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Emerging digital solutions to an ‘age-old’ challenge

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 December, 2016, 9:41am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 December, 2016, 9:41am

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It was unlikely a child born a century ago would live past 65 years old, let alone 80 or 90 years; today, at over 83 years, Hong Kong’s average life expectancy is among the world’s longest. While this reflects how advances in medicine and hygiene have contributed to our long lives, it poses significant challenges to the healthcare system. Medical cost inflation represents a growing financial burden on both individuals and society, and increasing healthcare demands are not being met by anything close to a proportionate rise in providers (doctors and nurses alike).

Fortunately, innovative minds are discovering new ways for technology to not just solve our healthcare problems, but also expand our understanding of one of the greatest ‘machines’ in existence: the human body. Riding on the success of the 2016 StartmeupHK Festival, InvestHK is bringing HealthTech Asia back to Hong Kong next month at the PMQ. Last year’s event attracted 350 healthcare professionals, investors, entrepreneurs, and academics, and the next edition on 20 January, 2017 will surely deliver even more insights for all participants.

Some of the names due to appear at 2017 HealthTech Asia? The opening keynote speakers are Lee Dentith and Tim Ng from Britain’s Now Healthcare Group, who will discuss how emerging medical technology is disrupting healthcare delivery. Meanwhile, TST International’s Dr. Alex Cahana combines two of the hottest fields in tech – Virtual Reality and healthtech – in his talk about digital integrative care.

Leading healthtech startups such as NovoHeart and Sealantis are making pitches on January 20, and two panel discussions – on healthtech investing trends, and the impact of incubation programmes – concludes one of Asia’s can’t-miss events on a vital component of our well being.

Within the healthtech sector, many startups focus on wearables; IDC report estimated shipments to hit 101.6 million by the end of 2016, a 29 percent increase over 2015.[1] Devices that monitor vital biological indicators provide invaluable data to healthcare providers, and entrepreneurs hope to link our health with hospitals, doctors, and public health authorities, enabling them to create bespoke health solutions for every individual. China in particular is ripe for a revolution in this field, with a poll revealing 20 percent of Chinese used a fitness monitor of some sort.[2] For healthtech startups, Hong Kong is as good as it gets as a launchpad into the Mainland market.