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A Time for the Region to Shine: HealthTech Opportunities Boom in SEA

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the arrival of the future of healthcare: health technology. Supported by the proliferation of startups in this space, it is an industry set to grow in leaps and bounds over the next few decades. The good news is, it is also a development that is not limited to the west, but also takes into account economies in our own region.

But what exactly is the future of healthcare? Preliminary observation shows that the delivery and innovation of healthcare solutions are now directed by consumer needs, which has given rise to digital health solutions that can connect provider to patient. It includes technology such as telehealth and remote patient analytics. Additionally, as people become more open to healthtech innovations, the region’s markets are benefiting, and the longstanding problems of access and unequal standards of healthcare across SEA are being addressed.

The trends shaping the HealthTech growth opportunities in Southeast Asia

In fact, demand for quality healthcare in the region is predicted to keep growing. In the six largest nations, public health expenditure is expected to double to US$740 billion between 2017 and 2025, driven by demographics and risk behaviours including obesity and smoking.

And this is where technology comes in. It already enables a good majority of the population to tackle obstacles such as healthcare access, to manage their healthcare needs, and to improve their quality of life. According to PwC, since 2016 sectors in Southeast Asia that are enjoying particularly strong growth are telehealth, digital therapeutics, diagnostics, remote patient monitoring, and analytics.

A Reality: Consumers are demanding healthcare solutions to be available at their fingertips

In this mobile-first region, HealthTech solutions are becoming a lifestyle staple. Digital tools such as apps are bringing solutions directly to consumers on their phones, providing them with access to customised, patient-first healthcare experiences.

There are now clinically-validated health platforms out there that lower users’ anxiety and stress levels through computer vision and AI, which is made accessible to patients via their smartphone cameras.

New technologies enabling efficient service delivery

Other innovations in HealthTech are unlocking speedier and more effective medical intervention for healthcare providers by supporting clinical practices and improving healthcare outcomes.

Technology such as diagnostic innovations tackle COVID-19 concerns, and include breathalyser-type diagnostic test kits that detect COVID-19 under a minute, and lab-on-chip tech for pathogen detection which enables portable point-of-care testing.

Remote monitoring is also moving healthcare from the hospital to the home. Many health ministries or government bodies across the region now have remote monitoring and SMS chatbots that support patients with diseases such as diabetes, which is a major concern in Southeast Asia.

Medical institutions are also leveraging data analytics for insights, by teaming up with companies focusing on healthcare analytics to provide customised data-driven solutions aimed at improving the institutions’ clinical, financial, and operational performance across the region.

HealthTech will grow and grow in SEA

The accelerated adoption of HealthTech in SEA is happening at a time when innovations are delivering holistic and meaningful outcomes, alongside providing greater convenience for consumers, patients, and healthcare systems. With the demand expected to keep growing the healthcare space in this region is no longer just brimming with opportunity – it is also bearing fruit for investors ahead of the game.