Roundup: Singapore & China


Fraser Clarke

Health IT Growth in Singapore

Singapore looks set to have the most advanced healthcare IT system in the world, with the island city state’s head of health information technology telling a crowd of over 600 industry professionals to ‘get on, or get ran over’.

Scheduled to be completed in 2021, Singapore’s ‘IT Masterplan’ will connect doctors, patients and healthcare companies in a secure electronic database.

This will allow patients dealing with chronic diseases to manage them from their own home, whilst having them remotely monitored - allowing a quick medical response to any issues that may arise. It is hoped that this will loosen the demand on hospitals in the island, by focusing on prevention at an early stage.

The new system will be fully integrated for mobile use, allowing patients to access their health records from anywhere - whilst medical care, for example the changing of a wound dressing, can be ordered directly from the application.

As Singapore’s population begins to age, the range of health challenges in a country where the majority of people live in high rise apartment blocks require solving. It is hoped therefore that the growth in mobile health - where frail and elderly people can receive medical help in their own home, and even request it via the app - will play a major role in the country’s future.

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Smoking Rates in China Remain High

Most smokers in China are unaware of the health issues the habit can lead to, and, as a result, many have no intention of quitting.

It is estimated that more than 316 million people in China are smokers, with the majority being male. According to a recent study 59% of these individuals have no plans to end the habit any time soon either, despite new legislation to ban public smoking in Shanghai and Beijing.

A small tax increase was also implemented last year, however it appears to have done little to deter the Chinese from their tobacco habit.

Co-author of the study, Geoffrey Fong, blames the pricing structure for the high rates. Speaking to the AP news agency he said: "Every third man that you pass on the street in China will die as a result of cigarettes, when you have cheap cigarettes, people will smoke them."

Cigarette prices in China are some of the lowest in the world, with packs often costing as little as £1 due to low taxes. When combined with the rapidly increasing wages, and the fact 60% of those surveyed were unaware that smoking could lead to strokes, it is somewhat unsurprising to see rates sitting at such high levels.

China has a massive future as a healthcare destination, with plenty of investments being made in order to enhance the standard of private healthcare as the country develops. As a result job opportunities are starting to open up in the major cities, with Western trained medics being highly sought after.

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