Southeast Asia is currently a prime market for health information system (HIS) providers to penetrate, according to a report by Asia-centric B2B growth strategy advisory firm Solidiance.
Infrastructure supporting HIS is improving at a fast pace in the region and together, India, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia account for about 90 percent of the total medical tourism in Asia.
Thailand and Malaysia present the biggest opportunity to service providers in the region. Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam are also potential targets and can be tapped for medical tourism.
Singapore's medical tourism is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12 percent for the last three years and is forecasted to remain the same for the next five years.
Malaysia is the fastest growing medical tourism market in the region with growth at CAGR of 33 percent in the last three years.
Thailand is the most popular medical destination in Asia, contributing for 40 percent of medical tourists in Southeast Asia.
Fewer physicians compared with West
Despite the growing optimism in the health information system market, SEA nations still register low levels of physicians compared with major Western countries.
The hospital capacity is also below the level of Western countries. Cost, regulations, and ethics are the major challenges in HIS implementation and all these are to be taken into account for HIS sustainability in the long run.
On a brighter note, healthcare technology in Singapore is now comparable to Western countries and its healthcare and HIS market are now at the end of the growth stage.
The HIS market in Malaysia is growing at a CAGR of 15 percent. This rate is higher than the average of the Asian region (13 percent), and even higher than the seven percent registered by the rest of the world.
Due to inadequate infrastructure support, HIS markets in other SEA countries, such as Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam, are currently still at the very early stages.
The national and local health information systems are poorly integrated and weakly governed in these nations and thus a lot of investment is required to enable HIS penetration as well as reach the achievable growth in the sector.