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Singapore likely to become a world leader in healthcare innovation

ALI ÜNAL @ali_unal
SINGAPORE
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While Singapore's aging population increases demand for healthcare services, the country aims to mitigate the shortage of healthcare professionals by using innovative solutions. The previous track record on government policies indicate that Singapore is likely to become a world leader in healthcare innovation.

Singapore has been ranked in sixth place in the world for innovation and is top in the Asia Pacific region. The city is already one of the most dynamic healthcare innovation hubs in the world and the World Competitiveness Yearbook indicates that the country has established one of the world's best healthcare infrastructures. Thanks to Singapore's business-friendly environment and reliable legal framework, they already attract investors and digital health start-ups from all over the world. Moreover Singapore's government agencies work closely with the private sector to promote health tech innovation. Its Economic Development Board (EBDI), for instance, actively works to strengthen the local health tech ecosystem. It has a dedicated investment arm called EDBI with several promising health tech companies in its portfolio. The National Health Innovation Centre (NHIC) is also another government agency that aims to improve healthcare delivery and patient care by accelerating the development of innovative technologies and services. Since their establishment in 2014, the NHIC funds the projects that address unmet healthcare needs. According to EBDI figures, the country provided $11.2 billion to support research, innovation and enterprise projects between 2011 and 2015. And as a result of this support, Singaporean medical and healthcare innovators have started to become export innovative solutions that address health care problems across the world.

For instance, in recent years researchers in Singapore have built a video game headset to help children who have hyperactivity disorder. The company called Atentiv, measures brain activity through a headband and sends that information back to a computer via Bluetooth. By doing so, Atentiv hopes to strengthen focus in adolescents. As another example Singaporean start-up Healint has built a platform and an app called Migraine Buddy, to give patients one easy-to-use interface to monitor all of their symptoms and related information such as intensity, triggers, medications and other lifestyle factors.

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