Hui Hsing Ma, Senior Deal Advisor SEA, TVM Capital Healthcare
If “necessity is the mother of invention” is a truism, the healthcare sector in Southeast Asia is ripe for lift-off in accessible and affordable healthcare.
The 10-country ASEAN region, counts a population of over 600 million, dispersed over a large geography. Communities are culturally and ethnically heterogeneous, even within countries, with different patterns of consumption. The quality of local healthcare provision ranges from good but with key gaps for its urban middle class and poor to non-existent for its urban poor and rural communities. In addition, the region faces a shortage of health workers and WHO forecasted that Southeast Asia faces a 4.7 million shortage by 2030. With minimal insurance or state payment cover, millions are just one major illness away from financial catastrophe.
ASEAN’s aspiring urban, chronic care and aging populations desperately need better healthcare quality and delivery, especially in post-acute and home-based healthcare. To address such underserved needs, successful and scalable healthcare products and services require innovation to achieve better patient outcomes and/or leverage resource productivity for private and public healthcare providers.
Many of its public and private sectors have or are ready to deploy such technologies, possibly leapfrogging the developed world’s traditional healthcare systems. These include novel but proven platforms incorporating smart technology products and innovatively connected devices, services, software and payment models for monitoring, diagnosis and treatment consultation connected to existing healthcare providers as well as consumer health apps for mobile devices.
Two major challenges to innovation businesses are that although ASEAN is making progress towards a harmonized market, industry development across countries are at different stages and regulatory regimes remain distinct and cumbersome for timely regional market entry. One approach is to focus on the rising ASEAN urban middle class who share similar healthcare demands and are an attractive and high growth market segment.
There are also new entrants who have applied technology solutions and business models from other industries to ASEAN healthcare needs, engaging directly with the patient-customers across its wide demographic and geographical spectra, partnering with the more progressive private and public sectors and challenging regulatory boundaries with their cross-border platforms. Recently, a few de novo biomaterials and biologics have also been launched in Asia markets ahead of the US.
At TVM Capital Healthcare we are focused on bridging the innovative healthcare and models from West to emerging markets and vice versa. Our team has over 180 years of combined healthcare experience, built category leader investments with strong operating network and track record globally and in emerging markets. This foundation enables us to understand and successfully translate healthcare delivery across different market dynamics. The healthcare sector in Southeast Asia will innovate to meet their patient-customer needs and we are ready to catalyze their innovation.