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Will connected health live on, in a post-pandemic Asia-Pacific region?
That depends on which part of the APAC region you live in, according to a new survey report by global health-innovation advisory group and member association, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).
The HIMSS State of Connected Health in APAC: 2021 report says that while telehealth technology has been instrumental in delivering COVID-safe health services during the pandemic and most countries are feeling positive about the future, determining the level of post-pandemic connected health across the APAC region is “tricky”.
The main factors influencing the future of connected health include the level of digital adoption and government funding in APAC countries, as well as their reimbursement models and the digital maturity of their telehealth systems.
The report is based on a HIMSS survey that canvassed 159 APAC e-health professionals about their views on consumer-enabled and connected health technologies and processes, including: telemedicine services; person-enabled health apps and devices; health and wellness tools; digital tools and programs for personalised, automated analytics; and also the ability to update personal health status online.
“With large countries sometimes lacking digital infrastructure particularly in rural areas, it is not surprising to see it consistently appearing as a challenge in all regions.”
The report’s key findings are:
- Most respondents expect the wider digital health environment in APAC countries to improve, although some countries feel impeded by cultural and policy-based obstacles.
- South-East Asian respondents were most positive about the ability of their countries’ healthcare organisations’ readiness to work with consumer-enabled and connected health technologies. This is due in part to the high levels of digital maturity in these countries and the fact they already had digital health models in place pre-pandemic, as well as guidelines and telemedicine regulations.
- Funding and costs are the top challenges, along with increasing the digital literacy of healthcare staff and consumers.
- Enabling virtual care access during the early stages of the pandemic to keep patients and staff safe was the most widely deployed consumer-enabled and connected health measure. This measure was implemented by 41 percent of healthcare organisation survey respondents.
The report also includes findings from a HIMSS virtual round table held with stakeholders from various APAC government organisations.
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