Nearly a decade ago I met Dr C P Wong to talk about the digitization of health records in Hong Kong. He is founder of the Hong Kong Society of Medical Informatics and an active proponent of the medical informatics in the city.
We spoke about the challenges of introducing digital health records – from security and personal data privacy to getting doctors at private clinics participating in the initiative.
A few years later I was going for a medical procedure at a private hospital on the behest of my doctor in the public sector. One of the forms I was asked to sign was to allow the private hospital to directly send my records to the public hospital.
I was fortunate to meet a data specialist from a private hospital group in Singapore and he briefed me on the efforts in Singapore to digitize health records.
Sad to say that the digitization of records even if only within the same hospital is not universal in many parts of Asia. Whenever I visit my doctor at a private hospital in the Philippines where he holds residency, records remain paper-based from the time you sign in to the time you settle the bill. I remember the last time I was checking out of an overnight check-up, it took three hours to settle my bill.
I understand that hospitals are run as departments but when you consider how much these hospitals charge their patients, how much private and public funding they get in on top of the revenue they get from patients, you’d be forgiven if you ever pop the question – do you have digital records?
Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, Global Healthcare Interoperability Market, Forecast to 2024, contends that interoperability has become a critical consideration for all health IT (HIT) applications.
Frost says data interoperability and data analytics are key contributors to global market revenue for healthcare interoperability.
Countries, where HIT interoperability standards are equally important and regulated, are projected to drive the market, registering near-double-digit growth. The buoyant market for global healthcare interoperability is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.8%, reaching $7.96 billion by 2024 from $4.17 billion in 2019.
“With the advent of innovative delivery models and shifting focus on value-based care, the demand for interoperable systems will continue to grow,” said Koustav Chatterjee, Transformational Health Principal Analyst at Frost & Sullivan.
“Additionally, the ability to achieve medical device connectivity across the care continuum will be critical. Real-time integration of accurate patient-generated data from connected apps and systems into a central command centre platform that uses cognitive algorithms to automate care coordination and personalize intervention will be a key competitive advantage during and post-COVID-19.
Chatterjee added: “From product segment perspectives, data interoperability and data analytics will primarily dominate the global healthcare data interoperability market.”
He noted that both solution segments are expected to contribute more than 90% of the global market revenue throughout the study period.
API or application program interface integration rounds the three most important solution segments contributing to global market revenue, followed by data cleansing, data integration, and application integration.
Globally, major government agencies are mandating healthcare stakeholders to comply with national healthcare data interoperability standards.
This is resulting in higher adoption of HIT applications, thereby presenting immense growth opportunities for vendors involved in healthcare interoperability, including:
- API Management: Vendors are encouraged to create API partnership platforms to achieve cross-continuum connectivity.
- Data Management: Cloud or on-premise data centres comprise actionable healthcare intelligence, indicative of a past pattern of diseases, payment frauds, and operational inefficiencies.
- Electronic Medical Record (EMR) Partnerships: Build the EMR interoperability consulting services business line.
- Medical Device Partnerships: Utilize real-time assessment of patient-generated data by care episodes and patient population.
- Health Information Exchange: Develop a central infrastructure to enable the delivery of actionable health data.