The Future of Diagnostics in India

By Dr. Sushil Shah, Chairman, and Founder, Metropolis Healthcare

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of medical advances, with newer tests, updated analysis param­eters, and sophisticated machinery replacing the outdated ones.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.

Home-tests

Thanks to the availability of portable health monitoring services which can be used at home, people are now finding it convenient; using a single drop of blood, information about blood sugar levels is available at their fingertips. Besides this, there are various other medical devices which have been introduced to check other illnesses as well. This technology has greatly helped diagnosis and more accessible for those who are physi­cally challenged or live in areas with limited access to quality healthcare.

Molecular diagnostics

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. 

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