digital experience

(Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP)

ASEAN patients prefer a digital healthcare experience

Providing a seamless and pleasant digital experience is critical to a variety of industries — including healthcare.

Unsurprisingly, technologies such as AI, blockchain, and data analytics among others enhance the customer experience. While the digital experience continues to innovate in the e-commerce industry to keep users satisfied, other industries are also now realizing its importance.

Within the manufacturing industry, robotic or digital twin technologies are used to improve adaptability among its workers. However, upskilling and reskilling new employees to use and adapt new technologies takes time.

If the technology used isn’t quite complicated, the digital experience can be smooth and pleasant as skills and know-how can be easily picked up. However, any complications using the technology are likely to lead to a slower adoption rate.

Aside from the e-commerce, manufacturing, and financial industries, the healthcare industry is finding ways to better improve its digital-first patient services and experiences.

According to VMware’s Digital Frontiers 3.0 Study, Southeast Asian consumers’ excitement for digital-enabled healthcare services has increased, with 66% of them saying they prefer remote, video-call instead of face-to-face consultations with medical professionals.

The emerging innovations in technology that have enabled more robotics, telehealth, and AI-based diagnostics are now shaping the future of digital healthcare in the region.

(Photo by Jane Barlow / POOL / AFP)

Compared to the US and Europe, the report showed that over half (54%) say they are comfortable and excited to have a more qualified doctor conducting invasive surgery via remote robotics than a less qualified doctor conducting it in-person.

More than half (55%) are also comfortable and excited with receiving a diagnosis from a powerful computer that can learn to detect anomalies such as cancerous cells, rather than seeing a human doctor.

61% also believe that digital healthcare services can provide more freedom to patients with chronic or long-term illnesses as they can live further away from a medical facility by depending on sensors and real-time data monitoring to predict when they will require medical assistance.

A robust digital infrastructure enables better digital healthcare experiences

While these figures are showing positivity, the digital experience for them is still a concern as only 36% of Southeast Asian respondents are happy to interact with healthcare services providers digitally. This is why the industry needs to ensure they have a robust digital infrastructure that is capable to harness modern technologies to not only provide better healthcare services but also improve the entire experience.

At the same time, the innovation opportunity is ripe for Southeast Asia’s healthcare sector to leap forward, with consumers embracing technologies of the future including artificial intelligence (70%), 5G (78%), and facial recognition (75%). In fact, more than one-third of respondents (37%) have said that 5G will be key in enabling wearable devices to monitor their health in real-time, allowing medical professionals to be alerted and respond to any emergency.

“New, immersive healthcare services such as remote medical consultations, wearable devices, and supercomputers have redefined the way healthcare organizations and doctors interact with the patients and respond quickly to their needs – regardless of when and where they are. In the race for vaccines and other medical solutions, technology has also played an incredibly important role in tracking the spread, managing tests, and improving the overall distribution flow,” said Devan Parinpanayagam, Country Manager, Malaysia, VMware.

Devan pointed out that VMware is committed to providing leading healthcare services providers in the region with a robust digital foundation to accelerate innovations, scalability, and agility in patient care and clinical research.

(Source – Sunway Medical Centre)

In Malaysia, telemedicine and digital health services are growing rapidly as private healthcare providers find new opportunities to deliver patient-focused healthcare services anywhere. The Malaysian Investment and Development Authority reported that private healthcare providers in Malaysia have found new growth opportunities with telemedicine after struggling to go mainstream before the pandemic.

For instance, the Sunway Medical Centre Velocity (SMCV) has set up a teleconsultation service to allow patients to receive health advice from SMCV’s specialists or medical officers from the comfort of their homes. The Sunway Medical  Centre (SMC) has also introduced four new “cat-like employees” in their pediatric wards, drawing much excitement from its staff members and patients alike. Parkway Pantai of IHH Berhad Group has also launched a teleconsultation known as eHealth Video Consultation at its hospitals in Malaysia.

Enhancing the digital experience with emerging technologies

In healthcare, emerging technologies such as the use of cloud, AI, and machine learning-based analytical tools are already bringing about changes to the way medical professionals diagnose patients today. This same technology can also be used to enhance the digital experience for patients.

For example, sensors from wearables that send patient data diagnosis to the cloud which is accessible by doctors can also be provided to patients via an app. With AI, the diagnosis can be analyzed, and the patient can be advised on their next course of action, without the need to physically see a doctor.

To enhance the digital experience with emerging technologies in the ASEAN region, VMware has outlined several key priorities for the industry to consider. They include: 

  • Empowering healthcare organizations to build a multi-cloud and app future: Cloud will be prerogative in ensuring continuous innovations. However, the industry needs to understand how it can best leverage cloud services so that it can scale and innovate with minimal disruptions.
  • Enabling innovation and productivity for a distributed workforce: It’s one thing about having technology, but it’s another thing about having a workforce that can work with it. Having future-ready workforce solutions will enable a seamless and more secure digital employee experience, driving greater outcomes in the new world of work.
  • Intrinsic security for uninterrupted innovation: While perfecting the digital experience is desired, security needs to be prioritized as well. The healthcare industry continues to be targeted by cybercriminals. Hence, an intrinsic approach to enterprise security will provide an additional layer of robust protection for mission-critical infrastructures and patients’ personal data to build trust, fast-track healthcare innovation, and resilience.
  • Software-defined, high-performing network for real-time analytics and monitoring: While 5G is slowly making its presence felt in healthcare, the industry will want to move high-fidelity, latency-sensitive data to the cloud and between edge locations to offer rapid, more securely deployed, and easily accessed virtual care solutions.

The reality is, any industry hoping to make use of more technologies needs to ensure that the experience it provides is seamless and easy to use. From healthcare to e-commerce to even manufacturing, a seamless digital experience will not only keep users satisfies but will also see them wanting to embrace it more in the future.