Digital transformation of healthcare services in developing countries : An exploratory research of healthtech opportunities in Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP) markets

University essay from KTH/Skolan för industriell teknik och management (ITM); KTH/Skolan för industriell teknik och management (ITM)

Author: Amanda Rundqvist; Amanda Von Schinkel; [2020]

Keywords: ;

Abstract: The development of new technologies within healthcare open up for important and valuable opportunities for businesses as well as for individuals. Mobile health is one of the most important digital innovation, since patients get the opportunities to self-manage diseases and to receive healthcare services from specialists wherever and whenever. It has already been established in some developed countries, where the technology has, for instance, improved health research among populations and reduced healthcare costs. Currently, it is under investigation if there are also implementation possibilities in developing countries. They are defined as countries with poor infrastructure and decent economic activity, meaning a high number of people live with low income and they tend to have less access to health services than the ones in developed countries. The Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP) refers to the poorest of the economic human pyramid, where almost all of them live in developing countries. In order to enter a BOP market, it is beneficial for businesses to use the 4A:s (awareness, access, affordability, and availability) as a framework. The report aims to investigate if MedTech companies from developed countries can improve access, awareness, availability, and affordability to reliable healthcare in developing countries. It is referring to the BOP due to the focus on an innovation’s (i.e., MedTech app) growth opportunities in developing countries. The report is considered as an exploratory research, undertaking an inductive approach, since it exists limited written resources about the subject. The information has been gathered through primaryand secondary sources. The report’s findings raise the low digital awareness as a threat that could harm the development of new digital innovations in developing countries. By taking use of local collaborations and partnerships, it will develop understandings of the populations’ needs and behaviors, which is a benefit to be able to reach the users’ attention. The telecommunication industries’ growth and the increase of mobile users proves the populations are eager to embrace new digital innovations, meaning the initiative might be right in time. Additionally, the findings concern the limited access to healthcare and currently, the local care is of low quality. The doctors and nurses have limited knowledge and the hospitals are not keeping up with technology, which leads to that the citizens are seeking healthcare outside their own country. However, it could be perceived as a benefit when implementing a new MedTech service, since it does not exist any advanced systems that have to be changed or shut down. Moreover, to ensure the populations will be able to use digital healthcare services, it is important to keep the service affordable. By being supported with correct treatments, and recommendations, it would not be necessary to visit a doctor several times and, therefore, it could also decrease the patient's’ healthcare costs. Finally, digital healthcare services enable for patients to interact with foreign doctors wherever and whenever, which would increase the availability of healthcare services in developing countries.

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