Healthcare players in the Asia Pacific region is in for a wild ride ahead as explosive growth together with changing demographics and shifting consumer expectations lead to significant transformation.
By 2025, close to half a billion people across APAC will be 65 years or older, which may lead to increased illness and other age-related health conditions. As the demand for chronic care management outpaces that for acute care services, expenditures will grow at double the rate of the rest of the world.
A survey by Bain & Company finds that the healthcare systems across the region need to undergo transformational change with consumers and physicians alike recognising that the status quo is unsustainable. The survey was done on more than 1,800 consumers in Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand, and more than 250 physicians in Australia, China, India and Indonesia to better understand the region’s challenges and opportunities.
“The APAC region is at a crossroads but there is an exciting opportunity to reimagine care delivery if stakeholders adjust to meet the changing expectations and needs of both physicians and consumers,” explained Vikram Kapur, who leads Bain & Company’s Healthcare practice in Asia-Pacific.
Within the region both physicians and consumers are ready to embrace change. Approximately 50 percent of those surveyed will adopt digital delivery models like telemedicine and remote care in the next five years.
Consumers are pushing to change the existing front line models of healthcare delivery by demanding more control, with nearly 70 percent prefer a single touchpoint for managing their healthcare. Physicians are also feeling the strain on healthcare systems, with nearly half of all physicians surveyed said it will be more difficult to deliver high-quality care in the future.
The research reveals four universal opportunities which stakeholders can pursue as they look to reinvent their healthcare systems.
- Empower consumers by providing a single touchpoint for care – Consumers want greater ownership of their care, with nearly 70 percent of respondents expressing the desire for a single touchpoint for managing their healthcare.
- Transition care outside of hospital walls – Shifting non-emergency services from hospitals to outpatient settings or alternative delivery models will be key to relieving the burden on overextended hospitals. Around 50 percent of consumers surveyed would be comfortable receiving services in an outpatient setting, and more than 80 percent of physicians believe a number of nonemergency services could be offered outside of hospitals.
- Increase consumer access to digital tools and platforms – Stakeholders will need to invest in world-class digital tools and online platforms, including telemedicine. Notably, 46 percent of consumer respondents expect to use telemedicine in the next five years—an increase of 109 percent over those who use it today.
- Support physicians with new technologies – Physicians are cognizant of the growing chasm between consumer needs and their ability to deliver. They fully expect to increase their use of AI and machine learning in the next five years to bridge the gap.
“The ability of healthcare players to build trust with consumers and physicians will be key, said Lucy d’Arville, a Bain & Company partner, and co-author of the report.
“Interestingly, our research finds that trust in healthcare players varies across countries. In Australia, India and Singapore, 70 percent of consumers say they most trust their primary care provider. However, in China, Indonesia and Thailand trust is greatest in secondary and tertiary care providers. Overall, there was mixed levels of trust for health insurers.”
Hence, it is time for healthcare stakeholders in Asia to look at how they can reinvent their systems.
Stakeholders that are responsive to physicians and consumers will quickly emerge as the front-runners in this dynamic environment.