In KResearch's view, spending on health tech in Thailand remains modest, at around THB 300-400 million in 2021. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has quickly elevated the role of technology in health services as it helps to reduce risk and provides greater convenience to patients. Moreover, Thailand's shift to an aged society and consumers trend that favors preventive health behaviors will likely allow the health tech market to perform relatively well in the forthcoming period.
KResearch perceives that the value of the health tech market in Thailand is predominantly in the form of business-to-business (B2B) services, which are largely available through major hospitals and feature technologies such as an appointment system via mobile application, telemedicine system and medical robots. The majority of private investment in health tech comes from large companies since these operators have the potential and preparedness to make such investments, as well as to scale technology utilization over the long term compared to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). While SMEs in the health sector has by far rarely invested in their own health tech systems, they can benefit from open healthcare platforms which give them better access to consumers, for instance, pharmacies can join a platform that links to a network of health food stores, and a telemedicine platform for medical prescriptions.
On the other hand, the business-to-consumer (B2C) model is mainly used by working age people aged 30-39 years through applications on their personal devices like smartphones and smart watches. Examples include exercise and health monitoring applications. Most of these services are still inexpensive or free of charge, depending on the functions selected by users. During the COVID-19 pandemic, health tech has also been utilized to monitor the spread of the virus, assess early symptoms and aid vaccine registration. Through such means, risks are reduced, and the public has become more familiar with the use of health tech.
KResearch is of the opinion that the health tech market will continue to grow over the next 3-5 years, with regard to both B2B operators encompassing non-hospital businesses like nursing homes and retirement communities, and B2C operators catering to senior citizens and working-age adults with significant spending power. That said, the health tech used at present is relatively unsophisticated, whereas complex health tech like artificial intelligence (AI) for disease diagnosis and surgical robots will take time to gain consumer confidence over their safety, and require a considerable investment.