BlogAug30

Why Ecosystem Connectors Are Essential to HealthTech Innovation

The promise of HealthTech innovation transforming the healthcare industry remains largely unrealized at this stage. While new technology has disrupted and accelerated the rate of change in finance and other industries, change in healthcare remains slow.

“While health has always been a major area for innovation investing, we are witnessing a new era of venture capital in the sector. This ‘HealthTech’ segment comes from the convergence of technological trends as diverse as genetic engineering and smartphones, and holds the promise of increasing quality of life and controlling costs in healthcare systems worldwide – one of the most difficult challenges of our generation.

The paternalistic doctor-centric culture has ended. Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and social networking, together with breakthrough therapies and genomics, are bringing about the personalized of care. Moreover, the AI-driven shift from acute care to prevention and wellness holds the promise of lowering operational costs across the board.

WHY SO DIFFICULT?

Emerging healthcare technologies offer huge potential to solve the many issues facing Asia’s healthcare systems and there is strong optimism among healthcare ecosystem stakeholders, but the complexity, wide variation in healthcare systems, structural barriers, and institutional inefficiencies have limited the solutions that make it to market and/or slowed their adoption.

Problems in healthcare delivery and management are typically more complex than they initially appear. The recent failure in the United States to replace the Affordable Care Act with an alternative demonstrates that even determined and ambitious attempts to change practices and effect change are immensely difficult. Newcomers to the problem such as President Trump have found the challenge daunting.

“Now, I have to tell you, it’s an unbelievably complex subject. Nobody knew health care could be so complicated.”

The stakeholders are fragmented and finding paths to collaborate has often proven difficult.  Useful and even innovative technologies are not readily accepted and integrated. Regulatory requirements, existing protocols and processes, purchasing procedures, and insurer behaviour all influence how and when even breakthrough technologies make it into widespread use. There are four principal barriers for healthcare innovation:

Wide Variation

Asia is a region of distinct cultures and countries, each with its own healthcare systems and practices. There is no one consistent model for health care delivery in the region as each country has its own health care system and just as these economies are developing economically at different rates, the rate of change and adoption of new technology in healthcare varies widely between countries in the region.

Structural Barriers

The Asia HealthTech ecosystem is full of potential, yet is currently facing many challenges as the technology used, and rate of adoption of such technology is behind that of other industries as adoption of new technology has structural barriers that have slowed the generation, adoption, and proliferation of solutions that have strong potential to both improve patient outcomes while dramatically lowering costs.

Health System Inefficiencies

Why is it, with all the technological progress and innovation we have witnessed in the past fifty years, that a model efficient healthcare system still evades most health systems. Is it just a question of more investment and resources? Or is it something more fundamental?

There are multiple healthcare inefficiencies, which rob the system, and therefore the population, of achieving an optimal “ROI” from the invested resources.

Our forthcoming POV paper on Health System Inefficiencies groups the pain points into six key categories of inefficiencies which impact all healthcare systems, but to a different degree in each market, thereby giving it a very local nuanced context in response to the vagaries of each healthcare system.

THE RATIONALE FOR A HEALTHTECH CONNECTOR HERE IN ASIA

The Galen Growth Asia Healthtech Connector functions to help the industry stakeholders collectively overcome the challenges faced by Asia healthcare system platform for sharing knowledge and expertise.  Sharing and engaging with other actors in the ecosystem will drive better outcomes for stakeholders and patients whilst potentially solving healthcare system inefficiencies.

Singapore EMR Case Study

Singapore is now confronting the challenge of patient Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and delivering a realistic solution that meets the needs of everyone involved is posing difficulties. Much like the EMR challenge, problems in healthcare delivery and management are typically more complex than they initially appear. Useful and even innovative technologies are not readily accepted and integrated. Regulatory requirements, existing protocols and processes, purchasing procedures, and insurer behaviour all influence how and when even breakthrough technologies make it into widespread use.

THE PRESSING NEED FOR CONNECTORS

This is where ecosystem connectors come in, to bring the fragments together and work towards a common focus.  Galen Growth Asia acts as a powerful galvanizing force to help healthcare stakeholders break through barriers, collaborate, and speed progress toward a new healthcare ecosystem that employs disruptive technologies to make the system more effective and more efficient.

Connectors need to bring together technology companies and healthcare providers, amongst many essential ecosystem stakeholders, to leverage these new technologies, to improve the performance of healthcare networks and ultimately bring about better care for patients.   Everyone has a role to play in the evolution of HealthTech. Going forward, adaptable technology will trump inflexible and conventional models, which is where startups will be able to make an impact. Government and healthcare policy shifts are leaving more room for innovative small tech beginners to gain a footing. To return to the EMR case study, implementing a platform like EMR is challenging and expensive, and involves far more than just IT implementation. It requires an entire business transformation for clinical systems.

COLLABORATION IS ESSENTIAL

To break down the barriers to HealthTech innovation in Asia, Galen Growth Asia, as the Asia HealthTech connector, seeks to connect disparate stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem. If investors represent a stakeholder group that shoulders financial risk, technology represents those companies and entrepreneurs pursuing new innovative solutions, and healthcare represents government, hospital groups, and care providers, then a HealthTech connector offers a bridge between investors, technology and healthcare actors.

A HealthTech connector provides a collaborative platform for all stakeholders to interact and better understand the complexities of the healthcare market and individual actors. Through shared understanding, collaboration, and partnerships, the challenges of healthcare in Asia can be better met.

Successful health care innovation will only happen with strong collaboration between entrepreneurs, investors, health care providers, patients, and policy developers. If the stars align, humanity stands to derive enormous benefit…”

Gavin Teo, Partner at B Capital Group

Collaboration between the key stakeholder groups is critical in driving and enabling innovation, especially in a relatively nascent ecosystem such as HealthTech. Events such as the Asia HealthTech CEO Summit, run by Galen Growth Asia (GGA), offer the opportunity for entrepreneurs, innovators and key ecosystem stakeholders to come together for open discussion and problem solving, with the ultimate aim of improving patient outcomes and overcoming health system inefficiencies.

The summit is the barometer of the ecosystem, and the only HealthTech-centric event in Asia. It demonstrates how essential the roles of connectors like GGA are in the Asian HealthTech landscape.

GGA connects and catalyzes the ecosystem at the convergence of healthcare and technology. By mobilizing thought leaders in the industry, GGA supports HealthTech innovators to supply valuable insights and connections for market access, business development and investment opportunities, and ultimately create an integrated healthcare ecosystem.

If you’d like more information about the Asia HealthTech CEO Summit, please visit http://www.galengrowth.asia/ceo-summit-2017/, or drop me a message.


Authored by: Julien de Salaberry

Copyright © 2017 Galen Growth Asia

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