by | Mohd Afzanizam Mohd Badrin
At the start of 2010, the world population stood at over 6.8 billion. Historically, global trends showed a doubling over the past 45 years.
Between now and 2050, global population growth will be dominated almost exclusively by developing countries. In fact by 2020, 95% of the population will live in developing nations. With the growing number of the aging population, coupled with the increase in chronic diseases, consumers of the future are likely to be older and may have to deal with many chronic diseases. According to a recent study published in Demography by James Banks, middle aged and older Americans have higher rates of chronic diseases and new incidences of disease than their peers in England. The aging boomers will transform future healthcare market. For one there will be increasing demand on the public health system as well as the medical and social services.
The expanding patient population globally has resulted in an increase in global healthcare expenditure. The major increase in healthcare expenditure is now being witnessed mainly in the developed nations where population is ageing at a higher pace compared to less developed nations. On average, between 1998 and 2008, the growth rate in per capita health spending in real terms was 4.9% per year in Asia, higher than the 4.1% observed across OECD countries.
Both the private and public healthcare market are facing new challenges. This is mainly due to the advancement and innovation in medical technologies that are taking place. Many hospitals are now equipped with state-of-art equipment. All are investments made to enhance service quality and faster delivery. Consumers are now able to take advantage of the initiative taken by both private and public hospitals. The Ministry of Health, Malaysia under 1Care system will integrate all private and government clinics to deliver better service.
The system will make sure people receives premium healthcare. The program enables patients to choose where they wish to be treated. A blueprint will be developed in charting a better healthcare service. There are about 4,000 private clinics and 800 government clinics operating across the country.
Global healthcare is now shifting from a diseasecentric to a prevention-centric medical model. Selfcare, self-reliance, personalization, back-to-basics fitness and active & health enhancement lifestyles trends put consumers back in control of their own health and wellness.
Innovation in parallel will come faster. A traditional healthcare system will be replaced by modern healthcare system with information technology applications. The aims are to minimize the physical movements of patients and enhances the coverage of healthcare services. Some experts believe that health IT would save money and significantly improve health care quality. Future innovations in healthcare technologies will take place to enhance healthcare quality.
In order to provide quality and affordable healthcare to all, telemedicine is going to be an important component of the modern healthcare system. It will better facilitate the existing healthcare system currently facing a number of problems such as the shortage of qualified medical professionals, high cost and limited reach in remote areas in the country. Telemedicine, being a component of ICT based healthcare, is a provision of healthcare services that uses telecommunication technology and multimedia equipment to provide healthcare solutions over the geographic distance.
Telemedicine is poised for growth with the focus on quality healthcare for everyone. With the thrust behind improvement in healthcare delivery, the opportunity in telemedicine market is too significant to ignore. The global telemedicine market has grown rapidly during the last five years thanks to an increase in global healthcare expenditure. The market is expected to continue growing in the coming years as a result of the growing world population, the rise in life expectancy, increasing per capita GDP, increase use of web & wireless services, integration of patient alert devices & vital signs recording devices and increasing health expenditure in the emerging economies.