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Three Strategies to Accelerate Digital Healthcare in the Asia-Pacific Region

Article Summary


A growing interest in data, analytics, and digitizing healthcare among organizations in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region also brings challenges. According to Farhana Nakhooda, Senior Vice President at Health Catalyst and longstanding healthcare expert in APAC, health systems in this part of the world face many obstacles that complicate the transition to digital healthcare, including strained financial assets, sufficient clinicians, and disparities based on rural and urban areas. However challenging these barriers might be, Nakhooda provides three strategies that systems in APAC and beyond can leverage to accelerate their digital healthcare journey:

1. Promote data and analytics literacy.
2. Implement a data governance structure.
3. Invest in data protection and security.

digital healthcare

Longtime health expert in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, Farhana Nakhooda, Senior Vice President at Health Catalyst, says that healthcare organizations in this region have an increasing interest in leveraging data and analytics to drive improvement.

Despite this growing interest in digitization and data, healthcare systems across APAC face complex barriers to enter the digital healthcare world, and therefore, barriers to better healthcare delivery. To start, many organizations lack digital infrastructure, making basic requirements for health systems in the APAC region—such as sharing data with governments for regulatory reporting—a cumbersome, time-consuming manual process.


Health Systems in the Asia-Pacific Region Face Complex Barriers to Digital Healthcare

Nakhooda separates the APAC region into developing and developed countries. While developed markets are more experienced in EHR use, implementation challenges and varying digitization levels persist. Meanwhile, developing markets still focus on improving their healthcare data capture systems because many are not fully digital.

But for both developing and developed markets, the challenge remains the same—a rapidly aging population has increased the demand for better care and improved access. After all, this region accounts for more than half of the world’s population. Additionally, health systems face disparities in infrastructure and services between rural and urban areas, limited financial resources, and a clinician shortage, to name a few barriers.

Three Strategies to Overcome Digital Healthcare and Data Barriers

While the challenges to digitizing healthcare and improving access to data are many, Nakhooda suggests three strategies to overcome them:

#1: Promote Data and Analytics Literacy

To truly understand the power that healthcare data and analytics can bring and the insights it can produce, team members need data-centric education. Part of education is sharing case studies so that systems and their team members can see the power and capability of data and analytics.


#2: Implement a Data Governance Structure

A proper data governance structure can provide guidance around roles/responsibilities for data use and management. While many healthcare leaders worry that making data widely available will create more problems if specific team members have access to the wrong data (e.g., end users beyond the immediate care team accessing private patient data), a governance structure can mitigate these concerns. Made up of clinical and operational leaders, a data governance team can determine who can access the data, who is responsible for the data, and how to monitor data sharing. In these ways, a strong data governance structure can remove barriers to adoption.

#3: Invest in Healthcare Data Protection and Security

Lastly, Nakhooda says that a proper data security strategy (e.g., audit trails and compliance with security requirements) can give leaders peace of mind that data and analytics sharing is safe and secure.

Following the guidance above can help healthcare organizations overcome barriers to digitization so that they can unlock their data and analytics to drive better outcomes.

Digital Healthcare and Data Pave the Way for Long-Term Outcomes Improvement

As healthcare becomes more complex for organizations in the APAC region, they must rely on data and analytic insight to drive lasting improvements. With a digital infrastructure—or even the start of a digital infrastructure—health systems are equipped to leverage their data more than ever and achieve previously unrealized healthcare outcomes.

Additional Reading

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