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Singapore boasts one of the world’s most advanced and efficient healthcare systems. But public and private sector providers alike, are fully aware of the urgent need to keep pace with the country’s fast-growing and fast-aging population.
Singapore needs a more innovative, technology—driven healthcare model—a decentralised, self—directed system, orchestrated by new participants, facilitated by technology, and optimised through advances in behavioural science and service design.
While Japan often hits the headlines for having the world’s oldest population, it is Singapore’s that will age more rapidly in the decades ahead. This challenge is compounded by skills shortages, rising costs, overstretched infrastructure and budgetary pressures.
But Singapore is well placed to overcome these challenges, with low healthcare spending per capita, reflecting its world-leading level of healthcare efficiency. Our research also finds Singapore’s citizens open to change, technology, self-service and innovation in healthcare.
The 2016 Accenture Asia-Pacific Healthcare Innovation and Transformation Survey investigated patient readiness for decentralised, digital and patient-directed healthcare services. A central finding of the survey is that Singapore’s patients are ready to shift to technology-driven, consumer-directed healthcare. For example:
Over three-quarters (78 percent) of Singapore respondents trust themselves to take charge of their own health.
A similar proportion (74 percent) want more self-service options - far more than in Japan (60 percent) and Australia (51 percent).
The vast majority (77 percent) are prepared to complete procedures using devices at home to monitor their health.
The key question for Singapore is how to make the most of the country’s willingness to embrace consumer-directed healthcare innovations.
Singapore’s consumers want changes that can address their top two concerns: time spent in waiting rooms, and the time it takes to get an appointment.
Self-service options would be a step in the right direction. Our research found a high proportion of patients in Singapore (74 percent) want more self-directed services - much higher than either Japan (60 percent) or Australia (51 percent).
This could come in the form of a virtual assistant. In Singapore, as many as four out of five (80 percent) would use a virtual assistant, compared with 65 percent in Australia and 59 percent in Japan.
Singapore has already begun the transition to the healthcare model of the future. However, there is much to be done to engineer greater transformation—dozens of questions need to be answered in detail.
For example: where should transformation start and how should implementation unfold? How should primary care change to facilitate more technological interaction? How should various types of consumer-directed care be funded? How can disruption be minimised as the system transforms? What specific skills are needed to drive, implement and operate new models?
These and other questions are driving further research. But this survey indicates that Singapore—more than most countries—is ready for the healthcare model of the future and this offers strong impetus to tackle these questions and drive ever—greater transformation.
Accenture commissioned a three-country survey of 2,250 consumers (aged 18+) to understand their attitudes toward their health system and healthcare technologies. The survey was completed online and included respondents from Australia (750), Japan (750) and Singapore (750). It was conducted by Longitude Research, on behalf of Accenture, between January and February 2016, with the sample evenly distributed across age groups, gender and income brackets. Each respondent self-reported having been treated by a health provider at least once per year over the past three years.