The Southeast Asian (SEA) region is comprised of many developing countries. There are hundreds of thousands of people in this region alone. Thus, it’s only natural that this region up until now is facing many health issues as well as overcrowding. Medical services in SEA for a large part of the population pale in comparison with other over-populated regions such as South Asia and East Asia (mainly China) but is still in need of immediate and advanced medical care as it faces head-on with modern day medical needs due to globalization and migration. While the affluent are engaging in medical tourism in search of better medical care elsewhere, such as in Singapore and Malaysia, there is a largely untapped potential in bringing medical care to the large SEA population locally and transnationally.
With around 9 percent of the world population in this region and 43% of Southeast Asians living in urban areas, there is a significant number of the population struggling in the rural communities thus, resulting in higher mortality rate due to limited access to decent health facilities. Not only that, the geographic of this region is deemed as one of the most disaster-prone in the whole world. Additionally, many SEA countries are situated on or near the equator, rendering it to be a tropical region which means making it more inclined to infectious diseases than cooler regions. In such conditions, it can be said that this region desperately needs quick and precise medical system.
Furthermore, on top of the above-mentioned factors, healthcare facilities in SEA (as is also in most of Asia) are in very high demand as the affluent in this region are able to afford better medical care. The WHO and BDG Asia stated that SEA, ultimately, has an extremely low health expenditure per capita, which is around 3.9% in 2012. This is surprisingly much lower than any other regions in the world, even lesser than poorer regions such as South Asia and Saharan Africa.
Despite the challenges in these recent years, SEA is rapidly increasing its private healthcare sectors to help governments get more comprehensive public medical provision. For example, in Indonesia, the government has started to encourage the private sector to be increasingly involved in health care. Even in communist Vietnam, similar efforts have been seen to get more private health care providers on board the bandwagon.
How telemedicine can meet increasing healthcare demands
With such dynamic challenges and the innovation brought about by technological affordances, it is necessary for the world to innovate on alternative forms of providing medical care. If people find it hard to access healthcare facilities easily, why don’t we bring it to them? With the support of both governments and the people, as well as the already widespread mobile and social media culture in this region, it may be inevitable to find telemedicine as a solution to the problem.
Telemedicine is actually a concept that had been started as early as in the 1950s. The first generation of telemedicine was utilized using the telephone and was already successful back in those days in Pennsylvania, USA. Fast-forward to almost 60 years later, with significant technological advancement in communication, using Live Chat and Video Call isthe new face of telemedicine to serve people from all walks of life around the world and especially in SEA.
Prospect of telemedicine in SEA
Telemedicine will work not only for the people living in rural areas but also in the urban and developed areas. Patients will not be burdened by traveling time and expenses, resulting in more effective time for work or other activities. By not coming to the hospital or clinic personally, it also maintains privacy while at the same time preventing the spread of infectious diseases.
Not only that, the provider can also reap the benefits because with telemedicine you will increase revenue and office efficiency. It can also lead to fewer cancellations or missed appointments. Not to mention it will enhance your ability to maintain a good competitive position in the private health care service due to better and quicker treatment for patients. Through live chat and video call, telemedicine can provide better quality one-to-one consultations with secure connections.
Despite generally being a developing region, SEA has high potential in applying telemedicine in its infrastructure, thanks to the Internet network provision that is currently increasing rapidly in this region due to the support of the governments to adopt telehealth and telemedicine. Moreover, a minority has already begun operating telemedical services in this region and this can prove to be expansion opportunities locally or across countries.
Surely it will be a challenge to adapt chat and video call in the healthcare sector while the communication infrastructures are still being developed. But, Qiscus team is ready to take that challenge to spread telemedicine across the region. Feel free to drop us a note at [email protected] and we can do a FREE consultation session over video call – right from your mobile phones.