The Asian way to healthcare excellence

Often healthcare organizations, both government and private, are caught in a dilemma of making technology choices. Only a close collaboration between governments, companies and ecosystem players, who have the collective experience and skills, good understanding of the industry and a strong track record, can improve the quality of medical services.

The burgeoning growth of the healthcare sector in Asia has seen not only healthcare vendors tapping into the industry’s market potential, but governments from developing nations are reaching out to developed countries and/or their private sector healthcare institutions for research and development resources or medical advancements.

Specifically in Asia, developments are taking place on various fronts with governments initiating several of them. These include investments in the National Electronic Health Record (nEHR) which in turn is driving interest and adoption in mobile applications in hospitals; the increasing pressure to address healthcare needs of the growing ageing population in Asian countries is also driving public healthcare sector restructuring to ensure focus on tighter cooperation between acute care and community care for improvements in healthcare service delivery.

The other important development is the huge economic potential of Medical Tourism in Asian countries. Growing competition in Medical Tourism among the region’s countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and India has emerged as an important driver of growth, where private healthcare providers are building new hospitals, and striving to differentiate themselves in offering more hospitality patient experiences.

Importance of Public Private partnership in healthcare

Public-Private partnerships are also emerging as a critical focus within sectors such as healthcare. Earlier this year in January, a Public Private Partnership for Healthcare (PPPH) was signed between the governments of United States and China to help foster long-term cooperation between the two nations in the areas of research, training, and regulation to create an environment aimed at increasing accessibility to healthcare services in China.

In Singapore, one such recent example is the collaboration between Singapore InfoComm Development Authority (IDA) and Motorola Solutions to drive development and adoption of healthcare mobility applications in Singapore and in the Asia Pacific.  This collaboration aims to further encourage nurturing of more home-grown successful healthcare application developers, and showcasing their solutions to local healthcare clusters to drive trials or pilots to accelerate the adoption of technology in the delivery of care.

The Healthcare IT spending across the region is increasing both in private and public hospitals and the demand for better delivery and quality of patient care is at the heart of it

A look at what’s next

That said, mobile end-to-end healthcare workflow communications solutions simply cannot be realized by hardware alone. It is essential to follow an integrated approach that combines wireless solutions, patient care applications and mobility services, which can add tremendous value to the users of healthcare organizations. In the coming years, more hospitals will have wireless and adopt mobile solutions including tablets to enable their caregivers to provide safer and more efficient point-of-care services. With the enhancements in the infrastructure, more hospitals will be able to move towards a paper-less environment which will in turn enable an increase in sharing of digital patient information within a wider network of healthcare institutions.

There already exist solutions and innovative technologies customized for the healthcare institutions to enable these enterprises to reinvent the way they operate. As technology vendors realize that the solutions demanded require an end-to-end delivery approach to customers, a robust, holistic approach is also needed to factor in the different partnerships in the value-chain, so as to address the increasingly sophisticated customer demands.

Governments and companies must continue to invest in partnerships and innovative communications solutions to develop an extensive ecosystem to bring about quality mobile healthcare solutions and new business models to meet the needs of tomorrow’s healthcare organizations.

According to IDC Health Insights predictions for the Asia-Pacific in 2011, the focus on digitizing health records remains the top priority of healthcare providers across the region, among others such as health information exchange initiatives, hospital/clinic information systems, archival & communications systems and computerized order entry systems. These are set to align IT with hospital business goals, improve market responsiveness and achieve seamless operational standards in the next few years.

This article was first published in Enterprise Innovation