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A vibrant health tech startup scene has emerged in Brazil to tackle the country’s ballooning healthcare costs, according to TechCrunch.
With more than 250 health-focused startups, Brazil’s emerged as the epicenter of the Latin American health tech market — healthcare tech was the second-fastest growing sector in Latin America in 2017 with a 250% year-over-year increase in the number of deals.
The rise of Brazilian health startups is fueled partly by inefficiencies in the country’s healthcare system. Brazil’s healthcare costs have doubled in the past five years, and private healthcare spending has spiked to more than $42 billion annually. Moreover, over $18 billion is wasted each year due to healthcare inefficiencies. Brazil ranks 51 out of 56 in Bloomberg’s health-efficiency index, which tracks medical costs and value for economies meeting a minimum lifespan and GDP requirement.
Healthcare companies are expanding their digital footprints to address industry shortcomings in the region:
Telemedicine companies are filling the gaps in care created by an overburdened public health system. About 75% of Brazilians only have access to the public healthcare system, and patients are often left waiting weeks — or even months — to see a provider, TechCrunch notes. Telemedicine companies like Brazil Telemedicine aim to expand access to care and reduce wait times by offering on-demand video consultations.
And companies are digitizing prescriptions in order to improve access and mitigate costly medication errors. Close to 70% of medical prescriptions in Brazil have the potential for errors, and medication errors cause thousands of deaths each year in the region. Memed is an e-prescription solution used by 55,000 doctors aimed at reducing medical errors by checking for dangerous drug-to-drug interactions and allergies. Moreover, more than 80% of Brazilian pharmacies are concentrated in just 20% of the country’s municipalities, creating an accessibility gap for the remaining 80% of municipalities, per Forbes. Pharmacy chain Onofre is investing heavily in the e-commerce side of its prescription business as part of a digital transformation plan, which would enable Brazilians in more remote regions to receive their medication at home.
Brazil’s healthcare scene is primed to replicate the country’s fintech boom. Brazil’s fintech industry has emerged as the largest in Latin America due to its ample addressable market — Brazil is the fifth-most populous country in the world — numerous tech hubs, and lax regulation. Globally, digital health funding broke records in Q3 2018 — and with ample capital and high demand for new healthcare technology, Brazil’s digital health industry is on a trajectory to replicate its fintech industry’s success.
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Source:: Businessinsider – Tech