Updated on 5 November 2012
Dr Kaveh Safavi, MD, North America health, Accenture
Integration of information and technology (IT) in healthcare services and translating the potential into better delivery is a trend being witnessed across the world. Implementation of IT enhances clinical decision support, enables effective utilization of information and drives efficiency across healthcare delivery.
According to analysts at Accenture, two imperative developments occurring in Singapore are significant to the growth of this market. These developments include, the use of mobile phones and a more hands-on approach to supervision by patients of their own health. Also, taking a serious approach towards smart healthcare, is Singapore's 10-year master plan, called the Intelligent Nation 2015 (iN2015), which was started in 2006 by the government to help the country realize its growth potential through infocom technologies.
However, the rest of the Asian countries are yet to implement such proactive IT programs in their healthcare delivery systems and the challenge is not only for the government and health institutions, but also for the technology companies to integrate their solutions. Asian countries have their own challenges in delivering basic healthcare services to people, and hence IT implementation becomes a second priority. Accenture has been providing IT solutions to the healthcare system in Singapore, Australia, the US and many European countries, but when it comes to Asia, the company is yet to break the ice.
Dr Kaveh Safavi, MD, Accenture's health industry, in conversation with BioSpectrum, talks about the exposure of information technology in Asia's healthcare industry and what it would cost to have a smarter healthcare delivery system.
What is the trend in Asia for implementing IT in the healthcare delivery system?
The expenditure on information technology in healthcare sector tends to be strongly correlated with the percentage of GDP spent on health. If Asian countries spend more money on health of their population and take care of basic needs such as doctors and nurses, hospitals and the diagnostic industry, then only they can think of strengthening the infrastructure by spending on IT. Only when a country is highly evolved can they spend more on IT implementation in healthcare management.