Digital health technology to ease healthcare access in Asia

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Hong Kong: Digital health technology to improve healthcare access in Asia, revealed Prudential’s The Health of Asia Barometer report.

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) written report underscores the unprecedented opportunity offered by digital health technology to improve access to healthcare in Asia.

The research, which explores attitudes to healthcare in Asia, highlights the demand for tools and services to help people in the region better navigate the healthcare system.

The report also highlights the opportunity for governments to partner with the private sector to maximise the potential of digital healthcare.

High rates of digital health technology adoption
The report, which surveyed 5,000 adults across 13 markets in Asia, found that only around half of respondents (54%) believe that medical care is accessible and affordable.

More concerningly, less than a quarter (22%) say they can easily access exercise and fitness facilities that would help improve their personal health and wellness in the coming year.

However, the Asia-wide research also underlines the potential of technology to directly combat these challenges. Over four fifths (81%) of respondents say technology has already improved their access to health services and nearly two thirds (60%) believe it has improved the affordability.

And this consumer appetite towards the digitisation of health shows no sign of abating – three years from now 71% of those surveyed said they will rely on technology even more heavily to improve their personal health and well-being.

Public-private action to improve healthcare
To fulfil the potential of digital healthcare, the report recommends greater public-private collaboration. It suggests that governments partner with private companies to deliver digitally-innovative ways to promote and manage health and wellness among citizens.

The report also highlights the opportunity for governments to improve public health information through digital channels.

Social media is frequently cited as the personal health and wellness info source as per the research.

However, the survey respondents overwhelmingly agreed that most trustworthy sources are the national governments and public health authorities.

Governments can seize the opportunity by becoming the most reliable source of quality health information for citizens. The report recommends governments to promote connected health devices, but with strict data governance.

Data security will enable centralised health data safety. This empowering governments to design better policies and build more targeted healthcare infrastructure.

“This ground-breaking research demonstrates that while Asia has already begun to embrace digital health technologies, the region is still some way from realising the full potential technology has to offer,” said Nic Nicandrou, CEO – Prudential Corporation Asia.

“The private and public sectors need to come together to make these opportunities a reality, and in doing so, improve health and wellness outcomes for individuals,” added Nicandrou.

“Making digital healthcare a reality is an integral part of our efforts at Prudential. Through our app, Pulse by Prudential, we have linked up with partners at the forefront of innovation to deliver health information and guidance, as well as provide access to medical professionals,” informed Nicandrou.

“Our research shows that to make health and well-being more accessible and affordable, the public and private sectors need to come together to seize the initiative,” said Charles Ross, Editorial Director – EIU.

“A key way to do this is by breaking down ‘data silos’ between disparate healthcare services and creating secure connections between health apps, devices and centralised digital patient records,” added Ross.

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