The need for quality, efficient and affordable Healthcare is on the rise in Asia. Why?
The need for quality, efficient and affordable healthcare is on the rise in Asia. There are a myriad of varying factors that make this the case. As with all things “Asia” there is not one single reason that is common across the region but rather certain drivers related to things like urbanisation and ageing populations. We delve deeper into some of these drivers.
China and India
Rapid Development and Urbanisation
As two of the fastest growing economies in the world the effects of rapid development and urbanisation have resulted in their respective populations increasingly being plagued by chronic diseases. Rising obesity rates are one area of concern, this has been linked to things such as the affordability and ease of ordering take away food delivery for delivery rather than cooking at home. Obesity is a key factor in the development of many other diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, so this is a worrying trend.
Japan, South Korea, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand
Effects of an Ageing Population
These countries in the APAC region have not only seen a gradual increase in their ageing population but also the pace of change from an ageing population to an aged population is increasing significantly. These economies have proven to be ill-prepared for demands placed on governments and facilities by an aged population. Current Healthcare infrastructure is some of these countries is unable to cope with the rising demand of its respective populations.
What are they doing about it?
As a result of these drivers, governments in and around the APAC region have begun to invest heavily in building up their Healthcare infrastructure. As such, the Electronic Health Record/MedTech market is likely to see significant growth in APAC in the next decade.
Some examples that we are seeing in the marketplace already include:
RippleDown technology adopted in Australia which is a system that encourages engagement with users which can be integrated into everyday devices such as smart watches, fitbits, Applewatch, Xiaomi and fitness trackers. This supports the accumulation of health information and data and transforming it into meaningful data and insights. In the process, it helps provide personalised health data to the user and thereby assisting the health and fitness goals of him/her to create positive impact.
In Singapore, the government is planning to introduce a Healthcare Services Bill to reflect the changes in the local healthcare scene. These changes include making it mandatory for all healthcare professionals and institutions to input patient data in the National Electronic Health Record (NEHR). The NEHR was set up in 2011 to create a single e-platform for the accumulation of all patient records for better patient care and management.
China launched its blueprint of “Healthy China 2030” in 2016 with the aim of achieving a healthcare standard similar to other developed countries by 2030. One of the four main pillars/principals of this blueprint is Reform and Innovation. The Chinese government is placing an emphasis on Sci-tech innovation and digital information so that it can play a lead role in supporting and contributing to improving the healthcare standards of its population.
These technologies are helping to drive change by making health care delivery less expensive, more efficient, and more accessible, while lowering costs, increasing speed, and enabling greater flexibility in the healthcare sector and industry.
However, there are significant challenges facing the APAC region in the implementation of MedTech. On a macro level, APAC is a region that is a collection of markets containing huge disparities and contrasts in demographics, regulations and governance, diseases and illnesses. This also goes to show that there exists a variety of unmet patient needs in the region that can be satisfied by innovation technology providers.
Emerging Health Technologies in the region
Ping An Good Doctor – Chinese Mobile Platform that offers online medical consultations from doctors to patients via video chat
Practo – Similar to Ping An, it started in 2008 in India and has expanded greatly over the course of the last 10 years to countries in Southeast Asia and even Brazil. It is a SaaS platform that offer services such as appointment scheduling, online consultations and ordering of medications online. Digital prescriptions will also be directly transferred to the insurance companies for payment processing. In addition, it also has a network of wellness and fitness centres.
Forus Health – Started in India, it came up with an Eye Screening device called 3nethra that detects common eye problems such as cataract and glaucoma. It taps onto IoT and the Cloud to conduct remote diagnosis due to the context in India where there are populations living in remote areas of the country.