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Public healthcare in Singapore looks towards tablets

Jack Loo | Oct. 26, 2010
Mobile devices such as Apple's iPad might have a place in Singapore's hospital wards

SINGAPORE, 26 OCTOBER 2010 - The global Consumer Health market is a fledging sector with mobile devices such as Apple and Blackberry, as well as their applications. Research from Frost & Sullivan indicates that US$169 million in revenue has been generated from a four per cent growth in 2009.

Dr Chong Yoke Sin, CEO, Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS), shares with MIS-Asia.com the potential of these devices in the healthcare industry in Singapore. IHiS manages IT across all the public healthcare institutions in Singapore

With healthcare in Singapore shifting towards electronic medical records, how do you see doctors and medical personnel embracing mobile devices such as iPads and iPhones?

Mobile technology is readily embraced by all and will be a natural extension to the e-records today. We are quickly moving from desktops to laptops to equipment like the tablets in the enterprise setting. Mobile applications are getting quite commonplace, and we see more and more e-services being m-enabled on the smartphones. We are enabling patient-facing services to be available on smartphones so as to reach our patients better.

Would you feel that these devices are one, easier to carry around, and two, less intimidating than laptop carts to patients?

Definitely, the technology has changed so quickly that perhaps, we can use more mobile devices and less of laptop carts. But the laptop carts do serve as heavy-duty systems and will be used appropriately as such in the near future. The number of devices used in the hospitals has increased due to the move to use systems rather than manual processes. It is timely that the mobile devices such as the iPads have come on the market so that these can provide a viable alternative to the more cumbersome laptop on wheels.

Are you looking to adopt these mobile devices in your medical institutions? Can you give some examples on what devices you are using and how they are being employed?

We are evaluating these devices, and see great potential for their use in our busy and crowded hospital wards. We have got the Mobile Clinical Assistants (MCAs) in some wards, and certainly the iPads and other similar devices will be seriously evaluated for adoption in the near future.

Do you feel there might be technical issues as the devices might be on different operating systems from what you already have?

We use Web services largely and our systems are designed for interoperability, so we will be able to use these devices.

Would you feel that there might be security issues such as loss of device and even data theft for the IT teams to deal with?

Yes, but our users are accountable for these devices. Will you lose your handphone because it is so portable?

 

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