UPDATE : Friday, June 5, 2020
Is Asia ready for digital transformation in healthcare?
  • By Marian Chu
  • Published 2017.05.24 11:07
  • Updated 2017.05.29 23:38
  • comments 0

Nearly eight out of 10 healthcare industry insiders believe that healthcare will undergo a digital transformation, as viewed by a healthcare expert, who also said he remained optimistic about digital healthcare in Asia.

“However much work still must be done,” said Callum Bir, the healthcare management consulting guru at a symposium here Tuesday. “More than 70 percent of hospitals do not have the necessary technology to make the digital transformation a reality,” he noted.

Callum Bir, Microsoft’s director of health of the Asia Pacific, delivers his speech on digital healthcare at the “Convergence of Healthcare and the Cloud” symposium hosted by The Korea Doctors Weekly Review and Microsoft in Seoul Tuesday.

Bir opened the session titled the “Convergence of healthcare and the cloud” during the symposium.

The event, jointly held by The Korea Biomedical Review’s sister company, The Korean Doctors’ Weekly, and Microsoft, hosted industry experts in the field of digital healthcare to discuss the future of cloud technology and the impact it will have on the healthcare industry.

Bir cited a set of barriers for digital transformations, such as the lack of supporting government policies and ICT infrastructure, uncertain economic environment, cyber threats and security, lack of organizational leadership skills to execute, and no urgency to counter industry disruptors, according to study findings conducted by Microsoft.

Some study findings showed that empowering care teams to improve clinician experience and productivity is the top priority for Asia’s healthcare business leaders, Bir said, noting that the CIOs and CEOs should play key roles in introducing digital offices in hospitals.

In Korea, industry insiders trying to implement digital healthcare have faced obstacles due to legal restrictions, according to Shin Soo-yong, a professor at Kyung Hee University. However, Korean healthcare companies are now beginning to ramp up its investments in digital healthcare after medical law revisions in 2016, allowing hospitals to save medical information onto cloud platforms, he added.

Prof. Shin pointed to the rising importance of digital healthcare. However, he also explained the common misconceptions people have about using the cloud for electronic medical records. Notably, he dispelled the misconception that cloud technology is necessary for hospitals, saying instead that data standardization is more crucial than utilizing a cloud platform.

Kim Kook-il, director of Health and Medical Technology Development Division at the Ministry of Health and Welfare, said privacy is the most important consideration for cloud regulations.

"The ministry understands the importance of resolving the problem of distribution and protection of personal information when pursuing policies related to big data and precision medical care,” he said. “However, fields such as Big Data are developing rapidly, and it seems that the health insurance pricing system and new medical technology evaluation systems are playing catch-up.”

Kim called for the public sector to take an active role in creating standards in privacy in the new fields of cloud technology while noting that the ministry is earnestly working toward realizing the values of evidence-based medicine in the sector.


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