Digital Health

2021 Asia-Pacific Health CIO Report

Doctor with patient and care giver.

The 2021 APAC Health CIO Report is a compilation of the shared insights and best practices revealed at the HIMSS APAC Health CIO Summit in July 2021; APAC’s first gathering of 120 health CIOs or their equivalents.

During this ground-breaking summit, digital health experts from around the world described how COVID-19 has transformed the way care is being delivered, rapidly accelerating the deployment of digital technology in APAC. They said that cybercrime has rocketed in the region in the wake of COVID-19 and that cybersecurity is now a priority. They explained how cybercriminals gain access to systems, which devices are vulnerable to cyberattacks, why legacy systems can be breached and the best ways to optimise cybersecurity.

They discussed connected health and told the conference how it has been used to maximize resources and limit the spread of the virus in the region. They revealed that AI has become so sophisticated that it can now, for example, differentiate Coronavirus from other viruses in patients’ lungs. They explained how automation is being used to improve workflows in intensive care and why the APAC region is expected to emerge as a hub for automation excellence.

Key actionable insights

  1. Investment in cybersecurity is needed as cybercrime is skyrocketing
  2. Connected Health models ensure better health management
  3. Analytics is key for optimal healthcare delivery
  4. Automation is vital to help combat a pandemic
  5. Digital literacy is the cornerstone for future-proofing healthcare

Additionally, there were discussions about how the culture around healthcare has changed. Fifty-seven per cent of the world’s population are online today and connectivity has evolved to create a much more empowered consumer. Patients now understand so much more about what technology can do for them and how technology can be harnessed to provide healthcare. They can now access virtual GP consultations from their own homes or use an increasing array of apps to become more active participants in their own healthcare.

The role of the health CIO has also concurrently evolved substantially in the last 10 years, with CIOs now being required to understand a wide variety of aspects of healthcare management. They have had to become agents of digital transformation, with healthcare delivery companies now looking at candidates who specialize in areas beyond informatics, workflows, systems and architecture. Responsibilities may now include oversight in strategy, projections, marketing and patient experience—to name a few.

COVID-19 has most definitely super-charged the implementation of digital technology and there is no going back. The pandemic has shown that digital technology can enhance quality of care, improve patient outcomes, reduce re-admissions and lower costs, which are important priorities for all healthcare organizations. APAC seems to be leading the field in digital transformation, so it is perhaps even more important for healthcare organizations here not to get left behind.

HIMSS hopes the key insights and best practices contained in this report will help you make the right choices when it comes to implementing digital strategies.