Reaching 650 Million: How Digital Technology is Key to Achieving Universal Health Coverage in ASEAN

This report, produced in partnership with Cisco Systems, focuses on the use of digital technology to improve access to care, focusing specifically on the Southeast Asian region.

The ASEAN region is one of the most dynamic and fast-growing economic regions worldwide, bringing to its citizens new levels of wealth, opportunity, and quality of life. Rapid economic growth in the ten ASEAN countries has also brought challenges to the region. Among them, a rising demand for healthcare and increasing healthcare costs have led to significant concern and an urgent need for action across ASEAN. In response to growing healthcare needs, all ten countries in ASEAN have committed to the achievement of universal health coverage. The challenge facing these countries now is how they deliver an increasing amount of care with a limited pool of resources.

In this paper, we offer countries a potential solution to the policy conundrum – enabling the digitization of health
systems to aid in achieving universal health coverage. Effectively harnessed, digital technology can overcome many of
the trade-offs that come from using traditional health solutions. While digital technology encompasses thousands of
initiatives, we will focus on three main technologies with high potential and demonstrated impact – telemedicine, health
information systems, and tracking and notifications – and show how they bring high quality and affordable access to
health for all people. This paper recommends a 10 point action plan to achieve universal health
coverage through the implementation of digital technologies.