Singapore Biodesign Releases White Paper on Ophthalmology in Asia

Singapore Biodesign, a national healthtech innovation and talent development programme under the Agency for Science, Technology and Research in Singapore, is pleased to announce the release of a new white paper on ophthalmology in Asia. The paper is available for download here.

The paper is based on insights assembled during the 2019 Singapore Biodesign Fellowship Programme, which sponsored four aspiring innovators—David Chen, Jia Yun Hee, Bryan Ho and Preeti Mohan—to understand unmet needs in ophthalmology through on-the-ground research in China, Indonesia and Singapore. Co-authored by the Fellows and Will Greene, Singapore Biodesign’s resident guest writer, the paper explores key challenges and opportunities in ophthalmology care from the perspective of three key stakeholders: patients, providers and payers.

The paper highlights the growing importance of ophthalmology in a region where large segments of the population suffer from eye diseases like myopia, primary angle closure glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. It also draws attention to the region’s burgeoning innovation ecosystem, where new technologies and business models are being developed and deployed to address the region’s many care gaps.

While much of the research was conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the world in early 2020, many of the paper’s findings have even greater relevance today. As many patients and providers seek to avoid physical interactions and delay non-urgent consultations and procedures, for example, many will turn to medical technologies and digital health applications that enable remote ophthalmological care or prevent eye disease from happening in the first place. Several such innovations were profiled in the report.

This paper builds upon the insights that were showcased in October 2019 at the Singapore Biodesign Thought Leaders Series, an annual event hosted by Singapore Biodesign (for more details, see Reimagining Eye Care in Asia, a recap of the event in MedTech Intelligence by Will Greene and Mary Kan, deputy director at Singapore Biodesign). It also builds on the groundwork laid by the 2018 Singapore-Stanford Biodesign Fellows, whose study on diabetes in Asia was the first instalment in this series (the full report is available at this link).

Singapore Biodesign owes a debt of gratitude to the many organisations that allowed the 2019 Fellows to observe ophthalmology care in a real-life clinical settings across the region. This includes the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) in Singapore; RSCM Kirana Jakarta, RS Lira Medika, and the Indonesia International Institute for Life Sciences (i3L) in Indonesia; and Zhongshan Ophthalmic Centre, Guangzhou and Zhongshan Hospital Fudan University, Shanghai in China.

Singapore Biodesign would also like to acknowledge J&J Vision for supporting the 2019 Fellows with visits to JLABS in Shanghai, China and the J&J Innovation Center in California, US; as well as jointly advocating the needs-centric approach at our Thought Leaders Series 2019.

Finally, we are grateful to the National Research Foundation Singapore and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, who fund and host the Singapore Biodesign Programme respectively, as well as the Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign, our joint programme partner and the original visionaries behind the Biodesign innovation process.

About Singapore Biodesign

Modelled after the established Biodesign Programme at Stanford University, Singapore Biodesign is a capability development initiative that aims to train and nurture the next generation of healthtech innovators for Asia. We are a dedicated talent development and knowledge resource for health technology innovation, riding on the robust biodesign methodology and our wide-ranging international network to provide an appreciation of healthcare needs through observations from stakeholder perspectives.

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