Healthcare IT to boom in Asia

March 31, 2012

SINGAPORE – The healthcare industry in Asia Pacific has witnessed quantum changes bought by technology within the last 10 years. With that, the region’s healthcare industry is able to fast track itself faster than Western countries that had to go though legacy systems which are enormous drags on everything, according to Dr. Martin Sepulveda, VP of health industries research at IBM, during The Economist Healthcare in Asia 2012 conference, Singapore.

With the spread of the Internet through digital devices, particularly smart phones, in the region has also expanded availability and access to Web-based medical information. Sepulveda adds that Asia has the ability to use wireless and mobile technology, and it’s in a better position to use cloud technology than in other parts of the world.

The mobile phone penetration was high in both the developing and developed economies in Asia, the benefits of mobile healthcare were not exclusive to either market. Citing “Text 4 Baby”, a mobile messaging information service in the U.S. designed to help expectant women among low-income demographics, he said the model of providing usable and practical health information via phone messages is one that can be replicated in Asia.

He concludes that that there was much more openness and willingness in Asia to use new technologies to provide and access healthcare. “[This is] great, because new technologies have advantages over old technologies, and if you don’t use them, then you don’t get the benefits.”

China, Japan lead mobile health market growth

According to Mobile Health – Enabling Healthcare, a study released recently by the GSM Association (GSMA) and PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Asia Pacific mobile health market will grow to almost US$7 billion by 2017 and such growth is stimulating demand for connected devices.

The report says China will have the biggest mobile health market in 2017, driven by growth in monitoring and diagnosis services that will facilitate the delivery of effective healthcare to a widely spread population who have poor health access. This growth is expected to create a market opportunity of US$2.4 billion in China.

The next largest markets are Japan (US$1.3 billion) and India (US$540 million). In Japan, health monitoring services represent the biggest opportunity because of the large elderly population. In India, diagnostics will create the biggest opportunity on account of the large rural population.

Category: General health news, Technology & Devices

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