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Emerging Asia: Leading the Digital Charge

Despite underdevelopment in many facets; Southeast Asia is actually at the forefront of a digital revolution in healthcare; with digital solutions helping bring about more efficient, cost-effective, and tailored patient care.

When it comes to healthcare, Western societies are often hailed as the frontrunners in the digital age, exhibiting both the highest rates of internet and mobile penetration and electronic health records (EHR) adoption, according to a recent paper published by PwC, The Digital Healthcare Leap. Developed countries such as the Netherlands, Denmark, the US, Germany, and of course Singapore—leading the pack for its Southeast Asian brethren—have largely transitioned away from paper-based healthcare solutions to comprehensive electronic record systems and costly digital infrastructure. And while emerging markets may seem to be stuck in the Stone Age by relative standards, a new digital health model will soon warrant a shuffling in the leaderboard.

“The lack of legacy infrastructure can [actually] liberate health systems (both public and private) from the financially daunting capital costs which have led to government-sponsored initiatives such as Meaningful Use in the United States,” observes John Forsythe, PwC’s digital healthcare leader in Australia, Southeast Asia, and New Zealand. “Cloud-based technology, mobile enablement and fees for service models will lead to faster deployment and increased benefits for patients. Perhaps then the emerging markets will instead become the leaders, with the followers quickly shedding their ‘on premises’ technology,” postulates Forsythe.

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