New Zealand Keeps Finger on the Pulse of Healthcare IT Solutions


Tony Robinson, New Zealand Trade Commissioner, Singapore

Healthcare demands are set to grow significantly in Asia-Pacific as the region experiences both a flourishing economy and ageing population.

Asia-Pacific is  home to more than 335 million people over the age of 60 and the size of 60+ group  in the region is projected to double from 9.4 per cent in 2000 to 23.5 per cent of the total population by 2050, according to the 2005 UN estimates.

This will inevitably result in a greater number of medical conditions related to senior citizens and a much greater demand for specialised and improved medical attention.

As part of the strategy for establishing improved healthcare systems, governments across South East Asia are investing in health ICT solutions that will help them manage diverse medical demands on tight budgets.

New Zealand suffers the same challenges of an ageing population—with the age group over 65 expected to account for 87 per cent of the growth in total population during    2005 - 2051. Thankfully, it has recorded  one of the highest levels in making  use of healthcare IT in the world—with hospitals, doctors and pharmacies known to have employed electronic medical systems for over 20 years.

On top of this, the New Zealand business community is known for continuing to deliver innovative and technology-driven solutions,  which are increasingly making their way into Asia’s healthcare system.

By 2050, according to the UN, almost 30 per cent of Singaporeans will be senior citizens. By that time, some of Asia’s most populous nations–India and Indonesia-will have 12.7 and 15.8 per cent of their populations classed as senior citizens. Another of Asia’s larger populations, Japan, will have 36.5 per cent classified as senior citizens. As a result, Japan’s healthcare  spend is expected to grow more than double, from 6.1 per cent of GDP in 2006-2010, to 12.5 per cent in 2060, and Indonesia’s will rise from 1.2 per cent to 7.3 per cent.

Meanwhile urbanisation continues across Asia, and city populations are expected to expand at an unprecedented rate – more than half of the population (55 per cent) in Asia will live in urban areas by 2030, according to statistics from Asian Development Bank. McKinsey predicts that 900 million people are expected to transition from poverty into middle class in developing Asian countries by 2020. Better education and employment opportunities will continue to drive the growth of cities, leading to an increased awareness of and access to quality healthcare.


Author Bio

Tony Robinson

Tony Robinson is New Zealand's Trade Commissioner to Singapore, appointed in July 2013. Before joining NZTE, Tony established, grew and eventually sold a healthcare company. He has lived and worked in New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan and Saudi Arabia in Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) marketing roles with the New Zealand Dairy Board and Heinz Watties. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration (BCA) from Victoria University of Wellington.

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