India and Southeast Asian markets to thrive in healthtech
While China remains a front runner in healthtech, India and Southeast Asia display strong potentials in cultivating local innovation capabilities in the field.
China's digital healthcare sector has been experiencing robust growth, but emerging markets like India and Southeast Asia are also staking their claim in the health tech landscape.
Chris Hardesty, a partner at Pureland Venture, said that countries like India and Southeast Asia have traditionally been importers of technology, but at present, they are also cultivating their own local innovation capabilities in health technologies.
He added that many of the advanced Asian economies like Japan and Korea continue to drive healthtech innovations which makes them an export model, and it inspires other countries to actually export their technology.
“Maybe what's really interesting to me and exciting is to see the next wave of countries coming up,” he said, “That's something to look out for us to see the innovation coming from some of these more emerging economies.”
Hardesty highlighted software development’s agility and cost-effective scalability, but also pointed out that there have been many lapses in this area.
“Honestly speaking, what I would say over the last one to two years, is, this has been a cause of issue as well, we've seen a lot of challenges of actually what the software business model could be,” he said, “Particularly in healthcare, we have aspects like reimbursement, but then even more recently, there's been a huge crackdown of regulation of the softwares.”
Hardesty indicated a shift back to the basics, emphasizing the importance of integrating both hardware and software in healthtech solutions.
“We look at a lot of things like sensor technologies that have a software component or remote patient monitoring solutions that are our physical and digital, or also looking at things that are offline and online. So it kind of integrates the care pathway. So from this sense, we're coming a little bit more back to the basics. And that's our focus area right now,” he mentioned.
In comparing the health tech ecosystems of different nations, Hardesty emphasized China's long-term vision, impressive ecosystem, and substantial domestic market as factors propelling it ahead.
He cited that primary care plays a critical role in universal health coverage and opportunities for technological innovation.
“As we put more pressure on primary care, we also see more gaps, right? I think all of us have experiences trying to navigate our health systems and realizing that there's some benefits of going to the primary care doctor, but also some challenges with waiting times and just the triage and sort of flow process through the system,” he said.
“That's where technology has a huge potential to play. Of course, one reason why we emphasize primary care is to reduce cost and improve access in our health systems. So now, I think a lot of emphasis is on improving quality through primary care,” he added.
Hardesty said that they are looking at certain health technologies that can make the healthcare workers live better and more efficiently not just for their patients but for their own good.
“I guess what I'm trying to say is, I really believe in primary care, and I see the opportunity for technology to innovate there, but also, still remembering the holistic pathway. And thinking through the broader context of the situation is important toom,” he ended.