Increasingly advanced digital technology reforms the health services sectors’ landscape. Numerous health-tech services companies began to develop according to the digital era. Globally, in 2018 186 digital healthcare companies are conducting IPO with up to USD 24 billion valuations, which is a sharp increase compared to 2017, which amounted up to USD 15 billion. Galen Growth reported that funding on health-tech companies in the Asia Pacific region reached USD 5 billion in 2019. Also, OECD reported that health-tech could change the human mindset on diseases, transform health services, and improve health outcomes.
In Indonesia, in 2019, there is USD 120 million for health-tech funding, 2% of total funding in the Asia Pacific. In 2019, Halodoc, a health-tech start-up in Indonesia, received the most significant funding in Southeast Asia, amounted up to USD 65 million. Until now, there are up to 80 health-tech companies that engaged in various fields, such as AIOT, teleconsultation, information systems, e-learning, and others.
The first panel of Services Dialogue Week gave us a new perspective on improving health care services using digitization and investment. We noticed that our health services sector is one of the crucial sectors to face COVID-19, and we can also see that we are not ready. Indonesia’ only’ has a little bit less than 3,000 hospitals. The pandemic and the state of health care services that still involve physical touch forced us to embrace digital technology to give better services given by the pandemic conditions.
Shifting in mindset needs to be enforced, especially for business players (hospitals, doctors). Nowadays, Indonesia’s health services consumers are more health-conscious and open to a digital solution, mostly purchasing daily essentials, medical consultation, e-learning, and giving donations. The data provided by ProSehat shows that there are 2 million telemedicine users during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there is a concern about how patients will not use conventional hospital after accessing telemedicine. Therefore, health technology should not focus on how the applications or platforms are giving services but emphasize how they collaborate with hospitals’ health services. At the same time, they also ease consumers on accessing health services.
However, several tasks need to be done to ensure the health-tech services grow optimally. First, hospitals’ regulation from building permits to accreditation of services and several other quality assurance systems. Permenkes 2/2020 regulates that hospitals’ investment is limited to hospitals with at least 200 beds or under international agreements/cooperation. Those regulations are complex and may prevent investors from investing in our health services. Second, digitalization may be easier to deal with in the bigger cities. However, if we do not consider growing the rural and smaller cities, the disparity will be even more enormous than before.
In conclusion, we need to revisit our regulation to embrace digital innovation and initiate regulatory sandbox. We need to revisit and deregulate to promote investment to improve healthcare access and services in Indonesia. Mindset also needs to be shifted because of the changing business model, and we can start with the business players (Hospital). We also need to improve the payment ecosystem and start learning about best practices from Health-Tech services to protect our patients better. COVID-19 is our trigger to embrace digitalization, but the most important thing is that we must make sure we can control the technology altogether.