Analysis of the Singapore Clinical Laboratories Market, Forecast to 2021
Healthcare expenditure in Singapore is expected to grow, fueled by factors such as rising incomes and a progressively aging population. Diagnostics has emerged as a way for earlier and better identification of diseases to control rising healthcare costs in Singapore. Hence, the country has become a natural choice for many global diagnostic companies to establish their regional operations. Singapore also features an established lab industry, high technology, and specialized manufacturing industries, and also serves as a distribution hub for medical products throughout Asia.
Foreign manufacturers dominate the competitive landscape, and there is a lack of domestic market participants. NCD-related deaths, mainly caused by cardiovascular diseases and cancer, have a higher prevalence and account for an estimated 76% of the total deaths in the country. In the current business model, physicians are key decision makers and the concept of preventive medicine is not well known yet, and so diagnostic test are more reactive and not preventive. For example, anatomic pathology laboratories are still hesitant to pursue newer technology such as digital pathology as a result of costs. This approach, however, hinders them from savoring the benefits offered by digital pathology, including improvements in service delivery, patient safety and communications, as well as reduced error rates, lower costs, and better and more efficient use of data.
Genomic testing is evolving rapidly. However, in Singapore, it is still considered a completely separate area in all laboratories because of the nature of its workflow and the sample types involved in the research.
Reducing the burden on tertiary care, increased coverage of the mandatory savings scheme, strong private medical insurance coverage, and high affluence among the population will continue to spur the demand for pathology tests in private clinics, directly propelling the referrals to private independent labs.
More informed patients are opting for preventive healthcare. The Singapore market is currently witnessing a surge in molecular diagnostic testing services. This will create a huge opportunity for investment in clinical laboratories.
With rapid improvement in next-generation tools such as fast scanners, digital pathology will help achieve a high level of diagnostic precision and accuracy in image decoding, enabling a widespread adoption of this technology.
A key trend is private independent labs collaborating with large companies for health screening or medical check-ups for both domestic and international patients, thereby capturing new sources of testing outside of the traditional referrals from hospitals and clinics.
For international collaboration, routine tests are performed at local associated labs and specialized tests are referred to labs in Singapore. It is expected that molecular microbiology, other non-infectious disease-related molecular assays, and blood glucose self-testing will represent the fastest growing IVD segments in Singapore. Molecular microbiology will see rising use in the country as public health officials and care providers adopt rapid testing to combat significant infectious disease burdens and risks. Other molecular assays related to non-communicable disease management and diagnosis will see increased demand as Singapore represents a leading destination for advanced care for medical tourists.
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