Healthcare outlook for 2022
February 2, 2022 –
The coronavirus pandemic has not only emphasised the global healthcare divide between haves and have nots, it has also pushed healthcare companies around the world to innovate by accelerating drug and vaccine development, reconfiguring supply chains, and shifting a range of services online.
LeapFrog believes this innovation will continue in 2022 and further lower costs to democratise access to healthcare in emerging markets. Our Healthcare Outlook includes five key trends that will shape this wave of change.
1. Surge in chronic disease
One third of all adults suffer from chronic conditions such as diabetes, lung diseases, cancers and heart disease1. These diseases have also contributed substantially to deaths and serious illness from COVID-19.
The World Health Organisation estimates 85% of all premature deaths from noncommunicable diseases now occur in low-and-middle-income countries2, with these diseases likely to cost the global economy USD47 trillion between 2010 and 20303. The global healthcare system is learning to adapt to this surge in noncommunicable diseases in emerging economies, which will shape the industry for years to come.
2. Prevention better than cure
The pandemic has highlighted the vulnerability of those with chronic diseases and accelerated a shift towards preventative medicine. Wearables, digital apps, and telemedicine, are all driving improvements in nutrition and fitness, helping to combat rising rates of lifestyle-related diseases, and reduce costs for chronic care.
Providers such as HealthifyMe, a LeapFrog portfolio company and India’s largest digital wellness app, are enabling this shift away from curative care to early intervention. HealthifyMe reaches over 30 million subscribers with dietary and fitness advice tailored to the Indian market. The app aims to help the ~900 million Indian people who suffer from lifestyle-related disease.
3. Cutting costs and adding convenience
Increasing demand for healthcare amongst low-income consumers is driving competition and making insurance and payment models more and more agile. Health insurers are leveraging technology to reduce administration and medical costs and deliver a broader range of services.
Providers such as LeapFrog backed micro-insurer BIMA now offer bundled insurance and digital health packages to deliver holistic support and convenience for low-income consumers. This model allows access to personalised health records, medication support, hospital insurance, and traditional health insurance benefits through a single portal.
4. One stop shop
We expect the rapid convergence of healthcare to extend beyond insurance to large platforms that efficiently combine technology and infrastructure, including strong growth in “brick and click” models where products and services are offered both online and in physical stores.
Our company Goodlife is one such example. This east African pharmacy chain has established “health hubs” that also provide primary care services including blood pressure monitoring, blood glucose readings, doctor’s consultations, and laboratory services. Goodlife has also established a complementary telehealth offering that has proven popular in the pandemic.
5. Data accelerating pace of disruption
The rapid proliferation of mobile phones through emerging markets presents an opportunity for greater data collection and improved healthcare. According to a recent survey across Asia, nearly 50% of consumers will use telemedicine, self-diagnosis apps, and on-demand digital health services such as e-pharmacies over the next five years4. MedGenome, a South Asian leader in genetic diagnostics and research, is a company we recently invested in because we believe it can grow rapidly on the back of this trend. It utilises troves of patient data to deliver new products that improve the targeting of drugs, and screen for a range of diseases. Importantly, MedGenome has developed the largest databank of genomic information on South Asian populations, accelerating breakthroughs for a patient cohort often ignored by Western genetic research companies
Together, these trends are creating a once in a lifetime opportunity for healthcare investment and a chance to bridge the inequity gap.