Frost & Sullivan’s Top Five Technologies that will Impact Healthcare Delivery in Asia-Pacific in 2013.
The healthcare industry in Asia-Pacific is undergoing a transformation under the influence of an evolving consumer profile, dynamic disease patterns and increasing healthcare costs. “Efficient, affordable and timely delivery of quality healthcare services is a priority for governments across the region,” says Natasha Gulati, Connected Health Industry Analyst, Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific.
Frost & Sullivan has identified top five technologies that have the potential to revolutionize healthcare delivery in Asia-Pacific.
1. Cloud Computing and Cloud Services
Cloud computing not only addresses the challenge of rising healthcare costs by significantly reducing capital expenditure for healthcare providers, it also provides them with the flexibility and agility they require in the dynamic Asia-Pacific market. Almost 30% of healthcare providers across the region are currently using cloud computing and cloud services while a number admit that this is a key technology focus for their budget in the near future. Hospital CIOs admit pagers and mobile phones continue to be the most popular communication channel for physicians. Cloud services are helping healthcare organizations connect with their employees far more efficiently while at the same time also improving scheduling and other administrative tasks. Many healthcare providers in Australia are also using Cloud solutions to reach out to and educate a larger population through mobile and web-based services. However, a number of concerns and apprehensions loom around data security as well as the risk to business continuity when it comes to cloud in healthcare.
2. Big Data Analytics
The Asia-Pacific business analytics for healthcare providers was estimated at USD 315.9 million (AUD 304.3 million) in 2011, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.9% between 2011 and 2018. As governments and private players across Asia-Pacific rapidly move towards electronic health information exchange and remote and mobile patient monitoring devices, the volume of medical and health data will expand to the tune of terabytes. These large, complex data sets will comprise healthcare Big Data and will act as a valuable resource for a number of stakeholders across the healthcare ecosystem. To be able to derive actionable insights from these large data sets, healthcare organizations will leverage sophisticated analytics and intelligence tools that will help them manage, comprehend and exploit this data. Australia is already well-ahead of the curve as compared to other markets in the region, contributing almost 2% of the 2011 revenue. The Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) system currently gathers very basic information but as the system expands in depth and complexity, software vendors in Australia expect a significant boom in the clinical analytics market.
3. Advanced Visualization Tools
Healthcare is increasingly moving towards the era of prevention as a result of which early, safe and reliable diagnostics becomes imperative. Due to this megatrend the demand for advanced visualization tools such as 3-dimensional imaging and imaging analytics will rise rapidly. These tools and software help physicians make better informed decisions and thus, assist in improved diagnosis as well as treatment. Physicians across the region are not only demanding complex software but also investing in training to help them understand how best they can leverage such tools. Private players too are adding to this momentum by providing product training as well as university courses for physicians and radiologists to help them better manage sophisticated imaging techniques.
4. Machine-2-Machine Communication
Machine-2-Machine or M2M communication has already made significant strides in other industries. The idea is now being explored in healthcare by medical device manufacturers and mobility solutions providers who are investing in integrating advanced communication technologies, such as, blue-tooth, RFID (radio frequency identification), motion sensing and wireless, into patient monitoring devices. The vision is to encapsulate the healthcare consumer in a web of devices that constantly monitor physiological parameters, analyse the information and communicate it to the right people and devices in almost real-time. Several large telecommunication companies, including Telstra and Vodafone, are providing products and services in this space for the Australian market.
5. Social Media as a Means of Sharing Information
Social media is no longer looked upon as an advertising option amongst healthcare circles. Healthcare organizations have begun to realize both tangible and intangible benefits of a strong social media community. Healthcare providers are investing in online portals, live chats, panels, forums and communities as a means of sharing and disseminating information between physicians, consumers and government bodies. Moreover, with the volume of health information being exchanged online, physicians and researchers are now seeking ways to structure data picked up from social media sources and use this to improve healthcare delivery.
Gulati elaborates to say that while all of the above technologies may play very distinct roles in serving the healthcare community, at their very core, they are based on secure, reliable and timely exchange of medical and health information.
“The healthcare industry is becoming increasingly conscious of the importance of information and is aggressively working towards improving the quality of data as well as data management processes by not only investing in technology but also by developing regulations, standards and protocols to support vigorous information gathering and exchange.”