AI, smart tech to cure healthcare industry issues

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Caroline Clarke, CEO and Executive Vice President, Philips APAC, speaks about the Philips Future Health Index 2023 Report at the Philips Singapore office on Wednesday. [JIN MIN-JI]

Caroline Clarke, CEO and Executive Vice President, Philips APAC, speaks about the Philips Future Health Index 2023 Report at the Philips Singapore office on Wednesday. [JIN MIN-JI]

SINGAPORE — Smart and digital health technologies are the top priorities for the healthcare sector in Asia-Pacific (APAC), according to the Philips’ Future Health Index 2023 Report Wednesday.  

 
The expansion of virtual care and smart hospitals are some of the major developments in the region’s healthcare industry which is facing challenges, such as financial pressures and staff shortages, said Royal Philips, a health technology provider, in the report titled “Taking Healthcare Everywhere.”
 
Philips, a seller of healthcare equipment like sleep apnea devices and portable mesh nebulizers, annually releases the Future Health Index to demonstrate how countries are shaping the future of healthcare.  
 
Nearly 3,000 respondents from the healthcare industry in 14 countries, including Singapore, Australia and Indonesia, but excluding Korea, participated in the survey featured in the eighth, and latest, edition of the report announced at the Philips Singapore office.

 
“For decades, healthcare has been primarily delivered in centralized facilities like hospitals, but this latest report shows that APAC’s healthcare leaders are making bold changes as they navigate unprecedented staff and financial challenges,” said Caroline Clarke, CEO and Executive Vice President, Philips APAC.  

 
“The good news for patients is that this puts them first. We are seeing a shift towards a distributed model of care delivery in APAC that uses smart and connected digital health technologies and data to bring care close to patients, at home or in the community, to where they are, anytime, anywhere.”

 
The report showed artificial intelligence and data are the key areas of future investment in healthcare. The report found that 34 percent of healthcare leaders in APAC are currently investing in AI, while 74 percent said they plan to invest in AI three years from now. 
 
AI can improve work efficiency and reduce mundane tasks by organizing overwhelming amounts of patient data, said Philips. It could also help tackle staff shortages in the healthcare industry.  

 
The World Health Organization estimates a projected shortfall of 10 million health workers by 2030, mostly in low- and lower-middle-income countries.  

 
Other technologies Philips highlighted were a network of medical devices that enable real-time monitoring of patients, blockchain to enhance data security, alongside virtual and augmented realities to train and educate patients.  

 
Digital twin, a virtual representation of a physical product or object that spans its lifecycle, was also highlighted as a key technology necessary for healthcare professionals to generate predictions for how patients would respond to medical procedures or medicine.
 
“Digital twin is a surgical simulator that can optimize and identify the safest and the most efficient treatment planning,” said Kevin Kim, head of solutions at Philips APAC. The company has been investing in research and development of the technology  since 2020.  
 
“Future hospitals will have to be smart and interconnected, turning data into insights for better patient care,” said Mark Burby, head of sales & solutions APAC Health Systems at Philips APAC.  

 
Clinical excellence, operational efficiency, experiential excellence and sustainability are the four key factors that define a smart hospital, Burby added.

BY JIN MIN-JI [[email protected]]


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