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Digital health technologies can improve wellbeing – Pulse of Asia survey

Leveraging digital health technologies to improve the wellbeing and access to healthcare is gaining support across Asia, claims a report released by Prudential Corporation Asia (Prudential).

Leveraging digital health technologies to improve the wellbeing and access to healthcare is gaining support across Asia, claims a report released by Prudential Corporation Asia (Prudential).

According to the Pulse of Asia – The Health of Asia Barometer survey which was prepared and conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) on 5,000 people across 13 countries and territories in Asia, over 81% or four out of five respondents say technology has already improved their access to health services and nearly two-thirds or 60% believe it has improved the affordability.   

Seventy one percent of those surveyed claimed they will rely on technology even more heavily to improve their personal health and wellbeing three years from now, showing that the digitization of health is a significant concern that needs to be intensified. 

Digital health technology is now becoming an important tool to improve healthcare as shown by the penetration of wearable health devices in Asia-Pacific, which is higher than any other region of the world. Currently, 79% of Filipinos are using personal health technologies like smart watches, fitness trackers, and digital health platforms.

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However, despite having four out of five respondents already using some form of personal health technology, it is still far from realizing the full potential of these technologies. Their value could be amplified if they were connected to centralized data banks such as patient health records.

The uptake of digital health offers the opportunity to close the gap between developed and less developed markets by helping to combat the pressing challenges of unaffordable and inaccessible healthcare.

The report indicates the importance of technology in addressing the challenges encountered by the people in the region in improving their health and wellbeing. The study found out that only around half of respondents, or 54%, believe that medical care is accessible and affordable. Another item that needs attention is the claim of 22% that they can easily access exercise and fitness facilities that would help improve their personal health and wellness in the coming year. Apart from these, nearly three in 10 respondents (or 29%) find digital health technologies too expensive. 

The study also recommends the opportunity for government to collaborate with the private sector to deliver digitally innovative ways to promote and manage health and wellness among citizens. It should also take the opportunity to become the reliable source of quality health information for citizens, promote connected health devices, and design better policies and build more targeted healthcare infrastructure.

For its part, Pru Life UK has made digital healthcare a reality through its Pulse app, a first-of-its-kind free-to-download mobile app which provides health information so users can play an active role in managing their personal wellbeing. It is Filipinos’ new partner in preventing, postponing, and protecting themselves against the onset of diseases.

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Andrew Wong, Asia chief health officer at Prudential Corp., relayed that for Filipinos to help achieve their health and wellness goals, “we are leveraging digital technologies, primarily our Pulse app, to provide them with accessible and affordable health services and information.”

The Pulse of Asia – The Health of Asia Barometer is a report that outlines the current state of healthcare in the region, its challenges and the role digital health technologies can play to improve the wellness landscape.    

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