APAC leaders underscore importance of data, new tech in future-proofing health systems – Healthcare IT News

TopAxel Baur, Senior Partner, McKinsey Hong Kong
Middle left-rightHIMSS President and CEO Hal Wolf; Dr Hyeoun-Ae Park, Emeritus Dean, Systems Biomedical Informatics Research Center at Seoul National University, South Korea
Bottom right: Bruce Liang, CEO, Integrated Health Information Systems, Singapore
Credit: HIMSS
The first keynote panel discussion at the HIMSS21 APAC Conference centred on building future-proof health systems.
Dr Hyeoun-Ae Park, emeritus dean of the Systems Biomedical Informatics Research Center at Seoul National University in South Korea, and Bruce Liang, CEO of Singapore-based Integrated Health Information Systems, shared immediate term priorities for their respective health systems around digital and population health. 
HIMSS President and CEO Hal Wolf and Axel Baur, senior partner at McKinsey Hong Kong, also joined the panel and offered recommendations on how Asia-Pacific health systems can start becoming sustainable.
For a sustainable health system, a data-driven approach with the support of new technologies is crucial, Dr Park said. 
Real-world evidence derived from the deployment of advanced technologies, such as AI and cloud-based computing, can help care providers and policymakers create informed decisions when responding to the needs of their population in the future. 
According to Wolf, these new technologies, especially AI and machine learning, enable health organisations to perform predictive modelling to know what anomalies or abnormalities could occur from an individual patient level to an aggregated level. 
He emphasised: “We [need] to have the information [and] background at a population health level and down to the individual level to.. identify these anomalies when they occur, and preferably in predictive modeling to get ahead.” 
Liang also stressed the importance of putting in place foundational blocks for a sustainable health system, one of which is around data and technology. Health systems must be allowed to integrate and share data with one another, which then empowers them to provide care based on a patient’s unique needs. 
South Korea is currently dealing with data interoperability issues. Several national health IT initiatives by the government involve data sharing, such as health information exchange, personal health records, EMR certification and “data-driven hospitals”. In these projects, Dr Park said data standards are needed to enable interoperability.
Moreover, for a lasting health system, Liang said, there must be solutions for holistic team-based care which “goes beyond the classic EMR” for all population health actors. “Because the future of health is about actually improving health outcomes and managing wider determinants of health,” he explained. 
Singapore has built a “solid” foundation for health digitisation through its EHR that cuts across public and private healthcare, as well as care settings. “It helps in [the] continuity of care; very essential to the team-based care concept.”
Reflecting on the situation of APAC health systems, Baur mentioned that the region is still tackling very basic problems of access and financing. 
In order to create care access for millions of people, he suggested that organisations set up intelligent omni-channels. They could also look at population data to systematically predict and prevent the onset of major diseases, another big health challenge for the region. 
In South Korea, another immediate-term priority is to improve patient experience at hospitals by introducing a “smart and connected system,” Dr Park shared.
The HIMSS21 APAC Conference took place on 18 and 19 October. All sessions can be accessed on-demand by registering here. If you have already registered, log in here.
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