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Expanding healthcare focus to boost ASEAN ultrasound market

Posted: 18 Oct 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:ultrasound? healthcare? medical imaging?

The ultrasound imaging equipment market here in Southeast Asia will be grow by nearly 45 per cent over the next four years as governments continue to increase investments in improving healthcare infrastructures. IHS predicts a spike in ultrasound revenue in the ASEAN bloc, from approximately 160 million in 2012 to about $230 million in 2017, in its latest report.

Growth of the ultrasound market in Southeast Asia is due in part to government efforts in many countries, putting greater emphasis on expanding healthcare insurance coverage for its citizens. Indonesia, for example, aims to provide universal healthcare by 2019, while Vietnam seeks to broaden health insurance coverage to 70 per cent of its population by 2015.

"As the governments in ASEAN extend national healthcare insurance in their jurisdictions, a country's current healthcare system may struggle to cope with the increased demand coming from the large number of new patients," said Carly Reed, senior analyst for medical imaging research at IHS. "Therefore, it will be essential for the ASEAN governments to invest in new and upgraded medical imaging systems, including ultrasound, to better equip public-sector hospitals."

Healthcare investment here is traditionally focused on large cities. However, recent government initiatives will raise demand for improved healthcare services and medical equipment from those living in rural areas. Cost-effective ultrasound systems will be essential in extending diagnostic imaging services to smaller hospitals and clinics where budgets are limited. Portable equipment will also be vital in the countryside, where doctors may have to travel long distances between communities and households to provide care, Reed noted.

Because of increased government investment and the growing number of patients entering the public healthcare system, the private sector in ASEAN is also projected to experience greater demand. For those able to afford the expense, shifting to the private sector could prove an attractive option given the decrease in waiting times and access to higher-quality services typical of benefits in the private market. Such a development, in turn, will boost growth for higher-specification ultrasound equipment as competition intensifies among private providers to attract new patients and increase medical tourism opportunities.

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