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Healthcare IT in Asia: Lessons from Singapore, Australia and beyond

With about a decade of experience, Allscripts has established strong healthcare IT credentials with clients in the Asia-Pacific region.

Clinical goals for healthcare IT in Asia are similar to what you’d find in the United States and Europe: to deliver the highest quality care at the lowest possible cost. However, there are different sets of challenges throughout the region that require healthcare IT to take a different approach.

Singapore: Asia’s center for healthcare innovation

Singapore, an island city-state, is the second most densely populated sovereign state in the world, with more than 5.3 million citizens. Because it’s a small, contained geographical area, we see a couple of trends that affect healthcare IT.

First, patients move fairly readily among Singaporean healthcare organizations. It’s important that patients’ records travel with them. Second, physicians also move freely within the Singaporean healthcare community, making them much more inclined to standardize the technology.

Singapore is arguably the most prestigious healthcare system in Asia, in part because of its effective use of technology. For example, all of our clients in Singapore have been successful in using Allscripts SunriseTM to achieve Stage 6 on the HIMSS Analytics Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM). So a lot of healthcare systems in surrounding countries look to Singapore as the benchmark that they are seeking to emulate. That is good for Allscripts, given that we are the dominant player.

Australia: Population health in the outback

There are some similarities between Australia and Singapore, but there are some stark differences as well. Unlike the densely populated, urban Singapore, Australia has some widely distributed populations. For these people, living in isolated areas means that it is not always feasible to take a short trip to the nearest Tier 1 healthcare provider. As part of the country’s movement to better coordinate care across these vast geographic communities, we are helping implement Australia’s first statewide integrated EHR.

Allscripts solutions resonate well here. Having a community-aware electronic medical record (EMR) and population health capabilities line up very well with the vision for the future of health care in Australia. In fact, renowned consulting company Frost & Sullivan recently awarded Allscripts the 2014 Excellence in Growth Strategy Award for our work in EHR development and adoption in Australia and New Zealand.

What’s next for Allscripts in the Asia-Pacific region

Singapore and Australia have economies more similar to those of the U.S. and Western Europe. Asian nations such as Indonesia, Philippines or Malaysia are a different kettle of fish. They have extremely large populations, fast growing economies and different healthcare challenges altogether.

They are starting with different definitions of quality health care. For example, these healthcare systems may have to address more basic health needs for portions of their populations, such as access to clean water. They are less concerned with moving patients into secondary venues of care, and perhaps more concerned with things like efficiency in their hospital emergency departments, for example. So the drivers might vary between the different markets but our solutions can invariably still meet the differences in the markets expectations.

Across the region, I see growth trajectories in several areas of health information technology. Organizations will continue to use basic EHRs as stepping stones to higher-end care transformation, and use continuity of care, population health solutions to help shift certain patient groups to other, less expensive venues of care. To alleviate access to capital purchases, more of them will turn to hosted and Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions. Of course, around the world mobile solutions will continue to enable greater flexibility and productivity for clinicians.

It’s an exciting time in Asian healthcare markets, and we’re ready to help. Given our success in Singapore and Australia, we have been on the ground and know how it works. With capable, multi-dimensional technology and our SaaS model, we offer solutions that meet the needs of Asian health care both today and tomorrow.

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