MedTech Forum 2016: Bridging the Talent Gap in the Healthcare Sector in Asia

December 22, 20161:32 pm549 views

Partnerships can help address the workforce shortages and talent gaps that persist in healthcare systems across Asia. Many speakers talked about the dearth of skilled health workers across the region and the challenges of keeping them up-to-date with the latest advances in medical technology at the recently held MedTech Forum 2016 in Singapore on November 8-10.

The mood of the Forum was upbeat. Experts from many backgrounds predicted that Asia will provide a growing share of global medical technology spending, innovation, and leadership in the coming years. Asia will be the world’s second-largest medical technology market by 2020. A growing share of global R&D, talent, and innovation will come from the region. Partnerships are essential for capturing these opportunities.

“New technologies can help drive improved standards of care, but local partnerships are the cornerstone of successful implementation of these solutions, to ensure they have long-lasting impact,” says Bruno Occhipinti, Director of Strategy and New Business Development, Philips Healthcare Asia Pacific.

Medical technology executives in Asia see big opportunity for regulatory collaborations. “With the pace of techno­logical progress accelerating, regulatory processes will require ever more technical skills in the coming years. More action is needed to attract, retain, and incubate regulatory talent in both industry and government,” says Tran Quan, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, APACMed.

The medical technology industry has long played a vital role in educating healthcare workers. In 2014, for example, 11 major medical technology companies in­vested nearly US $130 million to train healthcare pro­fessionals in Asia.  Medical technology companies must partner to improve the talent base.

To avoid conflicts of interest that could arise when medical technology companies support the educa­tion and training of health workers, legal and ethical guidelines must always be considered. In January 2016, APACMed members partnered to adopt a Code of Ethical Conduct for Interactions with Healthcare Professionals, which helped mobilise leading companies around shared principles.

Another challenge is the quality of training at many medical schools in Asia, but new approaches to learn­ing may help improve the current situation. In a panel on medical education and capacity building in Asia, Prof. Robert Kamei of Duke-NUS talked about his work de­veloping “flipped learning” programmes for medical students.

Contrary to traditional models of education that typically revolve around scheduled lectures, flipped learning allows students to watch on-demand online lectures and use their class time for discussion. This lets students accrue knowledge at a pace and schedule that works best for them, ensuring that class time provides more interactive learning.

As the pace of technolog­ical and organisation disruption accelerates, continuing professional education will be increasingly necessary in all disciplines. By partnering with innovative academic institutions and educational technology companies, the medical technology industry may find new ways to build its talent base.

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