers of advances in healthcare systems. Recent advancements in technology have transformed healthcare in many ways. Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems help track health conditions and treatments as administered to a person by a provider. Diagnostic tools such as various imaging approaches allowed understanding what is happening with an individual in more details by seeing their internal health state. The use of AI in healthcare has made it possible to develop more accurate diagnostic tools and predict disease outbreaks. Wearable sensors, such as smartwatches and fitness bands, have made it possible to monitor vital signs continuously, providing doctors with more comprehensive health data. Furthermore, mobile computing has made it possible to deliver healthcare services remotely to a person in need independent of the location , reducing the need for in-person consultations.

Leapfrogging: A Path to Transform Healthcare Globally

In the context of healthcare, leapfrogging uses technology to overcome the limitations of traditional healthcare systems currently dominated by episodic care of symptoms of diseases, rather than curing a disease or addressing causes of the disease. Leapfrogging presents an opportunity for countries with poor healthcare infrastructure to transform their healthcare systems and improve the quality of care by providing more accessibility to health information and care providers using the emerging latest technology. In healthcare, a significant issue is information asymmetry that can arise when an individual experiences a minor discomfort or a life-threatening condition. As a result of information asymmetry, individuals are often required to trust and follow their healthcare providers’ instructions and prescriptions without any personal knowledge about their condition. This can come at a high financial cost and may result in severe health or financial consequences, not only for the patient but also for their family and friends.

People are dissatisfied and distrust current healthcare in most countries. In the USA, where arguably most advanced technology is available, healthcare costs are a topic of major discussion and concern among public resulting in healthcare as a major issue in every election. Yet the healthcare costs keep going up and the resulting care as measured by public satisfaction and life expectancy keeps deteriorating. Today the USA has highest expenditure on healthcare, close to 20% of GDP, but not much to show for it. The transformation of healthcare in the USA is hindered by political debates among supporters of stakeholders who prioritize maintaining their profits over the health and well-being of the population. This narrow focus on profits often comes at the expense of improving healthcare outcomes and addressing the needs of the people.

In India, a significant portion of the population lives in rural areas where access to healthcare systems is limited, and reliable health information is scarce. Many people lack access to medical professionals, or they are hesitant to seek medical care due to concerns about the severity of their condition. Additionally, a major health episode in a family can have severe financial consequences, leading to long-term problems for the affected family.

Emerging technologies, such as health information systems powered by conversational AI systems, telemedicine, and mobile health (mHealth), offer a potential solution to address the lack of access to health-related information and healthcare providers in developing countries. Leveraging these technologies could help leapfrog traditional healthcare infrastructure, providing remote access to medical services through mobile devices and digital platforms. This approach is particularly beneficial for people in rural areas where access to healthcare facilities is limited, and can help to improve health outcomes and reduce healthcare disparities.

One significant advantage that emerging countries have is the absence of a strong legacy healthcare system dominated by powerful business-oriented stakeholders. This creates a unique opportunity for these countries to leverage emerging technologies and leapfrog traditional healthcare infrastructure, leading the transformation of healthcare globally.

This is an opportune time to act, as there is a growing interest in improving healthcare, and people in developing countries are looking towards more developed countries like the USA for guidance. However, following in the footsteps of developed countries may not always be feasible or desirable. Instead, emerging countries can pave the way for innovation and progress in healthcare, benefiting both their own populations and setting an example for the rest of the world to follow.

Mobile Internet is a successful example of Leapfrogging

The poor availability of landline phones and desktop computers for internet access in emerging countries played a significant role in the many countries’ leapfrogging to mobile internet.

In the 1990s, when the internet was first introduced, most internet connections were made through dial-up connections, which required a desktop computer and a landline phone line. However, at the time, landline phone infrastructure was underdeveloped in many parts of the world, particularly in rural areas. This made it difficult for people to access the internet and limited the growth of the online industry.

China built applications of mobile internet and became a leader in internet technology.

The emergence of mobile internet as a viable alternative was driven by the lack of availability of landline phones and desktop computers. As mobile phone infrastructure expanded in the early 2000s, people increasingly turned to their mobile devices to access the internet, rather than traditional desktop computers and landline phone lines. This shift to mobile internet was further accelerated by the advent of low-cost smartphones, which made it possible for even more people to access the internet on their mobile devices. As a result, mobile internet has become an essential part of daily life for many people around the world, enabling them to stay connected, informed, and engaged in a rapidly changing digital landscape.

China is a prime example of a country that successfully transformed itself by turning its limitations into a major advantage. Recognizing the emerging opportunity presented by mobile internet, both the government and industry in China seized the chance to build their economy around this technology.

By leapfrogging traditional desktop and landline-based internet access, China rapidly became one of the largest and most dynamic mobile internet markets in the world. Today, at least three Chinese internet companies rank among the highest-valued internet companies globally, thanks in large part to their early investment in mobile internet-based applications over 15 years ago. This strategic move allowed China to emerge as a global leader in mobile internet and underscores the importance of identifying and seizing opportunities for innovation and growth.

India’s Opportunity in Health Leadership

India is well-positioned to become a leader in healthcare transformation through leapfrogging. Despite an unstructured and unorganized healthcare infrastructure, India’s strong information technology base provides a unique opportunity for leveraging technology to improve healthcare.

India can leverage the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to develop more accurate diagnostic tools and predict disease outbreaks. Additionally, wearable sensors can continuously monitor vital signs, providing doctors with real-time data to make more informed decisions. Furthermore, mobile computing can be used to deliver healthcare services remotely, reducing the need for in-person consultations. For instance, telemedicine platforms can connect patients with doctors remotely, significantly improving access to medical care in rural areas.

Technology is ready to leapfrog health care. (Figure from

India can build on its strengths in the IT industry, entrepreneurship, and its current healthcare challenges to drive the next generation health revolution. Some ways to start this process are:

Develop a speech based trusted health information companion: India has a major problem in providing trusted health information to its masses who currently rely on disinformation provided by WhatsApp University and religion dominated systems that have no scientific and health values. These information sources often result in long term harm before the patient can get to a reliable health provider.

Develop low-cost telemedicine and remote patient monitoring solutions: India has a large pool of IT talent, and this can be harnessed to develop low-cost telemedicine and remote patient monitoring solutions. These solutions can help bring healthcare services to remote and underserved areas and can be used to monitor patients with chronic conditions in real-time.

Create a supportive environment for healthcare innovation: India needs to create a supportive environment that encourages innovation in healthcare. This can include incentives for healthcare startups, streamlined regulatory processes, and public-private partnerships to support healthcare innovation.

Foster collaboration between healthcare providers, researchers, and entrepreneurs: Collaboration is key to driving healthcare innovation, and India needs to create platforms and networks that facilitate collaboration between healthcare providers, researchers, and entrepreneurs. This can help promote knowledge sharing and the development of new healthcare solutions.

Develop a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation in healthcare: India has a thriving startup ecosystem, and this can be harnessed to drive innovation in healthcare. By fostering a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation in healthcare, India can attract more investment in the healthcare sector and create new solutions that address the country’s healthcare challenges.

Use data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to improve healthcare delivery: India has a large population and thus inherently a source of data related to healthcare, which can be analyzed to identify patterns and trends. By leveraging AI and machine learning, India can create personalized healthcare solutions that consider an individual’s health history, genetics, and lifestyle.

India has the potential to drive the next generation healthcare revolution by leveraging its strengths in IT, entrepreneurship, and the unique challenges faced by its healthcare system. By creating novel healthcare solutions, India can improve the health and well-being of its citizens and become a model for modern healthcare systems globally.

Effective health leadership is critical for the well-being of our society. Recent technological advancements present an opportunity for countries to transform their healthcare systems through leapfrogging. India, with its robust IT sector and underdeveloped healthcare infrastructure, is well-positioned to become a leader in health transformation by leveraging technology. The most populous democratic nation in the world has a great opportunity to not only transform its own health, but also bring a much needed transformation in other countries.



Ramesh Jain

Passionate about empowering health by managing food and lifestyle guided by sensors and AI.