Even in 2019, human life comes and goes largely as before. The maximum human lifespan hasn’t gone up significantly from all the cumulative innovations of the past decades. What has changed dramatically is child mortality and healthspan, i.e. the portion of your life that you live a “healthy” life. That’s a good thing. In exchange, we’ve managed to wreck ourselves trying to chase economic and technological progress. Job stress is estimated to cost American companies more than $300 billion a year in health costs, absenteeism, and poor performance. Regionally, a recent study showed that many Asian cities like Tokyo, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur rank among the bottom in terms of overworking and work-life balance. Yikes.
GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO INCENTIVIZE PREVENTATIVE HEALTHCARE
Asia has some of the highest levels of stress, but not much infrastructure or culture in place to solve for it. The incentive structures aren’t in place in the same way in the developing world, and individuals must still bear the full weight of their healthcare. This is also an opportunity some disruptors are counting on, among them Discovery going global with their Vitality program and local player CXA.
WE FINALLY HAVE DATA, BUT WE DON'T USE IT
One breakthrough of the last decade is that we now have data, thanks to wearables. The recent example of Fitbit teaming up with the Health Promotion Board in Singapore shows that we’re just at the beginning of leveraging these devices for the good of society, not just the individual. The challenge is going to be about utilizing all that data with ethics and privacy as priorities.
FUNDING FOR EARLY-STAGE IS ENDANGERED
Total funding for APAC Healthtech continues trending up after a record 2018, but worryingly early-stage deals have been declining, with more investors hunting for fewer and bigger later-stage deals. This is a challenge for the 51% of Healthtech startups that are still pre Series A. There is an opportunity to follow Fintech in developing a healthy angel investor community to boost early-stage support.
FASTER WAYS TO INNOVATE
To speed up innovation, major healthcare groups have followed banks in engaging the startup community directly through innovation labs. Two such programs were recently launched in Singapore, with likely many more to follow regionally.
At Healthzilla, we see great promise in the intersection of better data from wearables, more targeted research studies, and the predictive abilities of artificial intelligence. Not as replacements for clinical healthcare, but to empower individuals to take responsibility and control of their own preventative health journeys and accelerate data-driven innovation in preventative healthcare. Our free app is available to consumers worldwide, and we’ve recently made our fingertip stress scan, digital health check, and recovery analytics available as APIs to B2B partners such as healthcare & wellness providers, and insurance companies.
For more, visit www.healthzilla.ai.
ARTICLE WRITTEN BY: AKI RANIN
Aki Ranin is the co-founder of Healthzilla and Bambu. Bambu was part of Plug and Play's APAC Insurtech Batch 0.