How Tech Got This Nation’s Healthcare System Through The Pandemic

Healthcare systems around the world continue to face immense pressure in the wake of the Covid 19 pandemic, compounded by an aging world population. In Malaysia, the healthcare system was tested to the limit when doctors and nurses were complaining of burnouts but the problem was already abound prior to the virus attack. Healthcare system around the world are trying to adapt and cope with this war however as known most have lost or are losing without government intervention there is no way the hospitals can handle the onslaught.

It was technology that stepped in to make up for the inferior network, the South China Morning Post’s inaugural China Digital Health Report 2021, examined how China and other leading nations were adopting technology solutions to address the growing pressure on national healthcare systems and imbalances in health resources.

The report shows government policy initiatives, key challenges and opportunities in each of the four sectors of digital health with data collected from over 200 Chinese digital health companies. Sectors include internet healthcare, AI in healthcare, healthcare IT, and big data in healthcare. It analyses initiatives behind China’s rapid growth in its digital health industry and provides key trends, challenges, and opportunities for the sector’s future. With Covid 19 driving digitisation across all industries, China’s digital health sectors are now booming and expected to grow 42% YoY over the next five years. Resource imbalances, high out-of-pocket costs for patients, and the pandemic are among the most consequential drivers responsible for this growth. The growth story of China’s digital health market can provide insights for other nations that are digitizing their healthcare systems.

Governments around the world have been rolling out digital health policies to modernise its healthcare systems and alleviate the increasing pressure. Global healthcare workforce shortage is expected to grow from 6 million in 2015 to 15.5 million workers by 2030, and Covid 19 has only reinforced the trend. The report revealed how China overcame a slow start to catch up with its global peers in terms of digital health policies and adoption level. China has the second largest healthcare expenditure in the world, behind only the United States who leads in the number of funding deals and is home to the most leading digital health start-ups.

SCMP’s Business Editor Eugene Tang said,” Digital health introduces new possibilities and solutions, especially during Covid-19. China’s digital health market is a blueprint for how governments can support digital health efforts, and offer solutions that can create value for patients and the healthcare system. The market is certainly one for global
investors and corporate executives to watch.”

Key findings of the China Digital Health Report include:

Internet healthcare is the largest of the four sectors of digital health, and is expected to see the highest growth.
● The most common use case of 54 million internet healthcare users is remote consultation, but many players are driving revenue through sales of drugs and wellness products.
● AI in healthcare is significantly reducing time and cost of drug development, a process that typically costs over US$1bn and 10 years.
● The government has set explicit goals for hospitals to upgrade their healthcare IT systems, specifically to improve the maturity levels of their electronic medical record (EMR) systems.
● In big data in healthcare, the Chinese government, through state-owned enterprises and state investment companies, has developed major initiatives to develop nationwide

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