Connecting the dots in connected healthcare in Asia Pacific

What are the challenges and opportunities in connected healthcare in the region?

By Adrian M. Reodique
Nov. 24, 2016

The healthcare market in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region is projected to expand at 12.8 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2012 to 2018, with healthcare IT as one of the top five growth sectors in the region, according to Frost & Sullivan.

The research firm noted both the private and public hospitals will invest extensively in installing, maintaining, and upgrading their IT capabilities to remain competitive by increasing their operational efficiency, clinical outcomes, and their financial profitability. 

"While healthcare IT is known as a laggard industry compared to financial services or telecommunications, APAC healthcare organisations specifically, are ripe for capitalisation of readily available industry innovations," said Danny Smoulders, Vice President of data analytics provider ExtraHop APAC, in an e-mail interview with CIO Asia.

Despite the positive projection and opportunity, APAC health services organisations with the financial capability to adopt connected healthcare are usually unsure where to start investing, and how to integrate new and existing systems.

"Assuming that healthcare organisations have achieved the financial threshold to become a connected healthcare team, the first decision is where to start - or where to make the first of many IT investments. Secondly, how will they balance the integration and maintenance of systems against the promise of newer technologies in years to come? IT must leverage their limited resources to meet day-to-day operational goals while simultaneously transitioning to a more collaborative, interconnected, and mobile footing," said Eric Thomas, Director of Solutions Architecture of ExtraHop.

Citing Frost & Sullivan, Thomas noted the overzealous approaches to IT innovation in this field often resulted to failure of both the healthcare providers and IT vendors to holistically quantify the clinical benefits, and qualitative improvements in patient outcomes by using sophisticated IT systems.

"Luckily for APAC healthcare providers, innovation and measurable results are pervasive throughout other regions across the globe. This allows those with the financial resources to support connected healthcare initiatives to learn from their more experienced industry peers to rapidly innovate their patient technology services," Thomas added.

He advised healthcare organisations in the region to consult their partners and technology vendors to help them adopt connected healthcare. "As many organisations in APAC are in early phases of adopting connected healthcare technologies, they will require consultation from partners and technology vendors alike who understand the intersection of IT and healthcare delivery and have worked with IT directors, executives, and architects in making the real-time healthcare system a reality," he elaborated.

"These technology partners should equip organisations to embrace the delivery of connected healthcare and provide insight into all of an organisation's patient data. This analysis presents performance, optimisation, and security issues in context so they can be quickly understood and resolved," Thomas continued.

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