The Asian population is marked by rising wealth and better-informed citizenry, and with this comes increasing demand for quality healthcare. In fact, healthcare has become one of the top priorities of many countries in the region. While different countries have different levels of maturity in their digital transformation journey, a few common themes still ail the state of healthcare in Asia. Among them are:
The rise of tech-savvy patients. Consumers nowadays are taking increased ownership of their own health. With the wide availability of health information online, patients are now better informed and do not take what clinicians and caregivers say at face value. They also embrace technology such as fitness wearables and apps to optimise their own health.
Increased costs drive up value expectations. People are expecting greater value from healthcare services due to high medical expenses. However, issues such as legacy systems, inefficient processes, and tedious regulations often drives up overheads, adding a burden to clinicians even before they fill a prescription.
Uneven distribution of public healthcare systems. In Asia, less than a quarter of skilled health workers are stationed in areas that need them the most. Even in urban areas with better access to healthcare facilities, patients may still have to endure long waiting hours. In addition, as healthcare systems remain highly fragmented, patients must navigate between diverse healthcare systems to receive the comprehensive healthcare they need.
COVID-19 placed great pressure on healthcare providers. As COVID-19 cases get prioritised and safe distancing requirements are being implemented, a drastic reduction in healthcare capacity comes as a result. And this is happening at a time when we can least afford it.
To tackle these issues, we need to have a patient-first mentality and put them at the centre of a holistic healthcare ecosystem. By using technology in healthcare (HealthTech), these pressing challenges outlined above can be addressed effectively. HealthTech helps by improving healthcare providers’ ability to supply medical services, empowering patients with greater ownership of their health, and allowing asynchronous and location-agnostic engagement, resulting in faster, affordable, and accessible healthcare.
Using HealthTech, Amazon Web Services (AWS) enables the following five essential aspects of healthcare:
Safeguarding patient health
HealthTech can be leveraged for preventive care, such as understanding disease risks and health monitoring. For example, the Wadhwani Institute for Artificial Intelligence in India developed a solution where a virtual 3D models of infants can be generated in the cloud to calculate weight and other crucial measurements and ultimately, lower infant mortality.
Effective treatment of ailments
Leveraging HealthTech helps clinicians diagnose and treat illnesses better. In a study, GE Healthcare found that 35 percent of patient cases are misdiagnosed due to lack of access to images and data. It developed GE Health Cloud which allowed access to its 500,000+ medical imaging devices globally, which resulted in better diagnoses.
Greater control over personal health
Through technology, patients can take greater control of their own health. In the wake of COVID-19, Healthdirect Australia set up a cloud-based telephony system, which allowed them to quickly add hundreds of virtual staff to help address public concerns about the virus – a task that would’ve taken months, if not longer.
HealthTech can help improve processes and provide greater value for patients. NSW Health put this into practice when, during the COVID-19 pandemic, it developed an SMS solution that reduced negative test result wait times from seven days to hours, relieving patient anxiety and allowing healthcare workers to focus on those most in need.
Improving reimbursement for patients
HealthTech makes insurance claims for healthcare services fast and hassle-free. One of Australia’s largest insurers, icare, is a cloud-only organization that uses managed services to serve its customers. As such, their automatic decision-making and daily reconciliation capabilities allow for smoother processing and ultimately, better outcomes for the patient.
Healthcare is an ever-changing industry. As patients become better informed and more willing to take charge of their own health, technology will play an increasingly crucial role to achieve better outcomes. Working with some of the world’s leading HealthTech companies, AWS helps bring about vital innovations, particularly in Asia. With closer collaboration among various stakeholders, HealthTech will allow us to deliver better healthcare outcomes in a highly personalized way.