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Rehabilitation of Nation’s Healthcare – Transforming Healthcare through the Post Pandemic Era

September 13, 2021
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Striking at the nation-building heart of many countries, the pandemic has significantly disrupted social, political, economic and healthcare systems around the world.

The COVID-19 outbreak has placed a massive strain on the global healthcare sector’s workforce, infrastructure, and supply chain. Medical practitioners are exhausted, and healthcare systems are forced beyond limits to the brink of breaking down. Despite the many challenges, a decrease in revenues and rising operational costs, healthcare players continue to push forward, committed in providing high quality healthcare services to patients. Nonetheless, the pandemic has exposed the shortcomings of healthcare systems worldwide. Striking at the nation-building heart of many countries, the pandemic has significantly disrupted social, political, economic and healthcare systems around the world.

However, we have also seen the emergence of foundational shifts arising from COVID-19. Needle mover initiatives are being made globally by both public and private sectors, recognising the need to relook healthcare ecosystem modernisation towards a comprehensive, integrated digitisation and digitalisation. New coping strategies, involving the accelerated adoption of telemedicine, smart health and other technologies, are considered as imperatives. Amid these dynamics, public sectors, healthcare providers, players, and other stakeholders around the globe are being challenged to pivot, adapt, and innovate at speed to amplify the reach and effectiveness of healthcare.

The Digital Front Door 

A smart health approach typically makes use of interconnected technologies to embrace the entire spectrum of healthcare providers, consumers and researchers to ensure the delivery of cutting-edge care that is comprehensive, collaborative, efficient – recognising the needs of patients and their families as well as healthcare practitioners and administrators. The use of telemedicine, complemented by analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), data protection and scalable cloud ecosystem is gaining traction. The pandemic has opened doors for AI and other digital technologies to solve complex clinical and non-clinical problems.

A recent report published by McKinsey & Company highlights that telehealth utilisation has stabilised at levels 38X higher than before the pandemic. Similarly, consumer and provider attitudes toward telehealth have also improved. Investment in virtual care and digital health have broadly skyrocketed. Additionally, virtual healthcare models and business models are continuing to evolve.

However, some hurdles, such as concerns around technology security, need to be addressed. TM One has innovated a complete ecosystem of healthcare solutions, which is modular and interoperable with external systems connected via TM One Cloud α (pronounced as Cloud Alpha) and TM One Cybersecurity (CYDEC) to ensure world class security. McKinsey points out that, the ‘digital front door’ will not be closing as patients and providers have appreciated and embraced the convenience and flexibility of this type of care especially during the healthcare crisis. As we gradually move through and onwards into recovery, a key concern for any health system will be scaling and sustaining these digital interactions.

Driven by Human Experience

Consumers expect industry leaders to leverage on the momentum created in the pandemic to continue to propel healthcare forward, especially as good healthcare services is a key hallmark of sustainable future ready nation building. According to Deloitte, collaborations and the human experience are two (2) of six (6) pressing sector issues that are expected to shape and navigate the healthcare industry into and through the evolving ‘next normal’.

Healthcare technologies, which especially appeal to the digital first generation, has inspired deeper levels of activity, engagement and enhanced patient experience. A visit to the doctor is already a worrying experience for some without having to deal with the paperwork, hours of waiting time and patient care. On a wider front, consumers are using technology to monitor their health, measure fitness, order prescriptions and schedule doctor’s appointments. Eighty percent (80%) of consumers report that they are most likely to have another virtual visit even post pandemic. Pandemic experience has shown that the best path to effectively enabling digital solutions requires various levels of smart collaboration moving away from siloed record systems. Providing a comprehensive end-to-end integrated patients experience management platform with insights, one which is truly beneficial for consumers and patients — calls for collaborative arrangements, which embrace data platforms, disruptive entrants, public/private partnerships, and health system platforms integration.

TM One Healthcare understands the complexities of the healthcare industry. It will simplify the electronic medical records platform, and channel patients, healthcare providers and funders into a single, secured, standardised and cost-effective solution. With extensive experience in rolling out clinic management systems and electronic medical records, together with a dedicated team to maintain and provide adequate support to end users and partners, TM One Healthcare will ensure the best experience for all stakeholders.

Cloud ⍺ Series #6: Deep Dive: How Cloud Can Take Patient Care to the Next Level

June 22, 2020
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The situation today is that more and more hospitals around the world are rapidly turning to cloud services to improve patient care, serve more people, and conduct research more efficiently.

In the current digital era, Governments are using tech to build predictive models, expand the reach of their services and save time on serving people – why shouldn’t hospitals do the same?

It takes a range of tech tools to accomplish all of the above, but one tool in particular makes it much easier. The cloud places all information and services on a centralised platform, instead of in a single computer. Anyone with an internet connection and the necessary authorisation can easily access this data. Cloud users don’t have to fret over software upkeep, as cloud providers will take care of that.

This tech has huge potentials in transforming the healthcare sector, among others. We look at how the cloud can improve patient experience, enable virtual consultations and speed up medical research processes.

1. The data challenge for enhanced healthcare

An increasingly critical challenge for the healthcare sector rests in uncoordinated and outdated patient data, which can lead to extended waiting times. In a 2015 study by Malaysia’s Ministry of Health1, less than 40 per cent of patients were satisfied with waiting times in hospitals. This is not surprising – as it can take up to five (5) hours for a patient to receive outpatient treatment at a public hospital, reported The Malay Mail2.

Longer waiting times may also resulted from various inefficiencies including tedious paperwork and unnecessary procedures3. Cloud can address these issues by drawing together relevant information from hospitals, and other crucial services such as pharmacies and test providers, to ensure that healthcare workers can access “a holistic view of a patient’s journey”, said Brian Owens, tech chief at a US-based health tech company4.

Medical professionals could more safely and easily transfer data between organisations by utilising the same cloud network5. While patients move across departments and hospitals, medical professionals will still be able to safely access patient medical records and provide a well-rounded treatment.

Patients will also be able to easily access their personal medical records on the cloud at their convenience, thus benefit from being able to make better decisions about their own health. Health IT Outcomes reported that making data accessible to patients “leads to informed decision making by acting as a tool for patient education and engagement.6

The cloud also allows doctors to monitor patients in real time, allowing for faster intervention. This is critical in healthcare, where saving lives could depend on seconds.

2. Increase healthcare accessibility with telemedicine

Storing data on a cloud makes data accessible anytime, anywhere. This opens up worlds of possibilities for telemedicine, which is now ripe for rapid expansion given the country’s high broadband connectivity – every Malaysian has an average of 1.29 devices connected to high-speed internet7.

Doctors will be able to offer virtual consultations, benefitting patients who may not be able to travel. These include elderly patients with disabilities, or patients who have to care for others at home, no longer have to miss their appointments, and doctors can check as well as are able to monitor their conditions more regularly.

Hospitals would also be in a position to extend their expertise to remote areas with limited access to healthcare services. Patients could take a picture of their condition, then upload it onto the cloud, so doctors or relevant Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems may examine it and offer appropriate advice8.

These abilities rely substantially on smooth video live streaming, allowing doctors to examine a patient’s condition accurately. In addition to connectivity, which is a prerequisite, cloud will help run such processes faster than a local computer server, and videos will not be disrupted by low bandwidth or network noise.

Telemedicine has been an important area of exploration in this country over the last three decades, and the potential for greater and more sophisticated use to reap its full benefit remains massive. As illustrated above, telemedicine is an important driver to increase healthcare accessibility, and also offers greater distribution of resources so that doctors in less demanding areas can assist their counterparts in the busier areas, alleviating issues of overstretched medical professionals especially in major hospitals.

Telemedicine is already proving its usefulness during the country’s Covid-19 lockdown measures. Malaysians have been seeking advice from doctors using these virtual channels, reported Computer Weekly9. The article also mentioned about a medical video consultation portal that is accessible seven (7) days a week, and is free to use.

3. Maximising returns on research

Malaysia spent RM1.2 billion (US$309 million) on healthcare research in 2015 alone10. Cloud computing can help to maximise the return on Research and Development (R&D) spend as well as accelerate the go-to-market of medicine for the benefit of the public.

In addition to handling massive amounts of data, cloud can process that data more quickly with its integrated AI and machine learning capabilities11. For instance, hospitals can process multi-dimensional images of organs in 10 minutes instead of 90, shared Datamation. This could help to dramatically improve care pathways efficiency and enhancing coordinated activities among healthcare workers – a welcome change to address issues of long queues and waiting times at Malaysian hospitals.

Besides saving time on hospital operations, the cloud will speed up medical research. AI is able to analyse large data sets, and identify population health trends that may have gone unnoticed otherwise. Data analytics processing of patient records also enables more personalised treatments and care12. For example, doctors in Europe are currently working on a system to consolidate and analyse data to administer personalised treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and lung cancer13.

Securing data with blockchain

Medical records are sensitive and need the highest level of protection against cyber threats. These records often include address history, identification numbers and financial data. Hackers can use this personal information for identity fraud14 – applying for loans, purchase medical equipment, file false insurance claims under fake identities, or even selling it to third parties for profit.

In September 2019, Greenbone Network revealed that close to 20,000 patient records, along with 1.2 million linked images, from Malaysia were publicly accessible on the Internet15. Cloud services can be integrated with Blockchain to ensure patient data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

Blockchain is a secure way of storing digital information – its records cannot be deleted and it tracks all changes made on a document. This allows patients’ records to be shared without concerns about false changes. Blockchain can even be used to verify a doctor’s credentials in telemedicine consultations, according to ReferralMD16.

TM One, Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM)’s enterprise and public sector business arm, recently launched its Cloud Alpha17 service, which integrates AI, Internet of Things (IoT), big data and Blockchain. This system is designed to provide a seamless transition to the cloud by offering a variety of cloud models to suit every need.

In a scenario where unstructured, isolated data could result in more lives being lost, digital action must be taken. The situation today is that more and more hospitals around the world are rapidly turning to cloud services to improve patient care, serve more people, and conduct research more efficiently.

References

[1] http://iku.moh.gov.my/images/IKU/Document/REPORT/NHMS2015-VolumeIII.pdf

[2] https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2017/08/22/hours-long-hospital-waits-driving-some-to-abandon-treatment/1447711

[3] https://penanginstitute.org/publications/issues/cut-the-queue-a-basket-of-solutions-for-malaysian-hospitals/#ftn7b

[4] https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/next-gen-cloud-computing-how-healthcare-can-prepare-future

[5] https://solutionsreview.com/cloud-platforms/8-benefits-and-risks-of-cloud-computing-in-healthcare/

[6] https://www.healthitoutcomes.com/doc/ways-cloud-computing-is-impacting-healthcare-0001

[7] https://www.mcmc.gov.my/skmmgovmy/media/General/pdf/3Q_CM_2019.pdf

[8] https://www.datamation.com/cloud-computing/cloud-computing-for-healthcare.html

[9] https://www.computerweekly.com/news/252481183/Malaysias-telemedicine-vision-gets-fresh-boost

[10] https://www.who.int/research-observatory/indicators/gerd_gdp_October_2018/en/

[11] https://solutionsreview.com/cloud-platforms/8-benefits-and-risks-of-cloud-computing-in-healthcare/

[12] https://www.healthitoutcomes.com/doc/ways-cloud-computing-is-impacting-healthcare-0001

[13] https://cordis.europa.eu/article/id/417984-big-data-to-personalise-therapy-for-lung-cancer-and-alzheimer-s-diseases-analysing-data-with-

[14] https://www.advisory.com/daily-briefing/2019/03/01/hackers

[15] https://codeblue.galencentre.org/2019/10/10/malaysia-patient-data-leak-came-from-private-entity-moh-says

[16] https://getreferralmd.com/2018/09/can-blockchain-technology-improve-the-healthcare-industry/

[17] https://www.tmone.com.my/solutions/cloud-services

Providing scalable health advice to the masses

October 15, 2018
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In order to make sure its users stay motivated, Naluri uses artificial intelligence to “multiply the productivity of each professional psychologist or dietician by 10 if not 20, 30 times.

Healthcare app Naluri aims to help Malaysians live more healthily through scalable health coaching that uses technology to multiply the productivity of healthcare professionals.

The brainchild of Azran Osman Rani, ex-CEO of Iflix and AirAsia X, Naluri was borne out of a self-confessed obsession to improve the fitness of Malaysians. Backed by a team of doctors, psychologists, dieticians and fitness coaches, the app seeks to provide holistic solutions for users who are overweight or facing stress, anxiety or depression.

Earlier this year, National Diabetes Institute (Nadi) Executive Chairman, Datuk Dr Mustaffa Embong warned that Malaysia has the greatest prevalence of obesity in Southeast Asia as well as one of the highest rates of diabetes in the world. Approximately one in three Malaysian adults also suffers from a mental health condition or is at risk of developing a diagnosable mental illness, according to the country’s last National Health and MorbiditySurvey in 2015.This makes holistic and preventative care an important healthcare priority for the country.

Predicting readiness to change

Yet making a lasting impact can prove challenging as health risk assessments, reward programs and personal fitness apps “only work for about 20% of the population”, says Osman Rani. “This 20% of the population tend to be the ones who are achievement-oriented and goal focused,’’ he says. ‘’You give them the tools and off they go. But 80% of the population really struggle to make these things stick.’’

In order to make sure its users stay motivated, Naluri uses artificial intelligence to “multiply the productivity of each professional psychologist or dietician by 10 if not 20, 30 times’’.

By analysing patterns of behaviour and performance, the app can almost predict a user’s readiness to change and level of resilience, says Osman Rani. And if a user is likely to disengage, a coach can intervene at the right time and in the right context or tone that works best for that person.

Using technology to heighten the efficacy of Naluri’s healthcare professionals also gets around the severe lack of clinical psychologists in Malaysia. In 2017, there were 2.87 clinical psychologist per million people, a slight increase from 2.82 in 2011. But Naluri’s technological innovations hopes to expand the reach for this small group of psychologists.

Other visual AI functions on the Naluri app is a food journal where users can snap photos of meals and receive nutritional information or healthier substitutions. The local element of Naluri becomes imperative as while there are dozens of existing dieting apps, most would not be able to recognise local dishes be it a mee goreng or a nasi lemak.

You cannot just take the western model of kale, quinoa, chia seeds, Fitbit, yoga, and meditation, says Osman Rani about changing users’ lifestyle and behaviours. It just doesn’t work beyond our little urban enclaves.

Pay as you lose

While the end goal is the consumer, interestingly Naluri, which means instinct in Bahasa, is mainly a B2B player whereby insurance companies and corporate employers bring in the users. If Naluri is able to produce clinically significant outcomes, such as a 5% weight reduction, the companies will then pay Naluri a success fee of a few hundred dollars.

This pre-emptive approach appeals to employers and insurance companies as the average yearly cost to treat someone with diabetes, or heart disease is far in excess of the success fee. The information that the app is collecting could also prove to be a data treasure trove in terms of addressing chronic health problems.

Osman Rani admits that some psychologists and behavioural scientists have expressed doubts about his app, believing that nothing can replace traditional face-to-face conversations. Yet he counters that Naluri is complementary to traditional therapy methods and is not meant to be a replacement.

“I’m not trying to get everyone healthier,’’ says Osman Rani. ‘’I’m specifically focusing on the mass market who are struggling with making changes even when they know this is good or that is not good for them. Overwhelmed with work, middle-class, white-collar workers who are just really struggling to get by in life.’’

Insightful reads brought to you in partnership with MIT Technology Review Insights.

Powering Smart Agriculture with Internet of Things

November 29, 2022
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In the digital age and Industrial Revolution 4.0, the agriculture sector is undergoing a massive change by leveraging on digital technologies, especially the Internet of Things (IoT), to create a smarter agriculture.

With the help of robots, drones, remote sensors, and computer imaging combined with continuously progressing machine learning and analytical tools, farmers are monitoring crops, surveying and mapping the fields and using data-driven insights to enjoy higher productivity, saving time, and optimising resources and efforts.

One of the systems that is increasing in popularity and creating smarter agriculture is the Smart Farming system. Smart Farming makes extensive use of sensors (light, humidity, temperature, soil moisture, crop health, etc.) to monitor farm and crop conditions, and automating the irrigation and/or fertigation system.  IoT enables devices embedded with sensors to connect and interact via the internet. These devices can be anything from pumps and tractors to weather stations and computers. Smart Farming allows farmers to monitor the field conditions from anywhere, at any time, in real time. Using the combined power of IoT with Big Data and Cloud, a successful communication, connection and transference of data between devices, are done most effectively and efficiently. Digital Connectivity and Cloud Computing are the essential enabler for Smart Farming. Digital connectivity is the foundation without which none of the Smart Agriculture solutions can take place. It is the necessary pre-condition that allows communication between devices and access by stakeholders. Meanwhile, cloud computing enables the hosting platform for IoT and Big Data as well as powers up the data analytics and visualisation.

Solving common agriculture challenges

The value of smart agriculture solutions lies in its promising ability to address some of the longstanding industry challenges – both at the macro and micro level:

  • Food security – With increased prosperity, population growth, and urbanisation, comes food security issues. These call for sustainable agricultural practices that can produce more with less resources.
  • Climate change – Climate change disrupts agriculture in a massive way, where natural catastrophes and unstable weather conditions are posing challenges to farmers globally.
  • Low agriculture productivity and yield – With greater urbanisation, reduction in arable land and the use of traditional methods of farming are leading to reduced yield, high wastage and sub-optimal productivity.
  • High operating cost – With labour shortage especially in agriculture where manual labour is seen as difficult and energy-consuming, farmers are facing high manpower cost. Meanwhile the cost of fertilisers is also increasing globally, leading to the increased need to ensure its efficient use.
  • Health hazards to farmers – the traditional way of fertilising crops, for example through manual spraying, is posing health hazards to farmers due to exposures to agricultural chemicals

The benefits of IoT in agriculture

With the use of IoT in agriculture, farmers are reaping the benefits from increased agility and data-driven farming. Thanks to real-time monitoring and prediction systems, farmers can quickly respond to any significant changes in weather, humidity, air quality as well as the health of each crop or soil in the field.

  • Integrated and technology-driven solutions to improve success rate
  • Increase domestic production and reduce agriculture imports
  • Improve farmers earnings and provide income sustainability
  • Catalyst of change for other agricultural innovation

TM One – The Right Partner for Your Next Agriculture Future

With TM One’s comprehensive and fit-for-purpose digital solutions, from connectivity right down to the digital and smart systems and applications, combined with the technical experts who are ready to guide our customers throughout their digitalisation journey, players in the agriculture sector can be assured of a smooth and seamless path to the Next Future of Agriculture.

To know more about TM One’s smart agriculture solution, visit https://www.tmone.com.my/solutions/smart-services/smart-agriculture/

Celebrating Success: Ipoh Smart City – TM One and MBI breathes new life into Ipoh

August 30, 2022
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With TM One, Ipoh's ambitions of transforming into a smart city are progressing into reality by enforcing multiple initiatives to improve the living experience of their citizens. Read what Ipoh’s Mayor, Dato’ Rumaizi, has to say about these initiatives.

“TM One is the main agency pioneering the foundation of our nation’s digital infrastructure. Through this strategic collaboration, it greatly helps Ipoh City Council in managing the city more efficiently and in an orderly manner,” – Dato’ Rumaizi bin Baharin, Ipoh Mayor.

With the blend of heritage, food and great scenery, the Lonely Planet ranked Ipoh as one of the best cities in Asia to visit. As a hotspot for tourism, the bustling city provides abundant business opportunities. The city has harnessed this potential by increasing the readiness of its digital infrastructure for mobile and fixed broadband internet.

Keeping this in mind, Ipoh envisions becoming one of the first smart cities in Malaysia by 2030. The Smart City 2030 action plan targets seven domains – Smart Living, Smart Environment, Smart Governance, Smart People, Smart Digital Infrastructure, Smart Economy and Smart Mobility – to effectively address urbanisation challenges faced by the people of Ipoh and to realise Ipoh as a Green and Low Carbon City by 2030. We are embarking on a journey to prepare for a digital future, with TM One acting as the digital enabler and provider to assist the city in its transformation.

In conjunction with the City Leap Summit 2022, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was established between The Ipoh City Council and TM One. The strategic collaboration includes several initiatives that are planned and will be implemented:

1) Smart Traffic Management with Analytics Services (STARS)

One of the most remarkable achievements is the implementation of smart traffic lights. TM One’s STARS leverages AI-enabled sensors at intersections to measure the average waiting time and identify vehicle motions, thereby adjusting green light duration based on real-time congestion, and improve the journey time. This solution also help to reduce the carbon emitted by the vehicle that is using the junction and this is in line with Ipoh Green City Vision to achieve low carbon city. Additional to the benefits, STARS is a single monitoring platform that provides relevant personnel with a centralised viewing of road conditions and equipped with real-time fault notification that triggers alarms through the Telegram chat application. This will allow the relevant personnel to take swift actions and dispatching manpower on-site when needed.

As a result, the smart traffic light solution has improved traffic flow in one of the busiest streets, Jalan Sultan Idris, by 51%. This solution also has led to a 7,500 kg decrease in carbon dioxide emissions in a month – in line with Ipoh’s goal to be a Low Carbon City by 2030.

2) TM One Mobile Field Workforce (FORCE)

FORCE satisfies the need for a fluid system to connect the call centre agents, dispatchers and service technicians to attend to citizens’ complaints and inquiries for better communication and coordination. It allows the teams to promptly respond to public complaints and emergencies by accessing real-time ticket statuses. Also, the all-in-one platform automates task scheduling and team management, tracks real-time progress of on-site maintenance and provides access to customer profiles on the go – modernizing the city’s field service solution. FORCE is envisioned to be the system support for MBI’s existing myAduan@MBI citizen app to improve its customer experience, better cost management, and internal resource management.

3) Call Centre

The Ipoh City Council aspires to establish its first digital call centre via outsourcing. The digital call centre aims to solve the challenges of  handling multilingual support requests and reduce abandoned call rates, while elevating critical issues to relevant parties when necessary. Consequently, the city can free up resources and optimise costs, while ensuring the best customer service for the people of Ipoh.

TM One Business Services (BPO) with more than 15 years of contact centre experience in Malaysia, leveraging on our Center of Expertise will be sharing the best practice; which aligned to the Industry Standards and Best Practices to help Ipoh City Council to establish the citizen engagement centre and ultimately elevate the citizen experience to the higher level.

Ipoh aims to be one of the first cities in Malaysia to enable 5G, and TM One plans to support this vision with the provision of free 5G wifi in selected areas. Additionally, a digital fibre connectivity superhighway and smart surveillance systems is being planned for Ipoh citizens.

Smart technologies help Ipoh save cost, shorten commutes, reduce carbon emission rates, and most importantly boost the quality of life for the people of Ipoh. In the long term, smart cities will spur higher citizen and government engagement as they begin to remove the communication barriers and increase the trust between citizens and officials. With the great synergy between both parties, Dato’ Rumaizi aspires to achieve more milestones in collaboration with TM One.

“My hope is that together with TM One, we will explore even more opportunities and smart technologies towards enhancing lives for the people of Ipoh.” – Dato’ Rumaizi bin Baharin, Ipoh Mayor.

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