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Around 30,000 hospitals have deployed healthcare IT in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region to date – a number that is set to grow significantly in the coming years, thanks to the rise of India and other ASEAN nations as medical tourism destinations.
In addition, countries such as Australia, Japan, Singapore and China are already digitising healthcare services in public and private hospitals through healthcare IT. Such digitisation efforts will go a long way in building healthcare data repositories that can be shared at national levels through data exchange platforms.
With better access to data, healthcare service providers can reduce operational costs, improve patient care and enhance the productivity of healthcare workers. The benefits of healthcare IT can be realised through five key areas: interoperability, cloud adoption, big data, patient engagement and security.
The interoperability of health data is necessary to ensure authenticity and integrity of exchanged data. More than 80% of hospital IT decision makers unanimously agree on the importance of technology that fosters data interoperability.
Hospitals in APAC are likely to invest more than $400m in health data continuity by 2021, in efforts to reduce costs related to data redundancies, provide easy access to patient information, and eliminate duplicate medical tests for patients.
Cloud adoption and big data
Investment in cloud services saves significant costs for hospitals because on-premise IT systems can be costly.
Across the region, more hospitals are deploying software as a service (SaaS) to reduce IT expenses and promote interoperability, as well as to provide updates on patient conditions to their families.
According to Frost & Sullivan research, almost 90% of hospital IT decision makers plan to invest in cloud services in next three to five years. These investments in the APAC region are expected to generate around $2.5bn in revenue for healthcare IT suppliers in next three years.
Besides enhancing operational and financial efficiencies of hospitals, big data analytics in the context of healthcare IT uses predictive models based on health data from medical records and other data sources to generate treatment guidelines.
Almost 52% of hospitals in APAC are planning to invest around $2.5bn in big data and analytics tools in the next two years.
Patient engagement and security
Patient engagement encourages patients to manage their own health through clinical and entertainment platforms, as well as inculcate positive behaviour in patients.
Over 63% of hospitals in APAC are planning to roll out patient engagement tools, such as mobile apps that are connected to electronic health record systems, wearables and online platforms that enable patients to schedule appointments. Spending on patient engagement applications and platforms will reach $2bn by 2021.
Meanwhile, security is a growing concern for the entire healthcare industry. Primarily, providing access to healthcare data through employee devices such as laptops and smartphones is creating data security challenges for hospitals in the APAC region.
At present, few hospitals are deploying blockchain technology to secure patients’ health data. Healthcare organisations in APAC are likely to invest around $500m by 2021 to secure patients’ health data and prevent possible data losses that might occur due to cyber attacks.
Read more about healthcare IT
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- The opportunities for technology to improve healthcare services were explored at HIMSS AsiaPac17 in Singapore, but experts warned that challenges must be addressed before innovation can truly transform the sector.
- The Dubai Health Authority has put the process for bidding for its contracts on an app.
- A UK life sciences sector report calls on government to create several digital innovation hubs, improve data use and establish a regulatory health technology assessment and commercial framework.