TRENDS IN HEALTHCARE DELIVERY

Jeong Jae Youn, Country Manager, Singapore & Emerging ASEAN, GE Healthcare

In emerging ASEAN, where there is a wide spread of rural and metropolitan areas, connectivity can help expand the reach of specialists, who are typically based in larger hospitals in the city. This will help alleviate the patient load typically seen in the cities and improve the level of healthcare access for patients in provincial or rural areas are able to receive.

What are some of the trends driving healthcare delivery in Singapore and emerging ASEAN?

We are seeing more emphasis placed on value-driven care across emerging ASEAN and particularly, in Singapore Clinicians are increasingly focused on delivering better value, in addition to positive healthcare outcomes. What this means for healthcare equipment providers is the need to demonstrate our clinical value through efficiencies that improve the patient’s experience, reduces waste in the clinician’s workflow and lowers the cost of care. This has resulted in the integration of digital technology solutions such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), data analytics and remote connectivity into hospital equipment and solutions.

How have these opportunities changed since COVID-19?

COVID-19 has left a profound impact on the healthcare industry. We have seen a shift in demand for strategic essential medical products such as ventilators, patient monitors and mobile x-rays as governments stock up supply of these equipment in their countries.

COVID-19 has also accelerated the healthcare industry’s reliance on technology and digital infrastructure to maintain and improve service to patients. This was gaining interest slowly before COVID-19 but has since increased rapidly ever since. Going forward, we expect technology and digital solutions to continue to be essential as healthcare demand in the region rises with economic growth.

What are some examples of new technology such as AI, data analytics in healthcare delivery ? Where is the uptake on that in Singapore and emerging ASEAN?

We are seeing more partnerships emerge across the ecosystem between large MNCs like GE Healthcare with hospitals, start-ups, developers and more to drive digital adoption in healthcare.

In November 2018, GE Healthcare launched Edison, a platform that helps accelerate the development and adoption of AI and empower providers to deliver faster, more precise care. Clinical partners will use Edison to develop algorithms, and technology partners will work with GE Healthcare to bring the latest advancements in data processing to Edison applications and smart devices.

Some examples of Edison applications and Edison-powered devices include an AI-based, automated workflow tool for MRI brain scanning designed to increase consistency and productivity. Most recently on 18 June 2020, GE Healthcare launched a collection of eight AI algorithms in collaboration with a Korean medical AI software company. The solution helps alleviate clinical strain in crisis situations such as COVID-19 by quickly analysing chest x-ray findings and flagging abnormalities to radiologists for review. The solution is also able to highlight lung findings of leading health challenges in emerging ASEAN, including tuberculosis, lung nodules, and other pulmonary and cardiovascular illnesses. In Southeast Asia, we believe that these digital adoption models will pick up and we are partnering hospitals in the region to understand their needs and support them on this journey.

What are the resulting benefits of these innovations?

Clinical value driven by automation, predictability and connectivity.

AI and data analytics can help drive automation and predictability, generating quicker results and streamline workloads. For example, AI-enabled software aggregates the data using the cloud, allowing medical professionals to view a patient’s status remotely. Clinicians can monitor multiple patients simultaneously as well as cross-reference a patient’s past electronic medical records to highlight any contradictions. This reduces workflow inefficiencies, enabling clinicians to attend to more patients and more effectively prioritise the highest risk cases, while also reducing the risks of infection.

Data gathered by analytical technology can be used to minimise down time within the hospital’s operations. Engineers can get a virtual understanding of the equipment’s conditions, with the hospital’s unique environmental factors taken into consideration. The data can be used to ensure the availability of parts and engineers to ensure the customer does not face any unplanned downtime.

In emerging ASEAN, where there is a wide spread of rural and metropolitan areas, connectivity can help expand the reach of specialists, who are typically based in larger hospitals in the city. This will help alleviate the patient load typically seen in the cities and improve the level of healthcare access for patients in provincial or rural areas.

What is the role of technology in healthcare delivery in Singapore and emerging ASEAN post-COVID?

The pandemic has proven that data, analytics, AI, and connectivity will only become more central to delivering care. For GE Healthcare, that means continuing to advance intelligent health and providing innovative technologies. This journey will require new and reinforced partnerships across the healthcare ecosystem – hospital administrators, medical professionals, medical device manufacturers, technology solutions providers and more – to work together towards transforming how healthcare is delivered in the New Normal and beyond.

In your opinion, how do you foresee patient experience changing over time with the use of these new age technologies such as AI, data analytics, and digital connectivity?

The clinical value brought about by AI, data analytics and connectivity will certainly have positive benefits on patients. They can expect to have a smoother and faster experience and have peace of mind to undergo care that is backed up by more data points from their medical history.

When undergoing diagnostic procedures, for example, deep learning algorithms built into the CT or MRI technologist’s workflow can automatically identify anatomical structures to prescribe the slice locations, and the angle of those slices, for neurological exams, delivering consistent and quantifiable results. This will allow the clinician to make a more accurate and informed diagnosis for the patient.

Data analytics can provide a predictive and proactive solution that automatically selects the best settings for each patient over the precise area of interest based. It drives consistency and eliminates variation, ensuring a smoother patient experience without the need to do re-scans.

Digital connectivity can encourage the secure sharing of patient data, allowing care teams across various departments and locations to more efficiently collaborate on patient cases. This helps reduce handling costs for foreign studies, the time spent preparing for multi-disciplinary meetings, increases patient referrals and allows easy sharing of images and records directly with patients.

How do you think the industry landscape is going to change in the next five years, and what are the growth opportunity areas in the sector?

Digital integration into healthcare delivery will continue to be a key theme in healthcare. As we move into a period of living with COVID-19, healthcare providers will be considering how they can leverage technology to drive healthcare transformation and pandemic preparedness.

This will create opportunities for new and reinforced partnerships across the healthcare ecosystem from hospital administrators, medical professionals, medical device manufacturers, technology solutions providers and more.

As mentioned, this means that medical device manufacturers like GE Healthcare will need to show the value of its solutions and offerings. To that end, we expect more partnership approaches as we offer not only technology and digital tools that suit local healthcare needs, but also build a long-term solution that sets the hospital up sustainably for healthcare transformation.

--Issue 49--

Author Bio

Jeong Jae Youn

Jae Youn (JY) is the Country Manager for GE Healthcare’s Imaging, Ultrasound, Life Care Solutions and Services business segments in Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos. He has more than 16 years of sales and marketing experience in the Healthcare sector in Korea and Asia Pacific. JY took on his current role in March 2020 and is responsible for GE Healthcare’s go-to-market strategy for Singapore as well as for accelerating the business’ growth in developing markets. JY holds a degree in Applied Statistics from Konkuk University, Seoul, Korea.

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