Indonesia's healthcare industry holds sizable opportunities for digitalization. Even though the healthcare market is already crowded with mature players, the archipelago's sector is still relatively traditional, with few notable investments for growth.
Only after the COVID-19 pandemic does Indonesia face the urgency of changing the way they interact and consume. As a result, the demand for technology to assist daily activities has been breaking records to facilitate physical distancing to contain the spread of the virus. Specifically, in healthcare, Consumers are shifting to telemedicine services to cater to their needs without visiting hospitals or the nearest pharmacies in the healthcare industry.
Aside from the digitalization perspective, the COVID-19 pandemic also emphasized the importance of vitamins and other health supplements to strengthen the immune and better quality of life. The surge in interest toward vitamins and health supplements consumption has positioned telemedicine services companies' growth forefront.
Answering the trend, Indonesian hospitals are establishing their own teleconsultation services to facilitate outpatients' demand to consult with doctors during the outbreak alongside the government's measures to deploy programs with leading telemedicine platforms in the country, such as:
The platforms would provide necessary medicines and vitamins to combat the COVID-19 infections to prevent hospital overcapacities.
Consumers can now use telemedicine apps to finish administrative tasks, register for health tests, and access health identification data to ease doctors' consultation, aside from buying medicines.
In total, Indonesia has registered 472 labs to integrate their queueing and registration services into government-approved platforms. Additionally, COVID-19 patients will receive subsidized medication and vitamins to cushion the damages during the quarantine phase.
The advancement in Indonesia's telemedicine sector is a part of the government's national target to distribute equal healthcare services to its citizens. The programs aim to increase maternal and children's health that the WHO currently emphasizes due to the country's high number of stunting cases.
Moreover, the government also plan to improve disease control effort and increase the quality of referral system in the healthcare industry. Previously, the Indonesian government has given measures to thoroughly identify its citizen and their health records through national insurance coverage. Telemedicine would help the government spread the sector's range and ensure accessible services for Indonesian people.
The telemedicine services would also help cater to hospital beds' needs. Indonesia now stands at a comparatively low number of beds compared to neighboring members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), with some healthcare facilities not meeting the WHO standards. As of 2021, the country only possesses 0.2 hospital beds per 1.000 population.
The effort to better healthcare services quality is a token of Indonesia's commitment to the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services to provide appropriate knowledge transfers from professionals to patients, further allowing them to implement house care as hospitals focus on urgent cases in times of the pandemic.
However, the Indonesian regulatory framework had only briefly discussed how telemedicine should protect its consumers—pushing the government to prioritize securing data protections, putting accountability on the vendors, and mitigating other health services risks.