Telum Talks To... Jonathan Chan, Programme Host, Asia Healthcare Podcast

Telum Talks To... Jonathan Chan, Programme Host, Asia Healthcare Podcast

You hold a Human Biology Degree and Master of Medical Sciences. Interestingly, you started your career as a Writer. Could you tell us a little bit about your journey?
I’ve always been interested in drug development and how scientists are continually finding better ways to treat the myriad of diseases we face. I first started my career as a medical writer, developing marketing collateral and patient education materials for various drug companies. From there, I moved on to researching and writing for a data analytics and consulting company, developing reports about healthcare systems in Asia and the competitive landscape in local drug markets.

After that, I transitioned into journalism, where I adapted my writing for a general audience. The challenge of breaking down complex healthcare topics or scientific ideas into simpler English made me enjoy writing even more.

What made you decide to set up the Asia Healthcare Podcast in 2019? The podcast focuses on healthcare in Asia and talks to healthcare and biotech experts on the latest trends and developments in the sector. Can you tell us more about it?
I’ve been an avid listener of podcasts for as long as I can remember, but over the years, I’ve never been able to find a show that focused on the healthcare sector in Asia. Someone needed to fill this void, so finally, in 2019, I decided to launch a podcast myself.

The Asia Healthcare Podcast is my passion project. I wanted to create a public platform where anyone can listen to healthcare innovators and experts share about the work they’re doing and how they are improving healthcare for all. When I was a Journalist, I had free access to all the healthcare conferences, summits and webinars I wanted. But what if I can bring some of these conversations to the public? That is the heart of the Asia Healthcare Podcast.

What story ideas / press materials / themes are you looking for currently?
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve been working with clients to develop online content to highlight the services and expertise they can provide to put an end to this global outbreak. I’m interested in understanding the global health inequity that persists, with unequal access to vaccines across nations being the most obvious example right now. I’m also interested in the role of telehealth and remote consultations in the post-pandemic world.

The healthcare sector is booming in many parts of the world. How is Hong Kong faring?
Despite Hong Kong’s strong healthcare system (it has one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world), the city’s healthcare sector is still small in comparison to traditional industries like banking/finance and real estate. However, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange’s launch of Chapter 18A listing regime in 2018 has been pivotal in encouraging more innovative biotech and healthcare companies to come to the city.

In terms of the media landscape here, I only know of a few Healthcare Journalists. It’s a difficult market to report on for several reasons. First, unlike the U.S. healthcare sector, Hong Kong’s healthcare sector is quite young, and the local investor base remains unfamiliar with the industry. That makes it difficult for investment banks and brokerages to put more resources into covering the sector. For similar reasons, there are also not enough analysts and journalists writing about healthcare to educate local investors. This is quite a ‘chicken and egg’ situation!

Finally, Hong Kong- and China-based healthcare companies need to be more open to international media when it comes to providing insights about their business, so that everyone can gain a better understanding of the industry here.

Healthcare is a broad topic to write about. At times, it also gets very technical and niche. So what makes a good healthcare story?
Much like beauty, perfection is in the eye of the beholder (or, in this case, the reader). But I would say that a good healthcare story is no different from any other story. It should be informative, factually accurate, and engaging. When it comes to stories about clinical trials, though, the writer needs to be extra careful because the language used in academic journals and company press releases can be pretty tricky.

Any suggestions to PRs who would like to work with you?
I’m happy to work with PRs. I mainly focus on healthcare topics, biotech, and drug development. I don’t write about healthy living, fitness or nutrition. Also, please support the Asia Healthcare Podcast!

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  • Jonathan Chan
  • Asia Healthcare Podcast - CEASED SEPTEMBER 2021

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