Expanding healthcare services in Asia Pacific through telehealth

Besides addressing privacy concerns, what else is needed to enable telehealth to take off in the region?

By Adrian M. Reodique
Sept. 20, 2016


The report titled "Innovation-Powered Healthcare in Asia Pacific" polled 2,250 consumers (750 each) in Japan, Australia, and Singapore.

Despite its advantages, telehealth, like other technological innovations, have their limitations."Providing quality care is the fundamental benchmark for any technology used to treat patients. Clinicians trained to perform physical examinations may not be able to fully exploit the technology, leading to detrimental outcomes for the patient," said Oostveen.

He added data privacy is also a key concern that telehealth users must be aware of. "Unsecured data transmissions can be easily intercepted, along with the storage and backing up of consultations. Patients should also be aware that their physical location plays an important role in privacy, with emphasis placed on audio and visual privacy from third parties."

As such, Oostveen advised telehealth providers to leverage a security solution that can help them comply with set procedures for data and access with SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encrypted connection between customers and virtual desktops to reduce the risk of data breach.

Adopting telehealth

According to Frost & Sullivan, technology evolution is the main driver of telehealth market in the region. The role of government is also critical to boost technology development and adoption telehealth by investing in network infrastructure projects, developing eHealth roadmaps, and creating policies that can attract investment in digital health market. 

In terms of technology, it is imperative to adopt an infrastructure that would be able to support the loads in telehealth to fully realise its benefits. "Server, storage and networking infrastructure must be agile, scalable and provide in-built resiliency for the applications that will bind together patient and doctor," Oostveen advised.

Telehealth involves an unprecedented volume of information exchange, which is most critical on more collaborative delivery models such as health information exchanges (HIE), and physician and clinic networks.  Since this may pose privacy concerns, Oostveen said telehealth providers must maintain transparency with the clients regarding the use of their information. "Transparency is an important factor to consider as it is a key requirement for demonstrating meaningful use of patient information, complying with business disclosure laws and meeting the patient demand for information."

In line, healthcare companies planning to adopt telehealth must reduce data silos within their organisations that prevent sharing of information.

Oostveen said they need to integrate various data sources seamlessly to enable a single view of the patient. "Converged infrastructure is the best option for organisations looking to adopt telehealth as it provides all those attributes in a single system that eases the burden of IT staff while rapidly providing value."

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