According to a recent IDC Health Insights report (Asia/Pacific Healthcare 2013 Top 10 Predictions), the focus for healthcare IT in 2013 will be on enabling individuals to take ownership of their health and wellness. This is especially important for mature economies in Asia Pacific, such as Singapore and Hong Kong, where an ageing population and the shortage of skilled healthcare staff top the challenges in healthcare service provision. Rising income and affluence are also increasing demand for better healthcare in many Asian cities, further driving the urgency to upgrade the provision of healthcare services to the population. Against this backdrop, healthcare organisations in Asia Pacific are increasingly adopting IT and mobility solutions in their operations.
Today, many healthcare providers have already embraced electronic medical records and automated work processes to drive productivity and address manpower shortages. Governments are also providing incentives for healthcare organisations to adopt technology to improve efficiency, quality of care, patient safety and achieve an integrated approach in healthcare.
For example, Singapore is on-track to digitising patient information through its nation-wide e-health record system, while Hong Kong is implementing a patient portal on which healthcare workers can reliably and securely access patient information on-the-go.
In short, technology in healthcare is increasingly gaining attention as an important means to enhance the quality of patient services, while raising the productivity and efficiency of healthcare workers. Here are some key aspects CIOs in healthcare should look out for in 2013.
The need to deliver a better patient experience at the point of care has driven the adoption of solutions that allow healthcare providers to seamlessly and securely access patient information and other clinical data from mobile computers, tablets and other mobile devices. In 2013, mobility will play a greater role in the area of patient care. Healthcare workers need to be able to reliably and securely access patient information while on the move, notify co-workers to collaborate and send text messages to boost communication.
Previously, healthcare practitioners had to be physically located at a centralised station to view a patient's vital signs and the status of medical equipment in his or her room. However, with a wireless mobile computer, these can now be done anywhere within the healthcare facility. Nurses can concentrate on delivering higher quality patient care by eliminating the time spent constantly moving between nursing station and patient's bed to perform critical tasks.
Healthcare professionals can also be empowered with mobility tools for improved efficiency and outcome. Handy mobile devices with inbuilt barcode readers can capture vital information with greater accuracy and speed. Secondary and home care for patients with chronic illnesses is also easily managed today, with remote monitoring and video communication.
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