• The conference highlighted key disruptive trends in the areas of MedTech, Digital Health, Healthcare and Pharmaceutical
Singapore, 17 January 2019 – Leaders, investors, innovators and professionals across Asia’s healthcare industry gathered at the Asia Healthcare 2019 conference, held at Hilton Singapore, to deep dive into the many important impacts that rapid technology development and innovation have on the Asian healthcare arena. The inaugural industry event, themed “360° Disruptions”, was organised by RHTLaw Taylor Wessing’s Healthcare and Life Sciences Industry Group and RHT Academy.
Mr Erwan Barre, Partner and Head of RHTLaw Taylor Wessing’s Healthcare and Life Sciences Industry Group, said, “New technologies are being developed every day to address new market needs as the middle-class population in Asia Pacific continues to grow. To meet these needs, a patient-centric approach is key, driving the disruption of traditional healthcare models as well as creating opportunities and threats for market players.”
“The inaugural conference is an exciting event for the firm as it reflects our deep understanding and connection with the healthcare industry. Across the panel discussions and presentations, the latest trends which are set to shape the future of the healthcare sector are being examined today by innovators, entrepreneurs and experts. This is an illustration of our client-centric approach as we continue to immerse ourselves in the industry to deliver the right solutions for our clients in the healthcare sector,” he added.
Ms Rhenu Bhuller, Partner, Frost & Sullivan, delivered the keynote address titled “Do more with less”, calling on Asia’s healthcare players to innovate and disrupt to achieve the same results as developed economies at a lower cost.
Ms Bhuller highlighted the shifting focus of care to prevention and diagnosis. As the large population of chronic disease patients continues to grow, industry players will need to leverage technology and lower the cost of clinical personnel to deliver affordable care. Technologies that increase engagement, automate interactions, screen individuals for risk assessment and reduce harm or risk of disease will contribute significantly to the emerging transformation of care delivery.
The issue of Singapore’s ageing population and impending healthcare challenges were addressed during the panel discussion on disruption in home care as well as elderly and geriatric care. Dr Tan Jit Seng, Founder and Director of Lotus Eldercare, highlighted that manpower continues to be a serious issue in eldercare across developed markets. Emerging markets in Southeast Asia with a large working age population such as Cambodia present significant potential as a source of recruitment of eldercare workers to address the manpower needs in countries with an ageing population. The recent opening of an elderly care training centre in Cambodia to train Cambodian caregivers for jobs in Japan could signal a new potential source of manpower to address Singapore’s eldercare needs.
Beyond Singapore, investment opportunities and challenges across China’s healthcare sector was also discussed during a panel discussion. Goh Ann Nee, Chief Financial Officer of Raffles Medical Group, shared her experience following Raffles Medical Group’s recent opening of its first hospital in China located in Chongqing. While China’s healthcare market is opening up to foreign investors, being able to navigate local regulations remains crucial to success.
Partners Jeremiah Huang and Ch’ng Li-Ling, RHTLaw Taylor Wessing, discussed the potential applications of blockchain technology in the healthcare industry despite certain possible legal and regulatory challenges, including but not limited to the nature of smart contracts and personal data protection laws.
As the role of new technology in the provision of healthcare services continues to increase, cybersecurity risks are becoming a serious concern for the industry. Dr Keren Priyadarshini, Regional Business Leader, WW Health Industry Asia, Microsoft Asia, highlighted the richness of healthcare data. As medical data is more valuable to hackers than credit card information, healthcare players need to rethink their approach to cybersecurity.