A study conducted by Prudential Corporation Asia and the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has found that digital health technologies offer an unprecedented opportunity to improve access to healthcare in Asia.
The research is titled “The Pulse of Asia – The Health of Asia Barometer.” According to Prudential, it explores attitudes to healthcare in Asia and highlights the demand for tools and services to help people in the region better navigate the healthcare system. It also calls for governments to partner with the private sector to maximise the potential of digital healthcare.
The report said that only around half of respondents (54%) believe that medical care is accessible and affordable. However, only around one in five (22%) said they can easily access exercise and fitness facilities that would help improve their personal health and wellness in the coming year.
Most of the respondents, composed of 5,000 adults across 13 Asian markets, said that technology can help them overcome these challenges. Over eight in 10 (81%) said technology had already improved their access to health services and 60% believe that it has improved the affordability.
Furthermore, consumer appetite towards digital health solutions is growing stronger – 71% of those surveyed said they will be more reliant on technology to improve their personal health and wellbeing three years from now.
To fulfil digital healthcare’s potential, the EIU report recommended greater public-private collaboration, with governments partnering with private companies to deliver digitally-innovative ways to promote and manage health and wellness. Governments should also harness digital channels better to disseminate health information to the public, as public health authorities remain the most trusted sources of health information for most respondents.
With increased reliance on technology, however, governments must also improve data security in areas such as connected health devices.
“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, PCA chief executive. “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.”