Hospitals around Southeast Asia are upping the ante in their digital transformation as executives look to raise their technology spending in the coming years.
Global management consultant L.E.K. Consulting recently conducted a survey involving 230 hospital directors from Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore to gain an understanding of their strategic priorities and challenges.
Over the next three years, hospitals in Southeast Asia, particularly private ones, are expected to highly prioritise introducing new medical technologies and treatments “to improve service delivery and differentiate themselves from competitors.” Hospitals in the region are also focusing on improving staff safety.
They are also expected to increase investment and capacity in diagnostic imaging (54%), primary care (52%), and general surgery (51%) to meet growing healthcare demands.
The L.E.K. report also noted a generally high rate of implementation of digital health solutions among Southeast Asian hospitals, mostly in areas of patient administration, patient information management, and initial consultation.
As a region, they lag behind China and India when it comes to the adoption of patient information and data technologies. However, they lead Asia-Pacific in implementing digital tools for remote consultation and disease management and prevention. They are also a regional leader when it comes to implementing digital solutions in treatment (such as AI-based clinical decision support tools) and post-discharge monitoring.
Hospital directors in Southeast Asia have highly regarded digital health solutions for helping provide better patient care and a new revenue stream for their hospitals, as well as increasing staff satisfaction, staff efficiency and capacity.
For them, what remains a barrier to the wider adoption of digital solutions are concerns about patient privacy (60%) and the lack of talent to develop and implement those technologies (57%).
THE LARGER CONTEXT
The expectation of greater digital health adoption comes as both public and private hospitals in Southeast Asia are growing optimistic about their financial prospects over the coming years. Based on the L.E.K. survey, 57% of public hospital directors said they are expecting a budget surplus over the next three years while 88% of their counterparts in private hospitals are seeing high profit margins. Moreover, about a third of all surveyed said they are hopeful for a significant increase in capital expenditure of over 5% in the coming years.
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