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ACCA Meetings

ICT and Health in Singapore

Roundtable Dialogue on the Policy Environment for ICT Services in Singapore’s Health Sector

Date/Time: 26 November 2015, 1:30 – 4:30 pm

Venue: Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

Address: Seminar Room 2-1, Manasseh Meyer Building, 469C Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 259772

The Asia Cloud Computing Association (ACCA) and APCO Worldwide, hosted a roundtable dialogue on November 26, 2015, at the premises of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.  

This event was by invitation only for an open and collaborative dialogue between the private and public sectors on Cloud services usage in Singapore’s health sector, and the important questions that arise. 

Following the success of its recent report, Asia’s Financial Services: Ready for the Cloud, the ACCA is exploring new research into Cloud adoption in Asia Pacific’s health sector. This multi-stakeholder dialogue was be a valuable contribution to Singapore’s journey towards the adoption of the Cloud in health.  

Programme

  

1:30 – 2:00 pm

Registration

2:00 – 2:10 pm 

Welcome Address by Ms Lim May-Ann, Executive Director, ACCA

2:10 – 3:45 pm

 

Panel Discussion

  • Moderator: Dr. Ashish Lall, Associate Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Singapore
  • Mr. Craig Shank, Vice President Legal and Corporate Affairs, Microsoft International
  • Mr. Jean-Luc Butel, Corporate Vice-President and President, Baxter International
  • Dr. Joanne Yoong, Associate Professor, NUS, and Director, USC Center for Economic and Social Research-East
  • Ms. Lim May-Ann, Executive Director, ACCA

Questions & Answers

3:45 – 4:30 pm

Networking and Refreshments

 

Highlights from the roundtable discussion:

Barriers to cloud adoption in healthcare are founded on misconceptions

Adoption of cloud computing brings many advantages and enables new services that are currently missing in Singapore’s Health Sector. This includes access to complete electronic medical records (EMRs) from anywhere; fast, secure, flexible and more affordable data management for healthcare providers; and tremendous advances in analytics, predictive diagnostics and personalised medicine.

There are both real and perceived barriers to more widespread adoption of cloud in healthcare. Healthcare providers are concerned that regulatory compliance and data protection laws prohibit cloud adoption. In parallel, regulators are concerned that cloud will decrease their ability to maintain authority and oversight. These concerns are often founded on misconceptions about the regulatory barriers and the effects of cloud use. In reality, regulation and privacy laws do not bar all cloud use, cloud use does not reduce control over the data, and cloud use is not a less secure solution for data management.

Healthcare cloud services must focus on the 5 P’s

As a trust-based and highly local industry with rapid changes and fast growth, healthcare today faces many challenges, and the growing cost of healthcare is unsustainable in all economies globally. In parallel, primary care is largely provided by individual clinics, general practitioners and hospitals operating in silos that do not communicate effectively, thus curbing data driven healthcare solutions.

To reap the benefits of cloud, introduction of cloud services in healthcare should focus on the “5 P’s of healthcare”: Patients, Physicians, Professional Healthcare Administrators, Policy Makers, and Payers. Unless cloud has a positive impact on the experience of one or more of the 5 P’s, it should be reconsidered so as to avoid introduction of new technologies for the sake of technology itself.

ICT and Health in Singapore – a long way to go

Singapore is taking steps to overcome the challenges of cloud adoption for Singapore’s public health. This includes the introduction of H-Cloud to consolidate electronic medical records (EMRs) across the healthcare clusters in the public health system, offering secure and fast access to patient records and facilitating more accurate diagnoses. H-cloud also promises cost savings on hardware and energy for the users.

While H-Cloud has been effective at consolidating clinical data, one of the key challenges going forward is to find a solution for consolidating the information from the private healthcare providers in Singapore with the public health data. As much as 80% of primary care is provided by private medical clinics, with less sophisticated data management systems and little to no integration with the public health data.

The Ministry of Health and IDA has formed a work group to map healthcare IT security requirements against the three tiers of cloud security in Singapore’s Multi-Tier Cloud Security (MTCS). When ready, this will provide clear guidance for which cloud services can be used for what type of healthcare data and applications, thus facilitating the use and understanding of cloud for healthcare providers. This could help standardise healthcare data management and drive integration and data sharing between private and public EMRs.