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How healthcare players can tap into emerging digital health ecosystems 03-08-2021
Healthcare, Asia
Emerging consumer-centric digital health ecosystems in Asia deliver care by combining three critical components: a network of healthcare service providers across care settings; a smart system leveraging behavioural, social, and health data; and a technology backbone enabling data and insights to flow between care providers.

These ecosystems are not entirely digital as they both integrate digital and physical health services. They are not run by a single entity as these ecosystems typically consist of a "central orchestrator anchored around a few self-built business models".


According to McKinsey research, the budding digital health market in Asia is expected to be worth up to $100 billion by 2025. In the report, it cited five fundamental forces driving its growth: 

  • Ageing population: Over the next four years, Asia will have around 456 million people aged 65 and above, accounting for a tenth of its population, who will lift the demand for health services.
  • Supply Constraints: With a projected shortfall of nine million nurses worldwide, some Asian countries will be badly affected. Also, there are fewer doctors attending to about 1,000 people in Asia compared to the average count in OECD countries.
  • Rising consumer expectations: It is said that consumers are spending more on health and wellness. McKinsey research showed that nearly half of Chinese consumers are spending more on health over the past year and almost a quarter is spending more on nutrition. 
  • Growing financial burden:  While Asian governments spend an average of 4.5% of GDP on healthcare, they are still the dominant healthcare payers, making up 64% of all health expenditures in 2018. 
  • Technological innovation: Half of the global internet users are found in Asia. Meanwhile, Asia corners about $6 billion of the $14 billion global venture capital or private equity investments in digital health.


"We believe that digital health ecosystems represent the future of healthcare in Asia and beyond. Both healthcare incumbents and new entrants will need to define what their future roles will be in orchestrating or participating in health ecosystems," the report concluded.

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