Updated on 5 November 2012
Which Asian countries are aggressive in implementing smart healthcare in their system?
Singapore is an exception where there is strong public sector orientation and has made some fairly aggressive investment on healthcare IT that typically can't be seen in other countries. Australia, New Zealand and Singapore are probably the largest Asian markets where IT implementation in healthcare sector is on. We are working closely with the Ministry of Health in Singapore to build electronic health record (EHR). We are using technology to connect public health in Singapore.
The vision of Singapore is one-Singaporean one-health record, and there will be electronic representation of each citizen in the EHR. We started to work on it in 2010 and the first phase of the program was in place in 2011. We have done a similar program in Australia, called Personally Controlled Electronic health records, which is a national healthcare record that connects across Australia. In these locations, we are working with hospitals for different kinds of clinical optimizations, automation and clinical processes.
What is the exposure of developing countries to IT infrastructure for healthcare delivery?
Information technology tends to be a lesser investment for developing countries as their first investment is on enabling efficient healthcare, diagnostics, medical imaging and building ability. However, developing countries that lack qualified clinicians are leveraging on mobile technology for sharing knowledge among clinicians.
There is a wide diversity within a developing country. For example, there is a gap between the wealthy and non-wealthy classes, so their demand and need also differs. The question is more about affordability and most of the effort is spent on access of medicine. Also, health is one sector which is directly related to government policies and service depends on how the healthcare is financed.
What are the concerns of IT companies while integrating solutions in a developing market?
The kind of solution we deliver involves lot of information and goes on increasing with time. Hence, data protection is crucial. So, we have to look at the regulatory environment on data protection in these countries before launching any major program. For instance, in Singapore, we have built the National EHR and the information comes from electronic medical records of various hospitals at different sites.