All industries around the world are assessing how they can gain advantage from new technologies, and this is especially so in the healthcare industry. “Goldman Sachs estimates that digital health can save the US some US$305 billion a year and the digital healthcare industry can generate as much as US$32.4 billion a year in revenue,” says Gabe Rijpma, senior director of health and social services, Microsoft Asia, in a new blog post.
“The health industry in Asia is a unique industry with its own set of challenges that vary across developed and emerging markets. Challenges like growing populations, chronic disease burden, longer life spans, strained budgets, compliance, technology silos, medical advances and cyber threats burden the industry where needs are infinite while resources are mostly finite. Emerging markets in Asia like Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam are challenged with large populations of undiagnosed and untreated patients. In these markets, there is an urgent need to expand the health system’s capabilities to deliver quality healthcare.
“In India, with limited resources and close to 850 million people living in remote, rural areas, much of the population lacks access to quality healthcare. On the other end of the spectrum, in developed markets like New Zealand and Singapore, ageing populations mean health organizations need to empower aged patients and assist them and their loved ones to be more informed about their health. In fact, by 2050, Asia’s elderly population will have tripled, reaching close to 1.3 billion. This means that one in every four people will be over 60 years old.”
Rijpma goes on to explain how organisations and governments alike are serious about digital transformation within healthcare delivery models. For example, as part of the Thai government’s overall vision for ‘Digital Thailand’, an e-health strategy was developed to improve the quality and coordination of healthcare services in Thailand. Additionally, a study by The Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) revealed that India’s virtual health market has the potential to cross the US$32 million mark by 2020 from today’s level of over US$15 million. In New Zealand, the Ministry of Health has officially accepted Microsoft’s Trusted Public Cloud services for advancing the country’s electronic health service capabilities.
“My conversations with health organisations and government representatives in Asia have given me some insight into what we call ‘the health industry aspiration’, Rijpma explains. “The industry aspires to transform the present ‘sick care’ system from simply attending to patients when in need to improving care outcomes, promoting population wellness and harnessing data. This will place the most important person – the patient – in the centre of the care continuum.”
In fact, in a recent Microsoft Asia Digital Transformation Study, which involved 247 business leaders in the health industry, engaging patients was the number two digital transformation priority among respondents. However, only 25% of business leaders polled have a full digital transformation strategy in place, which means organisations need to accelerate their transformation process to meet the healthcare demands of tomorrow.
“Unfortunately, the present patient journey is often complicated and overwhelming,” Rijpma says. “There are many steps from the time the patient discovers he is ill to receiving care and follow up care to the stage he is satisfied with the service. Throughout this journey which can often be an emotional one for the patient and family members, he or she interacts with different care providers and moves to different locations. There is often no single point to tie the journey for improved access, and efficient and continued engagement throughout the care continuum.
“We are excited to have our partners working with governments and hospitals in Asia to simplify the patient journey by putting the patient in the centre of care through digitisation and innovation at different stages of interaction: At home, at the hospital, at the ward and lastly back at the clinic.”
Find out more about how Microsoft is transforming healthcare here.