SINGAPORE, 25 APRIL 2017: Asia's leading healthcare representatives gathered today at the Financial Times' third annual FT Asia Healthcare & Life Sciences Summit, held at The Westin Singapore. The Summit, titled Shaping the future of healthcare, brought together government leaders, industry experts and senior business executives from across the region to discuss how initiatives taken today will improve Asia's healthcare landscape tomorrow.
Key to achieving healthcare sustainability is intelligent technology, which will transform the way healthcare is delivered across the region. Bruce Liang, CEO, Integrated Health Information Systems and CIO, Ministry of Health, Singapore, emphasised how technology can disrupt and innovate the healthcare system. Using Singapore as an example, Mr Liang stressed the importance of a supportive ecosystem:
"Singapore's unique ethno-cultural mix makes it a microcosm of Asia. Coupled with the government's open policy to global talent, a highly skilled local workforce, and a vibrant health sciences and technology ecosystem with a strong focus on Smart Health, Singapore is primed to be the strategic partner for world-class health technology players who are seeking to tackle Asia's current and future healthcare challenges."
Thought leaders at the Summit explored the business of healthcare in the region, as well as medical tourism, an increasingly profitable industry. They also took a hard look at the formidable healthcare challenges facing Asia today, including ageing populations and a sharp rise in the incidence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes.
Preetha Reddy, Vice Chairperson, Apollo Hospitals Group, said, "Asia is grappling with three big challenges; inadequate health infrastructure, insufficient skilled manpower and a lack of sustainable public health policies. Waging war against non-communicable diseases and delivering a better quality of life to the elderly need to be its priorities. Sustainability of healthcare is paramount and this requires disruptive ideas, a concerted focus on frugality, innovative financing models for community insurance schemes, a willingness to collaborate, empowering individuals and above all, a can-do spirit across Asia."
On the challenge posed by the rise of NCDs, Cristina Parsons Perez, Capacity Development Director, NCD Alliance, said, "NCDs are the leading causes of death and disability in Asia. We know of proven cost-effective strategies that save lives - reducing modifiable risk factors, strengthening health systems, expanding coverage of essential medicines and technologies, and improving surveillance - it is time to act."
Summing up the various thoughts on healthcare sustainability in Asia, Andrew Jack, Head of Curated Content and editor of FT Health at the Financial Times, who chaired the Summit, said, "Asia's healthcare market presents significant challenges. The Summit has been a fantastic opportunity to bring together industry leaders from across sectors to discuss some of the most topical issues in healthcare today, the need for change, and practical steps that can be taken to make the system sustainable. We have heard that the prognosis for the future is more emphasis on provision by governments, more investment by the private sector, and increased technology in healthcare."
The Summit was presented by the Financial Times, the world's leading business daily newspaper, with the support of Deloitte.