How is healthtech reshaping Asia’s healthcare industry?

In recent years, healthtech is playing an increasingly important role in Asia’s healthcare industry. According to McKinsey (opens a new window), the market size of digital healthcare is expected to increase from US$37 billion in 2020 to US$100 billion by 2025

Factors contributing to the growth

  • Aging population: Asia Society (opens a new window) predicts that in Asia, the number of people aged 65 or above will reach 456 million by 2025, and will further go up to 857 million by 2050. Considering that people at an older age face higher risk of diseases, there is expected to be an increased patient population and demand for healthcare services.

  • Shortage of healthcare workers: Asia’s healthcare workforce is insufficient to meet the increasing demand for healthcare services. According to the World Health Organization (opens a new window), by 2030, there will be a 4.7 million shortage of health workers in South-East Asia, and 1.4 million shortage in Western Pacific region.

  • Growing awareness of wellness: Health and wellness have been an increasingly hot topic in Asia. In pursuit of a healthy lifestyle, consumers are now spending more on healthcare products and services. According to McKinsey (opens a new window), over 40% of consumers in China reported that they have spent more on their health.

Healthtech trends

  • Increasing demand for telehealth. Some patients now prefer telehealth over in-person appointments as virtual care visits are more convenient, accessible and time-efficient in comparison. Bain & Company (opens a new window) predicts that there will be a 29% growth of telehealth adoption in China and a 26% growth in Singapore between 2021 and 2024.

  • Increasing adoption of AI. In recent years, there is huge growth in the AI market for healthcare. As the industry is more open towards the use of AI technology, most healthcare organizations have increased their investment in AI.

  • Greater effort on data integration and interoperability. To most healthcare organizations, developing a system which creates and shares high-quality data internally is their current top priority. Healthcare organizations are looking into standards such as Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) and tools such as Application Programming Interfaces, to improve data integration and interoperability.

  • Rising data volumes. Of all industries, the healthcare sector is the leading generator of data. A study (opens a new window) finds out that 30% of the world’s data volume comes from the healthcare industry. It also estimates that by 2025, the CAGR of healthcare data will reach 36%.

Risks associated with healthtech

As healthcare organizations process rising volume of complex data, they face higher difficulty and risk of managing healthtech. Issues they could encounter include:

  • Privacy and cybersecurity. Sensitive and confidential data, such as patient’s personal information and medical records, are stored electronically. In addition, access to these data is shared to multiple parties, including the patient, doctors and management team. This makes healthcare providers more vulnerable to data breach and cyberattacks.

  • System failure. Severe problems can be caused if medical equipment goes out of order. For instance, if a diagnostic machine fails, it would misdiagnose or miss out a medical issue. It could then lead to serious illness or even death to the patient, and a lawsuit against the organizations.

  • Diagnostic error. On telemedicine platforms where users only meet virtually, doctors may easily misinterpret messages from the patient, miss important visual cues or cues that could aid in diagnosis, which then result in wrong diagnosis.

  • Regulatory compliance. Asian countries are establishing new laws to regulate healthtech. For instance, in Singapore, telehealth developers are required to inform users of the software’s appropriate use via label. Also, many Asian countries has set up data protection law to safeguard the privacy of patients.

Insurance Solutions

The majority of telehealth risks can be mitigated through purchasing insurance including:

  • Medical malpractice insurance is for legal claims arising from allegations of medical negligence and malpractice. The insurance helps to cover defence fees, expert witness costs, legal fees and settlement costs

  • Professional indemnity insurance providing coverage for any actual or alleged act, error or omissions or unintentional breach of contract in the performance of its professional services

  • Cyber liability insurance that will protect a healthtech company from its legal liabilities and losses that may occur if it becomes a victim of a network security incident, such as a hack, denial of service attack or a virus and/or breaches worldwide privacy laws and regulations.

These policies can be bought stand alone or for smaller firms and start-up can be bought as a package.

Healthtech is revolutionizing Asia’s healthcare industry. With the adoption of healthtech, healthcare organizations benefit from lower costs and higher efficiency. However, it also comes with risks, and neglection of these risks may lead to serious consequences, such as reputational damage, and monetary and legal penalties.

Our experts understand the nuances of the healthcare industry, and we approach your protection needs from an insider’s perspective. For more ways to mitigate healthtech risks, please contact:

Rob Russell, Regional Head of Global Professional & Financial Risks (GPFR), Asia | +66 (0) 2 635 5000 (Ext. 2801) | (opens a new window)