Remap Consulting recently attended an International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) webinar discussing the digital health ecosystem in APAC (Asia-Pacific) and how growth in this sector has supplemented the well-documented pharmaceutical market growth across many of the APAC markets. Here, we discuss some of the key trends relating to digital health in APAC markets and the future implications this may have on the infrastructure of both emerging and developed APAC markets.
What has changed:
One of the key areas of growth across the APAC markets is the increased drive towards digital health. Digital health refers to the convergence of digital technologies with healthcare to enhance the efficacy of healthcare delivery to make medicine more personalised and precise. In 2019 the APAC digital health market size was $11.2 billion, and is estimated to reach a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 29.2% from 2020 to 2025, according to Market Data Research in 2020.
As with many other markets, the rise in digital health across the APAC has been spearheaded by the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced practitioners to move to online platforms to monitor and care for patients. In APAC markets particularly, the use of online platforms has been welcomed by rural residents many of whom have limited physical access to healthcare facilities which may be located a large distance away. Further to this, the increased use of smartphones and electronic devices in developing markets has driven the opportunity for digital health innovations.
Leaders in the digital health landscape include markets such as China and Japan, who have both put forward considerable investment into digital health in recent years. For example, Chinese hospitals’ spending on AI-related IT expanded 88% in 2019 from a year earlier, according to the IDC Worldwide Artificial Intelligence Spending Guide in 2019. Additionally, both China and Japan have adopted the use of AI diagnostic technologies such as the Infervision coronavirus system which uses AI to identify coronavirus related lung infections in CT imagery, further demonstrating how the coronavirus pandemic is driving digital innovation in APAC markets. As a result of China and Japan’s investment in big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and IT funds in the healthcare field, these markets are sitting ahead of the game in the movement towards digital health.
However, digital health is not welcomed by all and many clinicians criticise its use due to concerns over the security of patient data. Additionally, less developed healthcare systems in APAC markets lack the connectivity and continuity for the development of a digital healthcare system and will lag behind more developed markets such as China and Japan. As a result, a drive towards digital health manufacture is expected to be seen in more developed APAC markets, followed later by development in emerging markets as healthcare infrastructure continues to develop.
As a result of increasing healthcare infrastructure across APAC markets, industry players should expect continued growth in the digital healthcare landscape. More developed markets such as China and Japan will likely see an increase in manufacture of digital health technologies to address the new unmet need resulting from the coronavirus pandemic as well as increased technological advancements. It is expected that developing markets will lag behind this trend whilst healthcare system infrastructure continues to develop. Nevertheless, the evolving digital health landscape in APAC regions cannot be ignored and should be monitored as we move on from the coronavirus pandemic.