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Some of the greatest opportunities in Latin American Healthcare

Latin America is composed of many countries that each have their unique health care system. The region is home to more than 18,000 hospitals, and Brazil with 6,451 hospitals home to more hospitals than the US alone, while 42.6% of the hospitals in Latin America are located in Colombia. The healthcare landscape is changing rapidly, and demand is growing with aging populations, obesity (Latin America is leading the global obesity epidemic) and chronic diseases have become more common. Governments are increasing spending, and local and multinational players are investing heavily to expand their hold on the region. 

Generally speaking, healthcare spending tends to be lower in Latin America than in many other parts of the world.

Countries such as Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, and Chile offer universal public healthcare, and the heavy investment of governments is paying off. In Brazil, infant and maternal mortality has dropped more than 50 % over the last 20 years, AIDS no longer poses a great threat to society and access to healthcare has improved – even for the poorest and most remote areas. 

Meanwhile, despite universal healthcare access and improving conditions, Latin American households pay one-third of healthcare costs out-of-pocket – a heavy burden in a region with high levels of poverty. The pandemic brought these and other deficiencies into sharp relief, as overwhelmed health systems fell short on supplies and personnel during the pandemic. Though the pandemic battered the Latin American economies, the effects on the healthcare systems were worrying.

An important target for development in Latin America’s healthcare industry is the digital healthcare market, which at the moment is driven primarily by the growing elder population, rising obesity rate, and increasing use of health apps for online consultation. Brazil plays a dominant role within the digitization of the healthcare market in Latin America, and according to WHO 68% of the population has access to the digital health system. However, the level of quality in digital healthcare across Latin America varies greatly. AI and automation are predicted to make the biggest impact on the patient experience on the non-clinical side.

Healthcare expenditure in Latin America is on the rise to meet the increasing elder population, obesity and chronic diseases; and with it a set of opportunities arises. We will especially keep an eye on the opportunities within logistics (such as automation, hospital inventory management, and end-to-end cold chain logistics), digitization and AI.

The largest healthcare fair in Latin America, will take place next week in São Paulo, where more than 90.000 visitors are expected. Take a closer look here: https://www.hospitalar.com/en/home.html

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