How to best utilise tech in medicine?

medical-tech
Technology can be expensive in healthcare. Developing a custom solution can cost one thousands to millions of ringgit to create. Even then, the solutions are usually fraught with bugs and inabilities to integrate with other existing softwares. The market is so fragmented that solutions are usually purchased separately resulting in the use of different solutions at the same hospital or place of practice.

Thus the use of technology in healthcare can be disruptive in every sense of the word. Although we cannot escape the digitisation of healthcare and the many benefits that it brings, we cannot deny that, perhaps, it is still not quite ready for prime time medicine. The use of big data analytics and how we interpret the information, following which we present that in useful manner to the patients in order to bring benefits, is still science fiction on most occasions. It adds noise and sometimes confusion to the art of medicine. The art of looking at the patient, asking the right questions, watching the non-verbal cues and at the same time exude empathy, will soon be a lost art as digitisation aims to rob both doctors and patients of the chance to “intimately” know each other.

Most EMRs in the market is packed with features. It almost parallels a airplane cockpit control panels. There are lots of devices that gives out a lot of information. The key is to focus on the right things at the right time and to interpret the information in a coherent manner, especially during critical times. Training in EMRs is often not robust and regular enough for healthcare personnel. There is literally no checking mechanism to ensure that the system is utilised appropriately and that staff will be trained regularly to ensure quality of data being entered. It is assumed that this should be second nature to healthcare staff, when clearly it is not. Most EMRs require substanstial learning and practice to be fully proficient.

In my opinion, the best systems are ones that uses tech which is familiar to all. Large multinational tech giants have done some of the work for us in terms of gaining familiarity, be it Microsoft, Apple, Google, Amazon, Dropbox, Evernote and the list goes on and on. Perhaps using some of these platforms to launch a healthcare solution will be best in order to minimise re-learning and to ensure that the systems continue to be developed and improved on. Perhaps custom made EMRs are going to be the thing of the past as many of them are not easily upgradable and spending on server space and security can be a very costly affair.

Indeed, the technology that we need is already there for us to use, maybe in an innovative way. A way that it was perhaps not intended to do when it was first developed. This is also way cheaper. Tech does not have to be expensive. It just takes some creativity and bravery to think of ways to use existing tech solutions in unconventional ways.

Back to the drawing board

Thumping victories for Barisan despite supposedly crippling charges of corruption against the Prime Minister, ought to awaken the opposition and quell any arrogance stemming from unprecedented gains in the prior General Election. 

One thing is quite clear, without a united front, PR or PH has no realistic chance of toppling the current BN government. If you cannot show unity in the opposition, it is clearly impossible for you to be united in a ruling government. Let’s face it, the opposition is not ready to form the federal government! So indeed the people are very discerning in casting their votes. Disunity in the opposition has culled any hopes of winning against BN. 

The opposition parties must move on from Anwar. Hanging on to your slim hopes of installing Anwar as the PM in the event of a win is just a wasteful dream. His time is over, it is time to get a new figure that can transcend the politics of race and religion. It is time for the failed leadership of PKR, DAP and PAS to vacate their positions to enable newer potential future leaders to surface. 

Mahathir, who once stood untouchable within the ruling elite is now reduced to a disgruntled frail has been. The hypocrisy is evident when it comes to Mahathir, who clearly once was associated with tyranny.It may be foolish to subscribe to Mahathir’s agenda.  

When you cannot win during a time when the ruling government is weak, some seriousness must be injected into reorganization and the need for new strategies.  A time when MCA and MIC should not have been given the opportunity to resurrect, a lifeline has been handed to them on a platter. 

The opposition’s failure to unite has made BN look uncharacteristically an attractive option despite all the ills that plaque it. It is time to look deeper and really figure out how you can really help improve the country if chosen to lead, not just to topple BN. This sole agenda is beginning to appear stale.

 

This will be a living article and will be updated periodically. 

The downside of streaming


Despite having fiber optic broadband with 10Mbs data plan, the streaming of Apple TV movies is pathetically slow. This is the problem of streaming and cloud based services, when the infrastructure has not coped with the advancements. Had to resort to the reliable DVD player. 

Public-private co-operation needed in healthcare

Agree that there is a huge discrepancy in the services between private and public healthcare. Although the dear Minister insists that the population should utilise public healthcare services, the deficiencies and weaknesses of the system is often not addressed.

There is a greater need for public-private healthcare co-operation. This can help the public services cope with the overcrowding at their clinics and hospitals.

Private hospitals and doctors must also ensure that there is added value in paid healthcare services. There must be a distinction in private healthcare, focusing on patient experience and satisfaction. Outcome based fee may also be a solution to ensure added value for private healthcare.

Universal insurance coverage should be the aim of the Malaysian government. This would also ensure that newer more effective but expensive medications are still available to the poor. We have witnessed the inability of the Government to cope with financial assistance when it comes to more expensive therapies. Subsidies are sometimes limited to a very basic care.

The Minister must take the lead in this. Otherwise it will also be a catastrophe for the public healthcare services as well when it can no longer cope with the ever escalating cost of healthcare.