Sumitomo partners with Roland Berger for new healthcare offering

09 May 2023 2 min. read

Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo Corporation is launching a new service that will help businesses in Southeast Asia slash their costs for healthcare. The new service is being launched in collaboration with Roland Berger.

According to the plan by Sumitomo Corporation, there is a large potential for employers in Southeast Asian countries to reduce the healthcare bill of their staff.

This is mainly driven by the large variety in pricing between healthcare providers, a common feat in countries with relatively undeveloped public healthcare systems. Hospitals and medical providers have the liberty to set their medical fees, which then are reimbursed by employers and private insurance companies.

Sumitomo partners with Roland Berger for new healthcare offering

A lack of price transparency in the market means that many patients end up with treatments that could have been delivered for less elsewhere.

Aimed at bridging this gap, Sumitomo’s technology platform enables workers to search hospitals and clinics for their symptoms, and then create the most efficient match, with cost one of the key matching factors.

The matching process is underpinned by an extensive data model Sumitomo Corporation has built over the years, amassed by the company’s private sector insurance business in Southeast Asia.

“By analyzing medical data obtained through our healthcare business, we will provide ways of guiding people to fair-priced hospitals and clinics, keeping medical costs down while ensuring appropriateness,” said Sumitomo Corporation in a statement.

“As a service facilitator between companies/private medical insurance companies and medical institutions, we are committed to providing high-quality and efficient healthcare services.”

Providing some context to the cost efficiency that can be gained through increased price transparency and better matching, Sumitomo Corporation aims to lower Malaysian medical bills by the equivalent of 30 billion yen ($220 million) a year by 2030.

The technology platform also offers preventive support to workers, such as advice about healthy eating and exercise, and administrative support during the engagement process with healthcare providers.

Roll-out across Southeast Asia
Following roll-out in Malaysia (planned this quarter), Sumitomo Corporation intends to offer similar cost-controlling services in Vietnam, Singapore and the Philippines, as well as other Southeast Asian countries.

Providing guidance during the market entry of the new offering are consultants from Roland Berger, a German-origin strategic consulting firm. Led from the firm’s Singapore and Tokyo offices, the consultants will advise on market entry strategies, and support the setup and initial roll-out in new markets.

The launch demonstrates the growing role technology and digital platforms can have on ramping up efficiency in the healthcare sector.

Founded over 100 years ago in Osaka, Japan, Sumitomo Corporation operates a range of business in sectors such as healthcare, transport, financial services, natural resources, and utilities. The new healthcare offering is led by its Managed Care division.