PHOTO - iSOFT Health Asia general manager Dr Timothy Nam.
The adoption of information technology (IT) in the healthcare industry is speeding up, driven in part by cloud computing, according to Asia-based healthcare IT solutions provider iSOFT Health Asia.
iSOFT Health Asia general manager Dr Timothy Nam said the healthcare industry has been slower than other sectors in adopting IT solutions. "Having to manage, as well as maintain, healthcare's legacy systems and upkeep its traditional best practices, many called the health sector extremely backward. In fact, quite a number of observers have declared it as being 20 years behind the banking sector."
However, Dr Nam said many factors have speeded up IT adoption, making healthcare the new frontier in Asia for the IT industry. "Major areas of concern include the progressing age of the world's population, especially in Asia, and their continued call for reduced costs in healthcare. One of the ways to address this is 'Closed Loop Medication Management' [CLMM] approach."
He said CLMM was a strategy to rationalise medication management portfolio, which consists of the hospital's various existing solution, namely pharmacy system, billing, patient administration and other types of legacy solutions into a view of progressive convergence overtime towards a single suite based on a modern shared services platform. "This approach will also provide a seamless CLMM on both conventional desktops and mobile devices, with development of new mobile device compliant interfaces enabling users to choose between traditional computers on wheels or more modern and less costly mobile devices."
"These demands have drawn out major support from governments as they poured in massive amounts of funding to improve state-managed health offerings," said Dr Nam. "Such efforts can be found primarily in emerging economies as they invest heavily in this sector to improve its general public's health and well-being."
"If we want to cater to the rising public demands for better services at lower price-points, then we, as healthcare providers, can no longer isolate ourselves anymore from adopting IT," Dr Nam said. "However, it is the rapid progress the Internet and the advent of cloud computing that has been nurturing this drive for IT innovation and service integration within the health sector."
"This includes the presence of social networks, availability of enriched multimedia facilities, improved collaborative communications, and reliable high-speed broadband infrastructure - all of which are now critical elements for healthcare services and made possible with the growing popularity of cloud computing," he said.
"In addition, the digital era has transformed the way consumers interact with medical facilities as they have easy access to a vast trove of information related to healthcare," said Dr Nam. "Current service offerings in the health sector also have experienced similar improvements. These advancements are very apparent in the areas of knowledge access, collaborative efforts, and technology innovations."
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