Over the past few years, Singapore has managed to build a thriving healthtech ecosystem that provides an abundant supply of funding, ideas, and strategic partnership as well as collaboration opportunities to startups, SMEs and enterprises alike. 

According to Statista, revenue in the healthtech sector in Singapore is expected to show an annual growth rate of 20.44 percent, resulting in an estimated market volume of US$865.10 million by 2027. As of November this year, Singapore is home to more than 750 healthtech startups constantly working to leverage the latest technology and innovation to make healthcare accessible, safe, inclusive and efficient for one and all. 

For healthtech and medtech in Southeast Asia, it is clear that Indonesia and Singapore lead the way

However, the healthtech sector in Singapore is still faced with some challenges and lags behind its counterparts in the region, such as China and India. As we enter the new year, we examine the booming healthtech sector in Singapore, its scope and its way forward. 

How healthtech can help with inclusivity and easy access for all

Singapore has managed to achieve excellent healthcare outcomes, with one of the lowest infant mortality rates and highest life expectancies in the world. However, one major gap that the industry is still facing is inclusivity and easy accessibility for all. 

In October this year, at the Forward Singapore Conversation, one of the main topics of discussion at the Lifelong Learning Institute between DPM Lawrence Wong, Minister of State for Social and Family Development Sun Xueling, MSF’s director-general of social welfare Ang Bee Lian, and social service professionals was how to better support seniors, low-income groups, and young families.

This is precisely where technology-enabled startups and organisations are stepping up to help make healthcare inclusive and accessible for all. One such local player is Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS) – a leading healthcare technology firm that integrates resilient, intelligent, secure and cost-effective technology with people and processes to make healthcare more efficient, inclusive, accessible and safer for patients. 

Another promising player in the industry is wellness startup Moom, which focuses on women’s health issues by closely working with specialists in the fields of naturopathy, nutrition, dermatology, gynaecology, sexual health, and traditional medicine; Whereas, MiyaHealth relies on the latest technologies like AI and predictive analysis tools to help people find inexpensive healthcare, and manage their chronic conditions in a hassle-free manner.

Collaboration is key for a resilient healthcare environment

In a post-pandemic future, collaboration and partnerships will be key to addressing the new challenges faced across industries; multiple reports and studies have said this over the last year and a half. Close collaboration and partnerships become even more pertinent in the healthcare industry where there is an urgent need for policymakers, technologists, academicians, health practitioners and other industry partners to come together and build a resilient ecosystem.

Many healthtech players in the region are tapping into events to bring everyone to the same table and discuss issues and solutions that matter. For example, last year, IHiS organised a two-day interactive virtual event called HealthTech X where more than a thousand attendees got a chance to engage with around 23 global healthtech leaders, including policymakers, healthcare providers, technologists and innovators. Medisix Therapeutics, an industry leader in immune engineering addressing T cell malignancies, is organising a biotech event next year in collaboration with SGInnovate exploring the role of deep tech in medicine as well as insights on what it takes to be a successful biotech CEO.

During his address, Guest-of-Honour, Second Minister of Health, Mr Masagos Zulkifli recognised the important role that healthtech played and continues to play in supporting Singapore to combat COVID-19. He said: “While COVID-19 has put our healthcare sector to the test, I am glad that we have managed to develop new technology and data capabilities within a short period, to support key pillars of our national strategy against COVID-19 – in contact tracing, testing, vaccinations and running our community care facilities. Our healthtech teams leveraged existing solutions and capabilities, quickly adapting them to meet new demands.” 

Healthtech is no longer an option but the only way forward

Healthtech disrupted traditional medicine and healthcare in Singapore over the past decade but with the COVID-19 pandemic, the value of healthtech became even more apparent and the entire industry stepped up to meet the urgent surge in demands and help bridge gaps. Without technological enablement in healthcare, much of what Singapore achieved during recent years would not have been possible. 

As we finally move towards a post-pandemic future, this trend is here to stay as Singapore and the rest of the world realise the importance of focusing on making healthcare easily available and accessible through technology. 

Technologies, such as targeted gene therapies, bionics and robotics, tissue engineering, and 3D printing, among others, are pushing the limits of conventional medicine and paving the way for the development of personalised medicine and more specialised treatments. As a result, the innovation wave is anticipated to provide more individualised services and treatment alternatives, especially when combined with Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, and big data. 

In a nutshell, the potential of healthtech is unlimited and as startups and companies in an innovation hub like Singapore continue to make strides, we will witness greater consumer-driven digital health in 2023 and beyond. With key players like IHiS, Moom, MiyaHealth, Medisix Therapeutics and many more making consistent efforts to help create a more collaborative ecosystem with innovation at its core, we can expect more progressive improvements to the healthcare system in Singapore.

This article is sponsored.