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Technology and Distribution Innovations in Healthtech

Updated: Feb 28

Executive Summary This report is part of a study that CIIE.CO, the Innovation Continuum (henceforth, CIIE.CO), and Economic Research Institute of ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) are conducting to open collaboration and peer learning between India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and to share knowledge and tools relevant to entrepreneurship ecosystems in South and Southeast Asia. It dives into the health technology (healthtech) ecosystem in India and ASEAN and presents a comparative explanation of some of the major policies. This report is based on the joint roundtable held by CIIE.CO and ERIA on ‘Technology and Distribution Innovations in Healthtech’, as well as previous research by both organisations on healthtech in the respective country and/or region.

Key Messages

  • As a direct outcome of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), ‘digital’ has emerged as the viable model for healthcare delivery. India and ASEAN have been witnessing a rapid rise in digital practices amongst doctors, patients, and other value chain participants. The pandemic, particularly, has led to the acceleration of newer operating models in telemedicine and e-pharmacy to solve otherwise complex healthcare problems.

  • Per Alfonsius Timboel of Halodoc Indonesia, the disruption in the healthcare ecosystem because of COVID-19 has accelerated the growth of the healthtech industry, allowing healthtech startups to play a role as ‘hospital without walls.’ The roles of the private sector and emerging healthtech startups have been critical in supporting government COVID-19 measures in Indonesia, as the government plans to utilise a digital health strategy as part of the Indonesia Digital Roadmap in 2024.

  • In the words of Dr. Satya Dash, culture is very important to building a healthtech innovation ecosystem. A culture of risk-taking has started in India in the last 15–20 years. The expanding spread of e-commerce is also exciting young startups to build innovative health delivery solutions. The current ease of getting government funding for early-stage startups, which started about 20 years ago, is evidence of significant push from the government.

  • In India and ASEAN, there is an increased collaboration between the government and the private sector to build on technological advances and improve the delivery of healthcare services. According to Von Leong, in a post-COVID world, telemedicine and e-pharmacy services are now more widely accepted than ever before. The private sector has a big role to play in the growth of these services. Also, public-private collaboration in vaccine research and distribution, as well as distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) can work under crisis situations if there is a political will and, of course, support of philanthropists and impact investors who come together to support these initiatives.

  • It is very important to have a strong data management framework for healthcare. Nita Tyagi opines that for individuals, data helps access the right diagnosis and treatment. For healthcare organisations, data helps prepare appropriate treatment protocols. For a nation, data helps seamlessly mitigate a pandemic-like situation. These should be the incentives for organisations to invest in data management that ensures accurate data is in place for all stakeholders.

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