Digital transformation of the healthcare sector

July 5, 2018 - 3 minutes read

Raman Singh, CEO of pharmaceutical company Mundipharma at Asia Square Tower 2, shares his insights on the future of healthcare in an increasingly tech-savvy world

At a time when technological innovation is rapidly reshaping business models, industries and economies, it seems evident that the healthcare sector is at the centre of this transformation. According to some analyst projections, the global eHealth market accounted for US$99.35 billion in 2015 and it is expected to reach US$285.57 billion by 2022. In emerging economies where regulations on health data are less onerous and where patients often pay to see a doctor, there is even faster growth and innovation. China, a country that builds 400 hospitals per year, saw its two largest venture capital investments in health in 2017 – and India is following close behind.

In the short term, I see the greatest transformation of the sector stemming from a growing array of apps that give consumers direct access to qualified general practitioners (GPs) via their mobile phones – it is estimated that American GPs will conduct 5.4 million video consultations a year by 2020. In the long term, global e-commerce players will make an impact as they find innovative ways to bring together health data on phones and apps, allowing patients to take greater control of their existing health conditions.

We are working hard with partners, health companies and governments to help accelerate this transformative curve by developing high-tech digital initiatives across all our therapy areas, including:

• Virtual reality education in analgesia, oncology, oncology supportive care and respiratory. This is an exciting approach to medical education using technology like Google Cardboard and Oculus Rift.

• A mobile app for ophthalmology, which uses augmented reality to demonstrate the irreversible visual impairment caused as glaucoma progresses. This, combined with an interactive 3D model, helps patients understand why treatment is so important despite their disease often being asymptomatic. Currently, many patients stop taking their medication, which can result in permanent blindness.

• A mobile app dosage converter, which takes a complex algorithm and produces an easy-to-use calculator for doctors. It is fully referenced and responsive to the guidelines of the country that the doctor is practising in, increasing doctors’ confidence and saving their time when changing patients’ medications. The global healthcare sector must not only embrace, but also ride the digital transformation wave in order to extend its reach and access to patients. What is important through all of this is the patient journey – innovative technology has the potential to consolidate or streamline what is currently a complex and fractured patient experience, particularly in emerging markets. Technology can overcome shortcomings of the physical system, helping to provide millions of patients with lifesaving treatments and information.

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