HealthTech is proving to be difficult to define; it is a modern development that seems to have endless prospects within its myriad of operations and services. What can be said, though, is that in a world where the population increases rapidly, and the demands on general practitioners and the healthcare systems become more eminent, resources are under strain.

HealthTech is aiming to return balance to an outdated system where the demand far outweighs the supply. Overburdened health professionals are finding that it takes longer to get through their workload using traditional methods, and the availability of appointments are becoming sparse, leading to general concern on both sides. It’s a pressure cooker waiting to explode.

The HealthTech initiatives

In an attempt to strengthen the process of healthcare delivery, government initiatives across Southeast Asia are beginning to take a holistic approach, collaborating with all the components of the healthcare value chain. Currently receiving the most attention are the pharmaceuticals and medical device companies. Between them, they can play a significant role in healthcare development, by improving healthcare access, patient experience, improving clinical outcomes, and reducing the cost of care.

Developments in the world of science and IT have vast potential to lessen the pressure on traditional practices and revolutionise the healthcare system in the region, making it more responsive to consumers’ needs. Not only does it simplify patient access but it also makes it easier for healthcare professionals to deliver.

As countries attempt to restructure their healthcare delivery model improving efficiency across the board, the global trend is pointing towards the implementation of technology-enabled healthcare. By leveraging the power of technology, healthcare systems can meet growing demand and need for healthcare services as a method for people to receive and manage their care plans. This is no more prevalent than in Southeast Asia, where the HealthTech scene has had an incredible start to the year.

Southeast Asia suffers from a lack of basic care and top-quality general practitioners, especially in remote areas, and so, this region of the world has made steps to take the premise of mobile medicine far further than Europe and the U.S. In an area of the world where access to healthcare is a primary hurdle, the growth of mobile-usage is exponential. Subsequently, the healthcare system is adapting.

Here are the top medtech startups in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia’s healthcare progress

aerial view photography of person holding arm while pressing blood pressure machine

The HLTH Future of Healthcare 2018 forum discussed the growing trends in the region; among them a strong inclination towards importing medical services. Singapore, through its focus on reducing public health expenditure through mobile devices and affordable pharmaceuticals, is the main supplier of these services. Working in a slightly different manner, Malaysia has decided to invest in private healthcare in an attempt to stave off the decline in public spending. Vietnam and Indonesia have followed this vein of thought and combined it with the expansion of private hospitals. Thus far, in 2019, each of these nations has had an excellent start.

Singapore

In the Lion City, artificial intelligence has taken the medical industry by storm. MedTech startup, See-Mode, has successfully secured a $1 million USD investment from Cocoon Capital, SG Innovate and Blackbird Ventures to fund the development of its medical software suite. Said suite combines AI with computational modelling to produce accurate medical imaging, improving stroke prediction and allowing patients and doctors to plan necessary treatment programmes.

According to the World Health Organisation, 15 million people experience strokes each year, globally. Some survive with minor defects, 5 million pass away, and 5 million are left permanently disabled.

See-Mode’s software suite utilises and culminates the powers of deep learning, computational modelling, and cloud computing to analyse routinely collected CT, MRI, and ultrasound images without needing any additional observations, thereby reducing the clinician’s workflow. The technology gives doctors access to the risk factors behind critical strokes which cannot be obtained in traditional clinical practices.

Vietnam

The Vietnamese HealthTech startup scene saw exponential growth in January 2019, attracting nine investments from a pool which raised in excess of $1.58 billion USD. These investments will allow the further development of HealthTech apps like Mosia. Mosia is an anonymous online platform which allows the Vietnamese population to converse with professional experts in the fields of psychotherapy, counselling, life coaching, and career guides, who give them advice in confidential, individual sessions. Investment in Vietnam is vital for the continued development of apps like these.

Malaysia

January 2019 saw Malaysian HealthTech startup, Koyara, prepare to tackle the RM4 billion MYR health market in Malaysia. Awarded the ‘Best Health Lifestyle Tech Startup’ title in the Malaysian Rice Bowl Startup Awards in 2019, Koyara’s vision has been to build a tech-driven health platform which provides a range of organic, natural health products, spanning from vitamins to traditional medicines. January saw the company step ever closer to that goal, with the procurement of ‘healthworks.my’, which delivers health content instantly while engaging younger generations.

Indonesia

The Fit Company, a wellness tech startup which focuses on the production of active and healthy lifestyle products in Indonesia, gained an undisclosed amount of seed funding from East Ventures, in January of this year. Their mission is to build a technology-enabled ecosystem consisting of wellness-focused products and services. Under its vast wing, The Fit Company sells fitness equipment, provides a chain of gyms, hosts a fitness centre that leverages electro muscle stimulations technology, and runs the first Asian low-calorie fast food chain in Indonesia.  

Exploring Indonesia’s digital health industry

medical professionals working

The Southeast Asian region is a hotbed for overseas investment opportunities right now and the HealthTech sector, in particular, is booming. In a region where healthcare is essential but not very accessible and mobile-usage is king, the provisions from outside investment firms are leading Southeast Asia into an age of HealthTech-dominance where almost anybody can access credible healthcare advice from the comfort of their own home.

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