Advancement of healthcare in developing
Asian countries through the latest technologies
Image by Jernej Furman from Flickr
Advancement of healthcare in developing Asian countries through the latest technologies.
Technology has played a key role in the advancement of societies in today’s fast-paced and advanced world. When it comes to healthcare, many countries have incorporated the latest technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and smart devices, to improve the quality of life of their people.
Asia, being one of the most populous regions in the world, is not that far off the mark in comparison to Europe and America when it comes to advancing its health technology. Countries such as Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Malaysia are home to some of the most technologically advanced facilities in the world. With stellar healthcare infrastructure, these countries have become medical tourism hubs in the region.
Asia Pacific is predicted to have one of the fastest-growing digital health industries. In 2018 the digital health industry in the region was valued at US$10.8 billion, and it is estimated that by 2025 it will be valued at US$80.7 billion. While the bulk of these figures are attributed to the developed nations in the region, Asia is seeing growth and development in health tech in its developing countries as well.
Proper healthcare infrastructure is extremely crucial for countries, especially in times of crisis. When Covid-19 began to spread, the world saw how critical proper healthcare management was for containing the virus and keeping the mortality rate low, as seen in the often-cited case studies of Singapore and South Korea. Telemedicine, AI, and smart devices were successfully deployed to help flatten the curve.
Recently, in the Philippines, a Robot Roving Doctor (Rovidoc) was introduced at one Covid-19 quarantine facility in Bulacan to minimise the risk of exposure to healthcare workers. The robot was designed to extend proper care to patients through the various applications and devices built into it. The Rovidoc is currently in a testing stage and the government of Bulacan has stated that it is ready to invest in more of these robots. If successful, the Rovidoc will be able to ease the workload for overworked healthcare workers, especially in times of crisis and as the country continues its healthcare advancements.
The Philippines has also developed applications to improve the quality of healthcare for its citizens in rural areas. One such example is an application called eHATID, which allows for ‘direct communication between local chief executives and rural health units (RHU)’. The program boasts an electronic medical record (EMR) system, allowing for a centralised data system, and healthcare workers are able to utilise it even without an internet connection.
Jumping on the digital health bandwagon is Vietnam, a country that is set to reform its healthcare industry. The country has introduced online healthcare services in the form of telemedicine, which is making headway with allowing healthcare workers to cater to the country’s growing and ageing population and to improve the quality of patient care and access to doctors in rural areas.
The Covid-19 pandemic has aided in speeding up digital health growth in Vietnam as local companies in this industry have begun to expand their operations, with more players entering this lucrative and untapped market. This healthcare advancement was made possible by the country’s efforts to improve its telecommunication infrastructure, which gave rise to the availability of the internet and smart devices.
While developing countries in Asia are still in their infancy with regards to digital health in comparison to countries such as Singapore and South Korea, or Europe and America, the move to embrace digital health is definitely a positive effort on the part of governments. In marrying the latest technology with healthcare industries, developing countries will be able to play their part in boosting the economy of the Asian region, and more importantly in drastically improving the quality of life for their citizens, especially those in rural areas with little or no access to medical facilities.