Digital healthcare trends are flourishing in Asia due to its aging population, shortage of healthcare personnel, increasing consumer demand, and technological innovation. According to statistics from Graphical Research, the digital health market in Asia Pacific is expected to grow by 33% from 2020 to 2026.
China has been at the forefront of utilizing digital resources since the start of the pandemic. Major Chinese technology companies have collaborated with hospitals to apply the use of analytics and big data to healthcare. For example, Ali Health, a subsidiary of the tech giant Alibaba, works with multinational pharmaceutical companies to deliver smart healthcare services facilitated by big data.
Since people 65 years and older make up almost 29% of the Japanese population, Japan is now starting to rely more on health tech to provide healthcare to its aging population. Not only are online medical consultation platforms becoming more popular, but robot-assisted medical procedures are also gaining traction. In August 2020, the Hinotori Surgical Robot System became the first made-in-Japan robot-assisted surgical system to receive approval.
Southeast Asia, with a younger population, also has a fast-growing interest in the internet and mobile services. According to the WHO, Southeast Asian countries have a lower-than-average number of physicians per 1,000 people (0.6 per 1,000 people vs. 3.7 per 1,000 people in the developed world). This shortage of healthcare personnel coupled with the rising incidence of non-communicable diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension has resulted in the demand for rapid digitalization of healthcare in these countries as well. The most notable example is the startup Doctor Anywhere which has received over $100 million in funding and is now delivering telemedicine services to people in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines.