Asia’s healthcare ecosystem is at a tipping point. - According to Bain & Company, Asia is experiencing a huge demand for healthcare due largely to a rising aging population and more chronic illnesses. Over the next decade, Asia will contribute over 60 percent of the global increase in population who are over 65 years old and will become home to over 250 million adults with diabetes.
Asia is already facing a critically constrained supply of medical services with less than one doctor per 1,000 population and less than two hospital beds per 1,000 population. As such, healthcare providers need to increase accessibility, improve affordability and deliver quality outcomes to patients.
In the case of emergencies and crises like this current pandemic, the healthcare ecosystem certainly needs to adapt and accelerate the trends and opportunities. As such, we expect these four areas to be the key drivers for the industry in Asia over the next decade.
Unlike in the "old days", when patients simply followed their physicians' recommendations, today's health consumers are much more engaged and empowered. Patients want greater ownership to take control of their healthcare and a single touchpoint to manage their healthcare.
Healthcare Asia revealed that around 50 percent of consumers and physicians would adopt digital delivery models like telemedicine and remote care in the next five years. Bain & Company also said that nearly half of consumers in the Asia Pacific region expect to use telemedicine in the next five years, with over 70 percent of patients surveyed preferring a single touchpoint for their health management.
With the changing climate of healthcare and the outbreak of COVID-19, patients are seeking ways to decrease their hospital visits and length of stay in hospitals. As patients want to be seen quicker, get well faster and be discharged as soon as possible, this trend is providing an opportunity for facilities that deliver transitional care for patients after their hospital visit.
There is more focus on shifting non-emergency services to outpatient or alternative models to relieve overextended hospitals. According to Bain & Company's survey, 60 percent of patients across Asia Pacific said they are ready to receive chronic disease management outside of hospital walls, while almost 100 percent of doctors said it is completely deliverable. This presents tremendous access and cost-saving opportunities for patients.
Digital technology is revolutionizing how healthcare is delivered as telemedicine, self-diagnosis health apps, long-term illness management tools and electronic records are rapidly gaining popularity. Furthermore, the recent COVID-19 pandemic has changed the processes within the industry.
According to DMN3, consumers are going online to obtain medical information for the following reasons: 47 percent to research doctors, 38 percent to research hospital and medical facilities, and 77 percent to book medical appointments.
Telemedicine has made healthcare available to everyone and has proven to be a very effective tool during the pandemic. Especially in rural areas where expert healthcare facilities are limited, virtual care platforms using video conferencing and digital monitoring are widely used to help contain and reduce exposure to the virus.
Wearable devices like smartwatches have significantly increased patient awareness of various healthcare metrics and healthcare providers are using that information to help improve preventive care, strengthen healthcare records and improve overall patient care.
Artificial intelligence-enabled devices and automation technology like blockchain electronic health records and machine learning are transforming the way patients interact with healthcare professionals, how data is shared among providers and how decisions are made about patient treatment plans and health outcomes.
Consumers are getting better treatment with virtual reality tools and 5G mobile technology. Doctors, on the other hand, can streamline their workflows using artificial intelligence-powered systems. AI, automation and machine learning can also help maximize the impact of scarce resources and enable physicians to analyze critical data and increase their decision making.
According to Grand View Research, the global augmented reality and virtual reality technologies alone for the global healthcare market is expected to exceed USD 5 billion by 2025. These technologies enable medical professionals to gain a deeper understanding of anatomy and physiology, assist in complicated surgeries, reduce complications and provide less trauma to patients.
Using chatbots or digital dashboard schedulers as digital assistants help healthcare providers to better track appointments, demography, contacts and make changes more efficiently as practical measures for monitoring and modifying patient activities.
The use of data analytics is also helping the industry to lower the rate of medication errors through automated patient record analysis and facilitate better preventive care. Big data is also helping in enabling more accurate staffing by allocating the proper staff to deal with patients and reducing patient wait times.
The healthcare industry in the middle of a major transition to a patient-centric and value-based care model as providers continue to find the best solutions to provide patients with the best possible care. As constrained supply such as limited physicians and insufficient hospital beds are coupled with patient access challenges like long waiting times at hospitals and skyrocketing costs, healthcare in Asia will look significantly different over the next decade.
Reach out to us for any further insights you may have on the shifting healthcare trends in Asia.