Digital health across APAC to witness escalating demand as telehealth and wearable technology gain traction

Published Date: April 19, 2022

With escalating prevalence of the COVID-19 virus and its highly contagious nature resulting in increasing adoption of various technologies to render essential public services, the Asia Pacific digital health market is likely to witness exponential growth in the coming years. According to an online portal, Practo, the healthcare teleconsultation in India witnessed a rise of around 500% between March and May 2020.

Rising government initiatives, especially in developing Asian countries, such as India, China, and others, to promote digitalization across all industrial verticals would positively influence the market growth. For instance, the ‘Digital India’ campaign under the flagship of the Indian Government, aims to ensure all public services, such as healthcare, and others are easily accessible electronically across the country.

The launch of Digital Health IDs in 2020, National Digital Health Mission in 2021, and several other software applications, such as ‘Co-Win’ and ‘Aarogya Setu’ for the management of COVID-19 vaccines and patient tracking, are some commendable efforts by the Government of India, that are expected to escalate the uptake of digital healthcare devices across the region.

Mentioned below are some factors expected to further influence digital health business in Asia Pacific:

Escalating demand for telehealth services

The emergence of the coronavirus crisis and its subsequent variants is significantly influencing the adoption of telehealth services over traditional care. Telehealth services are proving to be extremely beneficial amid the growing necessity to effectively implement disaster management in health emergencies.

Telehealth services, such as LTC monitoring and video consultation are also becoming quite helpful in regular health screening of COVID-infected patients during their self-quarantine period, as well as, safeguarding clinicians, physicians, and the community from viral infection. Its ability to provide long-distance care is also facilitating in reducing the incidence of various hospital-acquired diseases and treating other patients with chronic disorders, such as cancer, and others.

Soaring adoption of wearables

The prominence of wearables such as BP monitors, glucose meters, pulse oximeters, and others are witnessing soaring adoption owing to the rising prevalence of chronic diseases, such as CVD, and diabetes. According to the CDS guideline, in 2020, approximately 71.87 million Chinese adults were suffering from diabetes.

Developing Asian countries, such as India and China have a large base of smartphone users and high internet accessibility, which is further likely to influence the adoption of wearables. According to the GSMA data, the smartphone penetration rate across Asia Pacific was approximately 67% in 2019, which is poised to cross beyond 84% by 2025.

Flourishing healthcare sector in China

China is becoming one of the leading markets for digital health devices across the Asia Pacific owing to soaring awareness about the benefits of regular health-checkup among the geriatric population. Moreover, a significant rise in public healthcare expenditure, along with rising government initiatives to consolidate the regional medical sector would complement the regional business dynamics. This will further be supported by the growing efforts by public healthcare organizations to spread the cognizance about the benefits of e-health across the APAC.

For instance, the World Health Organization (WHO)-backed Asia e-health Information Network (AeHIN) is a Hongkong-based peer-to-peer assistance platform, which helps Asian countries with digital health development.

 Naman Kumar Srivastava