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APAC healthcare providers reaping digital transformation returns

Digital transformation could potentially double the improvements in integrated care by 2020, study finds

Healthcare organisations across the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region have improved patient outcomes and prevented diseases by between 14% and 21% through digital transformation initiatives, according to a joint study conducted by Microsoft and IDC.

Healthcare providers also expect to reap further improvements of at least 30% by 2020, with integrated care coordination expected to see the biggest gain as they move away from solely providing hospital-based care.

“People are increasingly focused on improved healthy living and preventive care, where a combination of smart medical devices, the internet of things [IoT], cloud, data analytics and AI [artificial intelligence] plays a crucial role,” said Keren Priyadarshini, regional business lead for worldwide health at Microsoft Asia.

“According to the study, digital transformation could potentially double the improvements of integrated care coordination by 2020. It means we can expect a substantial enhancement in intelligent healthcare continuum, including preventive care, diagnosis and treatment, as well as home and elderly care in future, she added.

And in measuring the success of the digital transformation efforts, healthcare leaders have identified three patient-related metrics – improvements to existing services to engage patients effectively, patient advocacy and harnessing data as capital assets.

Victor Lim, vice-president of IDC APAC, said data, in particular, had become an increasingly important asset to healthcare organisations.

“Healthcare leaders of today have already identified that data capitalisation – or how data is being used as a capital asset within an organisation – is one of their key focus areas and their KPIs [key performance indicators],” Lim said.

“As a result, more healthcare organisations are investing in core technologies such as big data analytics as well as emerging technology such as AI, cognitive and robotics to fully assess and utilise the available data,” he added.

Concurring, Priyadarshini noted that data was key to developing new services and improving patient care.

“As healthcare organisations collect data from basic administration processes as well as patients’ healthcare records in a depersonalised way, the amount of latent and active data available for harnessing is immense,” she said. “This will grow even faster with mass adoption of smart medical devices and IoT.”

Read more about IT in healthcare

The 159 respondents in the study also identified the emergence of disruptive technologies as a top business concern today. The rise of AI, for example, will shift the paradigm of care for healthcare organisations in the short term.

Indeed, by 2019, IDC predicts that 40% of digital transformation initiatives will be supported by AI and cognitive capabilities, providing timely, critical insights for new operating and monetisation models in APAC excluding Japan.

To that end, Microsoft’s AI Network for Healthcare recently teamed up with India’s Apollo Hospitals to develop and deploy new machine learning models to predict patient risk for heart disease and assist doctors on treatment plans. Cardiovascular diseases are among the leading causes of mortality and morbidity in India.

Read more on Healthcare and NHS IT

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