The Next Asian Frontier in Healthcare

GE Healthcare has been present in Indonesia since 1940 and today, the organisation continues to help increase public access to quality healthcare and improving the ways to reduce associated costs across the country.

Through the provision of transformational medical technologies and services, GE Healthcare strives to maintain its supply of machinery, equipment, IT solutions and so on, to meet the demand for increased access to affordable, quality healthcare even in challenging times. Indonesia remains one of the most demanding in terms of public access to healthcare, given that just over a third of people have private insurance.

Asia Outlook spoke to David Utama, President and CEO of GE Healthcare in the ASEAN region to better understand the healthcare system in Indonesia, and why the country has been identified as the next Asian frontier in healthcare.

Asia Outlook (AO): Tell me more about the state of healthcare in Indonesia. Why do you see the country as the next Asian frontier in healthcare?

David Utama (DU): Approximately 100 million people in Indonesia are covered by some form of health insurance. By 2019, the government aims to have 100 percent of Indonesia’s 250 million population covered by health insurance; an increase of 150 million patients into the healthcare system. As a result, there are few elements that become important to make this programme successful namely funding, medical professionals and infrastructure.

Furthermore, this expansion in access to healthcare will translate into increased demand for clinics, hospitals and clinicians, in addition to a higher demand in healthcare technology that enables those clinicians to better diagnose and treat patients. 

Today, Indonesia only spends a mere three percent of its GDP on the healthcare sector, an amount which is lower than Brazil and Vietnam. With the rise of the middle class, increase in chronic disease and the introduction of BPJS, the need for a more robust healthcare system that provides for, and meets the demands of, Indonesians across the country is clear.

GE Healthcare sees huge potential for the Indonesia side of the business and we are committed to substantial growth in Indonesia. In the next five years, we will grow the business five times over. Currently, Indonesia accounts for 30 percent of GE Healthcare’s business in Southeast Asia. It’s become the largest business for us in Southeast Asia, with the greatest opportunities for innovative healthcare solutions to meet the increased demands of the growing healthcare system. We have three key initiatives to help grow our local presence: Firstly, to double the size of our local Indonesia team by the end of the year; secondly, we will look to open an office outside Jakarta in Surabaya this year to improve access to healthcare outside the country’s capital; and finally, in order to champion the best leadership development possible within GE Healthcare, I relocated to Jakarta in March, 2015 to help shepherd the growth and develop the capabilities and talent of our local team.